Fundamentally, the aim of a hotelier is simple – to fill as many rooms at their hotel as possible and drive up revenue from the property. However, when you break down how to achieve that it inevitably becomes more complicated – to boost direct bookings effectively, a hotel must strive to build solid relationships with present, past and future guests in order to encourage them to repeat their journeys through the customer lifecycle.
How can you successfully do this? Well, it’s not easy; rarely anything worthwhile in business is. However, by taking advantage of all the marketing opportunities available today (especially digitally speaking), key customer segments can be caught and focused on at critical points in the journey via a multichannel marketing campaign.
Specifically, such a campaign can reach pre-existing and potential customers across different moments via a regular, cohesive brand message, while shifting distribution power away from online travel agents (OTAs), increasing guests’ stay duration, improving average daily rate (ADR) and, overall of course, achieving previously unattained returns.
The five questions
To kick-off planning a successful multichannel campaign then, you’re best advised to address the five ‘W’s:
- 1. Who is your audience? To answer this and to work out what the emotional and practical association people make with your brand, study your guest data via website analytics, customer research and previous campaign insights
- 2. What will the campaign contain? Crafting its cohesive message and narrative across the various channels requires studying your customer insights
- 3. When will the campaign take place? Calculate timing based on when’s best to reach your target segment in the booking window you’re aiming to use
- 4. Where are you going to hold your campaign? What’s your marketing mix going to be – website, social media, app alerts, email shots and print ads?
- 5. Why are you actually holding the campaign? Don’t overlook, let alone forget, your ultimate goals – to be measured by performance metrics and KPIs – across all channels and at every touch-point along the way.
So how can you best run a multichannel campaign to drive up those much desired bookings through direct hotel distribution channels
? Here are some ideas:
- 1. Make sure your budget for the campaign is flexible enough to stretch across the multiple channels you’re planning to use
- 2. Analyse your CRM data to work out how your customer demographics break-down – based on their make-up and online behaviours, which channel will be best to reach each of them?
- 3. Ensure your campaign isn’t just cross-channel-friendly but cross-device-ready – that means it must work on smartphones and tablets as well as PCs
- 4. Don’t forget your overall message has to be cohesive, while also resonating with pre-existing and potential guests and their individual passion-points
And finally, the devil’s in the detail; the digital technology and analytics you’ll be relying on have to be up to the task – they’ll need to be able to effectively track and optimise conversions; it’s the aim of the whole exercise, after all!