The Secrets of Successful Hotel Marketing


Tracey Stapleton
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The Secrets of Successful Hotel Marketing


Last week we were at the National Hotel Marketing Conference to pick up on all the latest marketing ideas, advice and tips for our clients.  Located within the inspiring confines of St George’s Park, over 250 hospitality professionals attended the event to unravel the latest wisdom and strategies to elevate hotel marketing to new heights.

Among the many topics discussed, the overall view was the indispensable role of creativity in hotel marketing. Here are the top insights that emerged from the conference:

  1. Give a warm welcome

Joss Croft OBE, Chief Executive of UK Inbound, gave some fascinating insights into inbound tourism.   With the UK ranking as the seventh most visited country globally, the potential for growth is staggering. The market is set to grow by 20% to 2027 and China is starting to travel again.  However, the natural beauty of the UK is still not well known and our welcome and service could be better.

Joss also spoke about some of the current trends such as Set Jetting (locations become popular due to featuring on dramas/films), Coolcationing, Gig Tripping, Skipgen Travel, Back of House Tours, Destination Dupes, Goccasions, Silent Travel, Urban Gardens and Astro Tourism (dark skies).

When it comes to inbound tourism, Joss advises hotels to work with intermediary tour operators and travel agents as eight out of 10 trips are booked through them.

  1. Make Ai your friend

Ian Miller, CEO at Crafted explained that Ai is permeating every facet of hotel operations.  A recent Travel Tech Show survey revealed that 32% of companies use it for enhancing the customer experience, 24% for targeted recommendations and 31% for operational efficiency.  Also, 70% of guests find chatbots helpful for simple enquiries but prefer humans for more complex requests.  Most importantly, he says, focus on the human need.

  1. Maximise revenue through the customer journey

Hollie McHugh, Head of marketing at Net Affinity explained that by using persuasive messaging you could realise an average 28% increase in the conversion rate.  When there’s a sense of urgency in the messaging, visitors are 14% more likely to complete during that session.  Also, icons and badges ie ‘hot deal’ increase conversion by 10%.

When it comes to choice, less is more.  Generally, less than 10 packages to choose from gives the best results.

  1. Clarify your spa offer

Adam Chatterley, founder of Beauty Business Secrets and recently Chair of the UK Spa Association, explained that selling spa services is not like selling hotel rooms or restaurant tables.  In a 2023 hospitality report 59% of affluent and HNW individuals say a spa is important/essential when booking a hotel room.  First you need to work on your offer.  Rather than focus on your package or treatment, answer your target audience frustrations/wants/hopes.  Common demands today include: relax, recovery, energise, workout, social and detox.  This will help you define which treatment and services you offer and make them easier to sell.

Also remember that your price dictates your client.  It’s more common now to have dynamic pricing and tiered pricing based on a therapist’s skill.  Most importantly you should look at value-based pricing ie Value = dream outcome of client x perceived likelihood divided by time in terms of a delay x effort.  Your aim is to increase the top line and decrease the bottom line.

Systemise frequent spa visitors by asking them if they know anyone who could benefit from your spa.  Then physically give them a named card and offer for that person.

  1. Go for the hound pound!

Karen Hanton MBE, founder of Pets Pyjamas revealed that dog owners spend 30% more than non-dog owners when travelling.  The biggest age group for travelling with dogs is 25-34. Karen’s tips for hoteliers are to’ go all paws in!’  Create designated dog areas, give the basics but go beyond.  Have a house handout, doggy dinners, safety advice and remember that the dog is a guest too.  One of the hotels she works with even has a doggy first aider on site!

  1. Master social media

Chloe Parry, Digital Marketing Executive at Carden Park said that by understanding audience segmentation and platform-specific dynamics, hotels can create engaging content that captures attention and fosters vibrant online communities.

The question you need to ask yourself when creating posts is ‘would this content make me stop scrolling?’  She further advises consistency and using all the features the platforms offer.  Don’t just look at your competitors for inspiration.  Also, make sure the text on your video matches your caption and hashtags.  And on TikTok, while you can create a video off the platform, she advises to finish editing on TikTok.


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