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Top 30 Content Marketing Tips for the Hospitality Industry

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EnVeritas Group content marketing white paper revealing 30 essential tips that any marketer in the hospitality industry must know.

EnVeritas Group content marketing white paper revealing 30 essential tips that any marketer in the hospitality industry must know.

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  • 1. 2Because the travel and tourism space remains extremely competitive,it’s critical for hotels and hotel groups to establish and maintain acompetitive advantage in their marketing efforts. One increasinglyimportant way of doing this is to recognize what content marketing isand how to integrate it into your overall marketing efforts. Contentmarketing is the active process of creating relevant and sought aftercontent with the goal of attracting your target market’s eye, mind andpocketbook. Successful content marketers take the time to developan integrated content strategy that focuses on the user experience,from market research to distribution, site copy to images and searchengine rankings to measurement.PRE-GAME1. Research the Reader—Know Who You Want to Appeal ToThis may seem like a given, but many timeshoteliers, especially as launch time nears, findthemselves pressed for time and attending to amillion other details. The basic step of figuringout who your web content addresses gets lost in theshuffle. Before considering content for a website orsocial media channel, you need to go back to thebasics and identify who exactly you need to and willbe talking to — road warriors, occasional businessguests, leisure travelers, retirees, families with kids,etc. You then need to take that knowledge andactively generate content that appeals to theidentified groups.2. Set Content Marketing Goals—Know Why You Need to Reach This AudienceOnce you’ve determined who your target is, it’simportant to know why you are developing contentfor them. What is it you hope to achieve with contentdeveloped for your website, blog and socialchannels? Is it brand recognition, customer loyalty,the ability to expose your hotel to new customers andexpanded demographics? Once all stakeholders on your marketing teamcan clearly state the goals of your content, those players should constantly evaluate any contentideas or opportunities against the rubric of how it does or does not achieve the stated goals.
  • 2. 3IMAGE3. Start with Professionally Written CopyYou wouldn’t skimp on carpeting and furnishings for your hotel’s lobby, so why let an amateurcraft the online image of your hotel? Poorly written, unorganized copy will have site visitorsbouncing from your site like a red rubber ball. Invest the time and money to hire a professionalwho can showcase your hotel.4. Add Professional PhotographyPerhaps the only thing worse than site content written by an amateur is photography shot byan amateur. Poorly lit, grainy photos won’t sell your property, no matter how nice it is or whata deal the price is.5. Use Professional Videography and/or Virtual ToursGuests want to see exactly what they are getting whenthey book a room online. Highlight the hotel’s exterior,public spaces, dining facilities, meeting rooms,guestrooms and bathrooms when shooting videos anddeveloping virtual tours.6. Have a Style Guide and Stick to ItA Style Guide is your site’s secret weapon. It’s the behindthe scenes playbook that keeps theonline image of your site and all sites within your brandconsistent. It spells out everything fromfont type and size to photo size and number of charactersin blocks of copy. Thoughtfully develop and enforcerigorously!7. Use Words that SellSell the experience of staying at your hotel. Rememberyou are selling more than just a placeto sleep. You are selling a weekend getaway or aseamless business trip. Find words thatdefine your brand and enliven the experience of visitingyour location.8. Tell Your StoryConnect all of the outstanding elements of your hotel sothey tell a story both visually and verbally. Take guests ona journey through your hotel from exterior to guest room using properly ordered photographsthat hit the hotel’s highpoints. Written content should flow seamlessly from paragraph toparagraph, page to page, setting the standards for guest expectations.9. Be UniqueEach hotel has unique features that set it apart from all the rest. Is it your exceptional customerservice and freshly baked cookies? Your outstanding location? Your free shuttle service?Your world-class restaurants? Help your guests discover what makes your hotel special.Content marketing expertMike Volpe predicts,“More video...asmarketers realize thatlive video podcastsand other formats...can communicate acompelling messageto help you getfound bymore prospects.”
  • 3. 4SEO and PPC10. Use Highly Searched Keywords in Site CopyUse professional tools to research SEO keywords potential guests use when they search for ahotel and expertly weave those keywords into site copy.11. Provide User-Centered ContentStick with content that informs and educates the reader. With all the drama going on these dayssurrounding companies trying to game the search engines, you’ll never go wrong with simplyproviding the information that appeals to your guests.12. Don’t Overload Copy with KeywordsKeywords are important, but they should never be manipulated or over-used. They should beintegrated into the copy to assist in providing readers with the information they need to find.13. Link BuildingLink Building is like word of mouth. The more qualitysites (not link farms) that point to you as an “expert”,the more your credibility increases in the eyes of thesearch engines. Actively work to build relationshipswith sites in your area that would sensibly link toyou. Remember that link building is not link sharing.Link sharing does little to promote your site’scredibility.14. Google+ LocalDon’t forget to enter your hotel’s information andkeywords into Google+ Local, where listings showup before organic rankings and include a map.15. Balance PPC and SEOPut time and effort into managing both PPC (pay-per-click) and SEO (search engine optimization)initiatives. Coordinate both by ensuring that staffworking on each initiative coordinates approaches,keywords and timing of activities.“A key to engagingcontent is to putthe customer first,to solve her problemsand answerher questions. Thisrequires understandingtheir beliefs, feelings,wants and needs.”Keith WiegoldContent Marketing Institute
  • 4. 5EDUCATE GUESTS16. Hotel DetailsMake sure your copy has all the details guests want about location, rooms, services, in-housedining and more. If you have washers and dryers in the rooms, clearly state that on the room’spage. If you have free coffee in the lobby, make it known. Guests research and make decisionsbased on amenities, so leaving something out doesn’t give the guest the full picture of what yourhotel offers.17. Local Area and TransportationThe first thing most travelers want to know whenarriving in a new city is where they are stayingin relation to the rest of the city. Is the hotel in thenortheast section of the city? The arts district?Downtown? Help orient your guests by providingdestination content about your location andproviding public transportation options, including thenearest bus, train or underground stops.18. Local Activities and EventsTake time to research the hotel’s local area andinclude nearby attractions and activities thatguests can enjoy during their free time. Be sure toinclude local events and remember toupdate events at least quarterly.TRANSLATION AND LOCALIZATION19. Spend Time and Money on TranslationEngage a professional who speaks the nativelanguage fluently in order to capture the nuancesof change from English to the translated language.20. Localize Keyword ResearchTo retain highly searched keywords in translatedcopy, you need to have localized keywordresearch included in the copy. Don’t just assumethat your English keywords can be translatedand still maintain high organic search rankings.They can’t.Noted localization expert Andy Atkins-Krüger comments on Search EngineLand’s blog that keywords “cannot be translated from market to marketor language to language. You must start from scratch every time withsome proper research.”Hotel MarketingStrategies reportsthat 20% ofGoogle searchesare location specific,and Marketing Sherpanotes that“geo-targetedadvertising provideshighest ROI.”
  • 5. 6VALUE PROSPECTS21. Develop Appealing Special Offers and Update Them RegularlyDraw in guests by putting special offer packages together that encourage them to book. Forexample, a Romance Package around Valentine’s Day can include room night, breakfast andcarriage tour. Update seasonally. Distribute those messages across the right channels—website, facebook, e-mail, etc.22. Enable Private Groups to PiggyBack Off Your SiteIt’s a simple concept really, butallowing your guests to have their own,private web page hosted on your siteallows them to provide that URL totheir company, corporate guests,wedding guests, etc. They’ll have anorganized website for their event,meeting or party, and you’llget the bookings.TIMELINESS23. Regularly Update Site CopySearch engines reward refreshed copy. Guests look for timely information. Therefore, makingregular updates to your site is a must. Regularly refresh special offers, information about localattractions, events and hotel details.GRUNT WORK THAT MATTERS24. Tend to the DetailsRemember to attend to the “little” elements of a site that give it a polished look and feel andassist with SEO—provide alt tags for photos, write short photo captions for images, properlysize photos and fonts and use crystal clear images.25. Make Individual Hotels Updates Simply and QuicklyEmpower each hotel to easily update images, words, offers, maps, etc. Use an online“Message Board” where hotels can input updates they need made and your contentmanagement team can quickly and easily respond to those requests.26. Check Facts/Maintain DatabasesWhen was the last time you checked names, phone numbers and e-mails for all your hotelstaff? General Managers, Regional Managers and Sales staff often change regularly. Be sureyou keep your records up to date. This will ensure that contact information on your website iseasy to update.27. Interview Your ManagersNo one knows the hotel better than the hotel’s General Manager. Be sure to thoroughlyinterview the General Managers of the hotel before writing site copy. Content expertsagree that you should tap into the 10-15% of staff who really “get” your product.Take advantage of their depth and breadth of knowledge.
  • 6. 7DISTRIBUTION28. Coordinate Distribution of Offers and Information Across ChannelsThink through all the touch points where potential guests may have contact with your hotel —website, e-mail, social media, etc. Craft and disseminate your content so that it works togetherto dialogue with your potential guests about your hotel.MEASUREMENT29. Monitor Traffic and User Interaction to Identify Hard Working PagesTap into your analytics. Make sure you understand what it is they are telling you. Look for pagesthat are highly trafficked and retain guests. Make more pages like these. Also look for pagesthat don’t perform as well, identify why and make changes to (or eliminate) these pages.30. Test and TweakBe willing to tweak pages and to conduct split tests todetermine which pages, headlines, layouts, etc.engage with guests and those that don’t.In conclusion, when developingyour content marketing strategy,be deliberate and be dedicated.Get buy-in from all stakeholders andwork together as a team to ensure thatthe content on your hotel’s website andsocial media channels is fully focusedon engaging and attracting guests withits robust, unique nature.Content isn’t just an after thoughtto fill space around a booking engine.Rather, content is the ticket that leadsusers to the booking engine.Expert content marketer,Joe Pulizzi of Junta42Content Marketing says,“I would dare saythat the single mostimportant characteristicof successfulcontent marketers(individuals and brands)is perseverance.”
  • 7. 8About the AuthorAubrae Wagner is a Content Strategist with EnVeritasGroup, a global content marketing firm that creates,manages, markets and distributes content for Fortune 500companies. Aubrae has worked in the areas of contentdevelopment and content marketing for over15 years, specializing in content for the hospitality andtourism industries.With an undergraduate degree in English and an advanceddegree in Professional Communication, Aubrae uses bothher education and work experience to help each client sheworks with identify online goals, map out a plan to achievethose goals and then execute on the plan to successfulresults. To learn more about EnVeritas Group,please visit www.enveritasgroup.com.Contact UsEnVeritas GroupCall: 864.241.0779Email: hello@enveritasgroup.comVisit: www.enveritasgroup.com.About EnVeritas GroupEnVeritas Group is a global content marketing firm dedicated to helping companies win theirZero Moment of Truth by developing engaging communications through proprietary processesdesigned to create, manage, market and distribute content. Headquartered in Greenville, SouthCarolina the company has Custom Content Creation (C3) Centers in the United States, Englandand Mexico. EnVeritas group employs 70 full-time writers, editors and staff members in theUnited States and has a network of over 2,000 writers worldwide. For more information andadditional blogs, please visit the company’s website at www.enveritasgroup.com.