This is the first in our blog series where we plan to share marketing tips with a particular industry or sector in mind. The first focus is on boutique hotel marketing strategies, which include self-catering accommodation, glamping sites and small guest houses. The hotel and accommodation sector has changed hugely over recent years with the introduction of Air BnB, more people seeking co-working spaces in a post-COVID world, increased focus on a sustainable approach and personalisation being key trends to watch out for.
In a post-COVID world with no travel restrictions in place, we are starting to see many invest in once-in-a-lifetime holidays and trips abroad to more far-flung destinations. These changes naturally impact the domestic tourism market, with many hotels, self-catering and guest house accommodations struggling to maintain a consistent occupancy level throughout the year. In our latest blog, we wanted to share some strategies to help you to drive revenue and maintain occupancy.
1. Messaging, proposition and packages
We talk a lot about setting your strategy for all small businesses, and this is so important. It is key to be clear with your teams about the direction the business is taking and what revenue and occupancy you are aiming for. Once you are clear on your direction, it is then a case of looking at strategies to achieve this. The first part of this puzzle is to identify your audiences and create a niche product or package that will encourage them to stay with you.
For example, if you are a boutique hotel or self-catering apartment located near Legoland Windsor, you might build a dinner, bed and breakfast package with families in mind that include tickets to the park. Many of your competitors will probably be doing something similar, so consider how you can create a point of difference or a surprise and delight element, perhaps by including a free Lego kit for the children to build when they arrive or including a picnic they can take with them to the park. The advantage of being a smaller accommodation provider is the ability to personalise and tailor your offering for your audience – something larger operators will struggle to deliver against.
2. Reward Loyalty
We talk a lot with our clients about building loyalty, which is also key for any accommodation provider. Once you have a customer who has stayed with you and enjoyed the experience, the aim is to encourage them to return. As a brand advocate, consider how you could encourage them to return or recommend their friends to have a similar experience. Larger operators will probably digitalise this, but for smaller accommodation providers, creating a special offer or value add to their next experience will create a point of difference and a unique experience
Taking our example above, if you have a customer who stayed with you in April to visit Legoland, why not offer them a slightly different tailored package to come back and visit Windsor Castle, take a trip on the River Thames, Visit Go Ape or use Windsor as a base to explore London. By understanding your audience and personalising the offering to them will enable you to resonate more effectively.
3. Great Customer Service
In the hospitality sector, great customer service is a must. It is worth planning out the customer experience with you from initial enquiry, booking through to the stay itself. Getting the basics of a clean room, good food, and helpful staff is only the beginning; consider how you can build on this and surprise and delight. This is how you will create more brand advocates and retain your customers.
4. Digital Marketing
In today’s digital world, some marketing foundations must be in place to support maintaining your boutique hotel and self-catering accommodation occupancy levels. A responsive website to showcase and, ideally, book stays through is essential; it is like your shop window and serves as a base to showcase the accommodation. Once you have a website, regular blogs, email marketing, social media, and SEO activity are key to share more information with your target audience and tap into their need state at different times of the year. To understand more about how this all works, why not check out our Definitive Marketing Strategy Guide or recent article on 6 Small Business Marketing Ideas On a Budget?
Plan out your content and supporting packages across the year to enable you to tap into your ideal client’s need state – consider the seasonality of your accommodation and how this could be personalised over Christmas, Easter or the summer holidays.
5. Partnership Marketing
By working with local suppliers, driving awareness at local events and working with local tourist boards, it is possible to extend who you are speaking with and increase the value you add to your clients. Taking the Legoland example from above, why not also create a partnership with a local Go Ape venue to enhance the value of the weekend away in the local area
6. Connect with your Local Community
The last strategy is to think about how you can connect and support your local community. Perhaps you might have a room you can hire out as a meeting room for events or weddings, space to offer co-working or a bar to hold events in. By supporting your local customers they will help maintain revenue when the tourists have returned home.
If you would like help creating a marketing approach that will drive revenue and maintain a consistent occupancy level, get in touch to arrange your no-obligation discovery call.