7 Hotel Marketing Strategies for 2022

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We are approaching a phase where travel restrictions are (hopefully) going to slightly get lifted, and also travel demand will start picking up.

Therefore it’s time for us to start planning the hotel marketing activities for our hotels. And even though it will take some time for that demand to reach pre pandemic levels, competition didn’t change.

So what do we do?

Should we do the exact same things as we did before?

Shall we do something new? Something different?

And more importantly, how much to invest in it?

You have a marketing budget and you need to make the most out of it.

As obvious as it sounds, the invest-in-everything option is not a solution.

In this post, I’m going to show you what I believe are the 7 steps for your hotel marketing plan, especially in these times, because that they can be executed in a relatively short period of time.

So let’s dig in.


1 – Prospecting

First of all, what does prospecting mean?

Prospecting means getting in front of your leads, prospects and future customers before your competitors and before other distribution channels. In other words, before they (prospective customers) even start looking at you.

A proactive approach.

Before these crazy times, we could afford to kind of wait for them to come knocking at our hotels’ doors.

As soon as they started searching travel-related products and services like the most classic search query Hotel + destination, that is where essentially we started marketing our hotels.

Shall we still doing the same?

Actually, not for the very reason that I told you before: demand will still be lower than pre-pandemic levels, yet competition will be very high.

So how can we do?

There are many different ways, but the very buzzword in my opinion is: think in terms of people, not in terms of products.

Translated: Why do people travel?

I shot a video a few days ago about the targeting people with upcoming birthdays.

Why? Well, people’s birthday is a good reason for travelling.

And it’s not because these people with upcoming birthdays are necessarily thinking of travelling for celebrating their birthdays.

But if we instil the idea of travelling as an option they might not have thought of before, and us, our hotel, our packages, our solution as the ideal solution for their birthday celebration, well, that’s a new prospect that before was not even considered as such.

That’s what generating demand. But you have other ways. For example, very similar to birthdays are Anniversaries, like wedding anniversaries.

You see? This is what thinking in terms of people means: our hotels and services as a solution or a benefit to our prospective customers.

So, again, why do people travel? Are birthdays and anniversaries good reasons for people to travel?

Yes, but don’t wait for them to think about travelling so that they can come to your hotel. Instead, instil the idea into their mind.

And believe me, if you are the first one instilling this idea into their mind, high chances that you are going to be their preferred choice, because the first one gets remembered way more easily.

Another target could be newly engaged people or newly married people.

This are extremely good targets because when you just get engaged, (have you ever been?) everything is bright.

In that state of mind you are in a constant and persistent dreaming phase, projecting and visualising all the beautiful things that you will do together.

Also, use your previous guest to build a custom audience.

Getting past customers to become repetitive customers is way easier than finding new customers.

You can build a custom audience based on your past customers. Be specific.

For example, take the list of guests of a specific period of time, like the last summer before the pandemic.

Reach out to them, possibly via email so that it’ll cost you nothing, and point them to, for example, a landing page where you have a specific offer for them.

These are the people who are already connected to you, simply because they know you.

Think about it: in these times where people may be feeling skeptical, doubtful and scared, even though travel restrictions may be lifted, wouldn’t it be a great for them to go where they feel comfortable? A place where they have already been, aka your hotel.


2 – Retargeting: the most effective Digital Marketing Strategy.

Extremely important. I cannot stress that out enough.

Retargeting (or Remarketing) is always, always, always the best and most effective hotel marketing campaign that you can run, and it can be done either using Google or Facebook.

Personally I use Facebook more than Google, for many reasons that I will outline one day, but that’s beyond point.

If you don’t know, Retargeting (or Remarketing, the two words are exactly interchangeable) simply means reaching out to people who have already visited your website or have engaged and interacted with your social media posts and social media platforms.

In other words, people who have already engaged with you recently.

And that’s important because they are already familiar with your brand and they have your hotel in mind.

But the simple fact that they didn’t book in the first sight doesn’t mean that they are not interested in you.

It’s simply just a part of the customer journey: it will take time.

Even though there is no statistics on the web, I’ve been creating one myself about the adoption of retargeting campaigns and strategies by the operators of the Hotel Industry (I will definitely share the results as soon as I’m done).

So far, what I’ve found is that more than 80% of hotels do not do any Retargeting, globally and being optimistic.

Which represents a huge pity. For this very reason that I just mentioned: it’s easier and more effective to reach out to people who are already familiar with your hotel, with your brand, rather than prospecting new customers that are totally new to your name.


3 – Sell Your Destination more than your Hotel.

I’m not suggesting nor saying that you shouldn’t talk about your hotel on your website and all your social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.

But if you think about it, why do people travel and stay at your hotel? Because of you? Or because of your city, your town?

With very rate exceptions, your hotel is part of a bigger experience and serves a higher purpose than just finding a comfortable and nice hotel.

Yes, when prospects land on your website or social media platforms, they are looking for a hotel room, simple as that. But ultimately, their core reason is because they want to see your destination.

Thus, if you tap into this core reason, higher chances that you’re going to “win the customer”.

Talk more about what your destination has to offer, all the beautiful things that your prospects can do there and relate these POIs to your hotel and your services.


4 – Give, Give and again, Give… for Free.

I know this may sound crazy, but this is probably the only hotel marketing strategy that really works nowadays: give, before asking for something in return.

Pretending to sell your rooms in the first place, is like walking into a bar and asking a complete stranger to marry you.

Very often I use this metaphor, but that’s actually what we most times end up doing.

And if you don’t believe me, check your own Google Analytics dashboards: in there you can look a dimension called Count of Sessions, which will tell you the number of Users who book in the first place, meaning the very first time they land on your site.

Instead of pushing prospects to take action, aka make a (direct) booking, using mental triggers like scarcity and urgency that have very little effect on people in the initial stage of their booking journey, wouldn’t it be better to keep consistency and give them something tangible that they value, so that they may be thinking of you again at a later stage to perform the reservation, when they will feel ready?

So what can you give away?

This is where you connect to the previous point: sell your destination.

You might be thinking of creating a travel itinerary of your destination. You can create one for free in a matter of 20-30 minutes and make it available for free on your website and social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram.

Free for you to create, free for your customers to benefit from.

Isn’t it a good service to your guests? A service that they will appreciate and that can make our Hospitality Industry a better place? Focus, focus and again focus on your customers.

Alternatively, or in addition, it can be a list of preferred restaurants in your town. How many times after check-in your guests ask the reception a recommendation for a nice restaurant?

Thinks like these are no-brainer, take nothing to create, yet generate value because are valued by your customers.

Plus, you are the insider: in your prospects and customers’ eyes, there is no one who knows your place better than you.

Plus Plus Plus… by giving away something (valuable) for free, you are leveraging one of the most potent mental trigger of all: reciprocity.

Reciprocity simply means that if you give me something for free, I will feel the urge of giving you something back at some point.

Guess what that giving-you-something-back could be?

Exactly, way higher chances that I will likely choose you over any other hotels. And not because I will consciously decide so, but because unconsciously I will feel the urge to do so.

you giving something to me, I will feel the urge at some point to give you something back.


5 – Distribution (are you rolling your eyes back?)

Yep, distribution, what a pain in the ass, isn’t it?

Distribution is a discipline that I love with all myself, and yet it makes me very, very itchy.

Itchy because so many people talk about distribution as if it was something that you can take care of and fix in a matter of seconds, in minutes: “take care of your distribution“, “make sure that your website and booking engine have the best available rate” and so on and so forth.

Now, in an ideal world, it really sounds that easy, but this is not an ideal world. In this world, things don’t work like that.

Distribution has changed more in the last 3 up to 5 years than it changed in the previous 40 years.

And it’s going to change even more so now, after the pandemic. One of the reason is that 1/4 of the global consumers started buying online during these pandemic times for the very first time, for obvious reasons, being locked down.

But before, when they could choose, they didn’t buy online because they were skeptical, even scared of the digital world.

But as soon as these consumers were forced to buy online, they automatically tore down that wall of skepticism and fear… and guess what? Now they will keep buying online.

So what does this mean?

It means that even those people who previously used to buy offline, now have moved online. Or, at least, they will use the online channels as part of their booking journey.

In other words, online distribution is going to be a very, very delicious cake for many players, big players and also new players (aka, Airbnb… perfect timing, indeed).

You see the point: Distribution is going to be even very complex than it is today.

95% of the hotels that I audited in the last three years had distribution issues.

But the problem is that of them did not know they had these problems.

These hotels believed they were perfectly in parity.

Hotel Distribution is such a delicious cake that the vast majority of the players would be willing to do everything in their power to get an always bigger slice.

And they do, unbeknownst to you of course.

So what to do? Should you give up on distribution?

Many hoteliers, unfortunately, have already given up. And believe me, I totally understand them.

Of course I am not endorsing such an option. It’s the other way around. I’m suggesting you to really take care of distribution, but you should know that this is not going to be easy, despite those who will try to make you believe the opposite.

Yet, it’ll be totally, totally worth it.


6 – Get Yourself a Retail System

Probably one of the most interesting steps of this hotel marketing plan , for sure the biggest news.

We just talked about Distribution. Now, what’s the difference between what you sell on 3rd-party sites and what you sell through your booking engine? Or what you sell via email compared to what you sell over the phone?

Exactly, NOTHING. Rooms.

Standard, Superior, Deluxe, Suite… Standard Room on your booking engine. Standard Room on the OTAs.

Apples to apples. The only difference is the channel.

And that’s why we end up fighting this famous price war: because prices, across multiple channels, becomes the only differentiating factor.

But what if you could sell your rooms in a different way?

This is what a retail system like GauVendi can do for you.

For a moment, step into your prospective customers’ shoes and think about their booking journey: Standard, Superior, Deluxe, Suite… these are all the options that can choose from, but what does Standard ultimately mean?

What does Superior mean?

You see, Standard, Superior, Deluxe and Suite are just meaningless labels to your prospects It’s not stated anywhere what’s behind these labels.

And that’s why a feature-based booking engine like GauVendi can definitely help you, because your prospects are longer buying a Standard room.

They’re buying a room that has this, this and that specific feature.

What is a feature? Literally, it can be anything you want that you customers value.

A feature can be something as simple as a room on a high floor, as opposed to low floorFar away from the elevator, a sea view as opposed to garden view, a connecting room… whatever.

Those are all features that bring value to your customers.

And if they value those features, you can generate incremental revenue by simply making them available at the time of booking.

How much more value would you think prospects will perceive, if they are given the chance to select their hotel room exactly as they wanted, as opposed to a meaningless Standard Room?

A feature-based booking engine, if used in a proper way, can leverage some of the most powerful mental triggers that have been scientifically proven to be boosting any Hotel Digital Marketing initiatives: Brand Building, Social Proof, Ikea EffectLet your Customers Feel in Control of the Buying Process.

That’s why I am totally endorsing a system like GauVendi. Plus, you don’t even have to replace your official booking engine: you can run an A/B traffic split when users click on the Book Now / Check Availability button on your website.. and numbers will tell you what your customers want. And what ultimately drives more revenue for you.


7 – Every Single $ Counts.

With this last step, I’m simply closing the loop I started at the beginning of this post: your marketing budget, be sure to make use of it in the best possible way.

As obvious as it sounds, consider the difficult times we all have been gone through this year. No traffic, no people, no travel demand. No revenue.

And now you need to start marketing again, competing with essentially the same competition.

You know it better than anyone else: every single dollar counts.

Therefore, you smartly need to decide where to allocate this budget. This is the exact opposite of investing in everything.

This is another reason that makes me itchy (like distribution 😉), unfortunately.

Because I keep hearing so many people saying that you need to invest in everything. SEO, SEA, Social Media Advertising, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Content, Email marketing, Content marketing, Metasearch engines, Instagram, Facebook… you name it.

It simply cannot be.

So be smart on your budget allocation.

There’s no need to do necessarily more. Maybe we can start doing better what we already have and do.



Probably you noticed that I didn’t mention, for example, Metasearch engines.

Well, I did it on purpose.

I’m not necessarily against the meta search engines. They can be powerful and beneficial, but only if placed in the right context.

As a matter of fact, I’ll be shooting other videos talking about Metasearch Engines and the reasons why I often times end up being kind of skeptical. But again, I’m not against them. I just want to bring a different perspective on the myth that Meta are a must-have.

On another note, I didn’t mention SEO, for example.

SEO is indeed and as opposed to what many people think, more important than ever before. It just evolved, too.

Soon I will share some really cool stuff by bringing in a really, really cool SEO expert.

Stay tuned.

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Digital Strategy & E-commerce Expert for Independent Hotels.

Need Help Getting More Revenue & Reducing Costs for Your Hotel?​

Let’s talk about it and see IF and HOW we can help.

Need Help Getting More Revenue & Reducing Costs for Your Hotel?

Let’s talk about it and see IF and HOW we can help.

Need Help Getting More Revenue & Reducing Costs for Your Hotel?​

Let’s talk about it and see IF and HOW we can help.

Need Help Getting More Revenue & Reducing Costs for Your Hotel?

Let’s talk about it and see IF and HOW we can help.


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