Are you exhausted from searching for a one-size-fits-all bed and breakfast or boutique hotel marketing plan? Are you finding that most of the marketing plans out there aren’t exactly what your B&B or boutique hotel needs? If so, let us help you create a one-page marketing strategy for your hotel or bed and breakfast today. We’ve broken down the process into four easy steps that you can follow to kick-start your marketing efforts. Let’s get started.
How to Create a Killer One-Page Marketing Strategy for a Hotel or B&B
1. Revise Last Year’s Strategy (If You Have One)
Forgive us for being cliché, but we’re opening with an overused quote from Albert Einstein. He said (allegedly), “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
While the authenticity of Einstein’s quote is often up for debate, its sentiment remains the same. And in the marketing world, this quote could not ring truer. Our industry shifts and changes so rapidly that we, as a destination marketing firm, have to keep pace and change with it. In your own business, you, too, will need to adjust your marketing strategy to keep pace.
Not only does the marketing environment around you change from month to month or year to year, but your goals are also likely to change. Adjust your marketing plan to accommodate new goals as they arise.
How often should you make changes to your bed and breakfast or hotel marketing strategy?
We’re glad you asked. We recommend reviewing and revising your plans at least once a year. A successful marketing strategy takes time, consistency, energy, and momentum. But, to do that, you have to start changing, and doing something different today than you’ve done before. Try something new, take a new step, and start creating your 2017 one-page marketing strategy today. We’re here to help and we’ve got your back.
2. Start By Asking Yourself Good Questions
So, maybe you don’t have a marketing strategy from last year to review. If so, that’s great! You can start with a clean slate. The first step to creating your marketing strategy is to pause and ask yourself a few good questions. Your answers will help you come up with a plan of attack that is guaranteed to help you wage war in the fight for consumer attention online. Think about these things:
- Are you happy with your current results?
- What are your goals and objectives for the year?
- How will you measure your return on investment?
- What marketing methods are right for you?
It is important to know where you want to go so you can map out a course that will get you there. However, if you don’t know where to start or how to answer these questions, don’t fret. We can help you unpack them.
3. Then, Dive In and Create Your Killer one-page Marketing Strategy for Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts
Once you know what your marketing goals are for the year, you’re ready to dive in. Creating a killer one-page marketing strategy for bed and breakfasts or hotels will take some dedication and focus, but the time and energy it will save you later down the road will make it worth the effort, we promise! A great one-page marketing strategy will cover five key components:
- Email Marketing
- Social Media
- Referring Websites
- Website Health and Lead Generation
If you would like to dig even deeper, check out our blog for even more focused information about specific pieces of the destination marketing puzzle. But, for now, let’s review these five key components one-by-one together.
Are you sending email campaigns at least once a month? If not, you aren’t alone. But, that isn’t a good thing. Email marketing is an area that the hospitality industry is investing the least amount of time. However, study after study shows that email marketing has the highest return on investment of any marketing medium out there. Why? Because according to HubSpot:
- There are 3.6 billion active email accounts worldwide, as of 2013.
- 91% of consumers check their email daily.
- Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%.
If you don’t get anything else out of this blog, get this: Be intentional with your email marketing. While email marketing, like every other channel, can be overused, there is a huge opportunity for you to make a big impact on the success of your business with email marketing. To do so, ensure that your email marketing campaigns are useful to the end user. Your emails should provide relevant, targeted information that excites your customers and makes them want to read your message.
When crafting emails, keep in mind that campaigns serve two purposes:
1. To stay relevant with previous guests and
2. to stay at the top of their minds.
Hospitality email marketing helps turn past guests into repeat guests and provides potential customers with the encouragement they might need to book a stay.
We recommend sending out two email campaigns every month if you have enough content to always send something fresh, new, and unique. In these messages, you can push special promotions and packages, plus relevant content from your blog, reasons to visit your area, and why guests should stay at your inn.
When creating your bed and breakfast one-page marketing strategy, spend plenty of time developing a great blog. Creating blog content that is well-received will help you get found online by people who are planning a trip to your destination. Google has quickly become everyone’s favorite travel agent and the go-to place to ask travel questions. You can answer those questions and bring people to your website through a well-written blog.
Keep in mind that blogs are the fuel to your marketing fire. Everything else in your marketing plan, especially email marketing and social media management, will stem from great content creation. Your blogging strategy is the foundation for everything else. Make sure you have a solid one.
Like other forms of marketing, consistency is the key to successful blogging. Aim to publish a blog at least twice a month. However, blogging each week provides even better results. This is especially important because Google looks for consistency when choosing who will rank for search terms.
Also, remember that blogging is a long-term strategy. It can take up to 6 to 12 months to start seeing results from regular blogging efforts. But, don’t give up before then! For the first 6 months, Google won’t rank your blogs, and you’ll see very little results. At the 6-month mark, when your gut says “I should quit,” don’t! From the 7th to 12th month, that’s when you’ll start seeing results and start gaining website traffic. You just have to stick with it. It will be worth the effort.
With the right strategy, you could see around 750-5,000 visits per month to your website from blogging, but that number can skyrocket. Some of our customers now get up to 10,000 visitors to their site each month from the blog. And remember, website visitors equal potential customers!
A catalog of well-written, engaging blogs that feature relevant content will keep visitors on your site longer. The website visitors who stumble upon 6-12 months of blogs on your site, will find a goldmine of useful information. You can use your blog to paint a picture for travelers of all the exciting must-do activities your destination provides. They’ll know just what to do, where to eat and shop, and more importantly, where to stay. With you!
We know that you probably have a Facebook account for your inn or hotel. But, are you monitoring that account? Are you posting engaging content that drives visitors to your website with regularity? Is the number of likes on your page growing between 5% to 10% per month?
These are all important things to evaluate when putting together a marketing plan for a boutique hotel, guest house, or inn. Social media can account for 150 additional website visits each month, so it’s important to engage with your audience by posting:
- Convincing reasons to visit your inn.
- Great photos of your area and property.
- Helpful and interesting blog content.
- Important information about last-minute openings.
- Exciting specials and promotions.
Aim for 3-5 posts per week. Any more and you may overwhelm or bother your audience. Any less, and you won’t stay relevant or on their mind.
That being said, you shouldn’t spend too much time on social media. We’ve found that people often invest the most time in the marketing medium that has the lowest ROI. Even though email marketing and blogging usually bring more visitors to a website than social media does, people often make the mistake of devoting more time to Facebook than the other marketing options. Ensure that your hotel or bed and breakfast marketing plan reallocates resources (time or money) away from lowest ROI (in this case, potentially social media) and invests that time or money into something with higher ROI (email marketing and blogging).
If you’re blogging, posting to social media, and sending email campaigns, how do you determine which marketing channels provide the largest ROI in your business? Data analytics is the answer. Measuring the traffic on your website is a great indicator of your marketing success. When you think “website visitor,” think “potential customer.” Increasing traffic to your website increases your opportunity to capture potential customers and to drive bookings.
One important way to improve the number of potential customers who visit your site is by finding and reaching out to excellent referring partners in your area. When credible local businesses, CVBs, and state associations link to your website, you are likely to receive new website visitors from those sources. Make it your goal to find four new potential referring websites each quarter. Then, monitor how much traffic these sources generate to your website. You should aim for a 1-3% conversion rate for each partner site.
Website Health and Lead Generation
So, you’ve teamed up with excellent referring website partners. That’s great! But, you’re not done. When potential customers click on the link those partners provide, it is crucial that they arrive at a clean, professional, and easy-to-use website. Otherwise, they won’t stick around (or make a reservation) on your website.
While totally revamping your website could be the key to your online success, we know that is an ambitious project to tackle. There are, however, 6 key aspects to successful bed and breakfast website design you should be aware of and work towards including in your website.
In addition to having a website that looks great and functions well, you also need to have a website that produces a high conversion rate. This means you want a high number of those visitors to turn into leads or bookings. A highly converting website is important because it shows that your website effectively “converts” visitors into customers or potential customers.
A great way to improve your conversation rate is with a great lead generation tool like a newsletter subscription, ebook, or special offer. This lead generation tool should contain valuable content that makes them want to give their email address to you. Website visitors will engage with your business by submitting a brief form and providing you with their email address. In return, they get that awesome content. With a lead generation tool like this, you can capture information about potential customers. This data will come in handy when you market to them later in email campaigns and will ultimately help increase your bookings!
4. Track Your Success
After you’ve created a fantastic one-page marketing strategy for your hotel or bed and breakfast, you’re ready to put it to use. But, don’t think that means you’re done! After implementing your B&B or hotel sales and marketing action plan, you’ve got one last step: tracking your success.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for hotels and bed and breakfasts changes rapidly, so it’s crucial that you know your highest value keywords and how you rank. Make sure you are monitoring your SEO performance at least monthly. You can do so without spending a lot of money, or even for free when you use Google Analytics.
You should also look at the data on your social media accounts each month. See which posts and blogs were shared, commented on, and liked the most. Then, find ways to replicate this success next month. If something didn’t provide great engagement, try to find out why and how you might be able to improve.
Each month, reserve one hour or so to sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and look into these results. See how your content and email campaigns are performing. Understand where your website traffic and bookings are coming from. Look for “red flags” like a decrease in traffic from a reliable source. When you review your website analytics monthly, you can see where the numbers are down and address problems before they hurt your business.
If you’re working with a marketing partner, they should be leading this discussion. They should be sending you monthly reports, and talking with you about your results so you know and understand what is working and what’s not. At Q4Launch, we call this monthly report a Partnership Impact Report (PIR). If your marketing firm is open and willing to give you a PIR, or something similar, that is a good thing. If your hospitality marketing firm is having a conversation with you, it’s because they want you to be connected.
However, if getting analytics and data about your online performance is a struggle, ask yourself why. Like a child who is hesitant to show his report card to his parent, a destination marketing firm that is reluctant to show you how they are performing for you might suggest they have something to hide or don’t want you to know what is going on.
Do You Have Questions? We Can Help!
We know we just threw a ton of info at you all at once. As destination marketing professionals, we hope you’ll forgive us for getting a little bit carried away. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to start with this whole marketing strategy thing, that’s okay. Figuring out how to best market your business won’t happen overnight. But, it’s important to start chipping away at it piece by piece.
If you have questions or would like more help from us, there are great ways to get in touch. We offer a complimentary Marketing Grader Report that can help you develop a one-page marketing strategy for hotels or bed and breakfasts. This report is a quick and easy way for you to find out how your current marketing efforts compare to your peers within the industry. We evaluate a variety of factors like blogging, social media, and SEO standings. Then, after you receive your report, we’ll hop on the phone and review it piece by piece with you. We’ll help you find areas of improvement, make suggestions, and answer any questions you may have. Request your Marketing Grader Report today!
Ready to Cut to the Chase?
If you already know where you need help improving your marketing strategy and don’t need a Marketing Grader Report from us, we can still help you! Request a 30-minute consultation with us. We’ll answer any of your questions about trending bed and breakfast marketing ideas and will help you find solutions to the marketing challenges your inn is facing. We hope to hear from you soon! In the meantime, you can find out more about us and what we do online!
Photo credit: Getty Images / littlehenrabi, kennykiernan, Jacob Ammentorp Lund, Rawpixel Ltd
Lauren Balmer | Customer Experience Manager
Learn More About Me and Q4Launch on LinkedIn today!