The Impact of Social Media in Boutique Hotels
The boutique hotels sector is an industry that always updates itself and should always blend according to the era, the lifestyle of the people, trends, and if there are big changes happening in the world. However, it can be easily affected by uncontrolled situations like if there is an economic crisis or, as what we are facing right now if there is a pandemic that affects the whole world.
Before the internet age, people used to visit booking offices, planning the trip with the tour agents and deciding their hotel from a published magazine of the travel agency. According to travel agencies, they were trying to sell the hotels that they have contracts with. Thus, when it comes to different types of hotels, the boutique hotel business becomes left out especially if it is not located in a famous or special destination like located on an island or near the lake or beachside.
However, after the internet became part of our life, people still visited booking offices, however, most people have already started to realize the convenience of booking online instead. They can visit the hotel website, check the room photos, and even the reviews of the hotel. They also had a chance to find some information in advance about the region of where they will go.
After social media entered our lives, people started to visit unique places, boutique hotels that they stayed in, take great photos of their vacations, and share them on Instagram with their followers. Thus, influencer marketing started to emerge. This trend gives a huge impact on the hospitality industry. It changed the travel habits of people as instead of being tied up with one hotel for a week or more, they started to book multiple Boutique hotels to experience different lifestyles and atmospheres instead.
The Relevance of Digital Marketing
Before, boutique hotels were hiring photographers to take professional shots of the hotels and sending them to travel agencies. If the hotel’s commission is well, combined with promos and discounts to give to the guests, they will be more highlighted during reservation. Big-time hotels were also publishing their great discounts in newspapers and magazines to expand sales and brand awareness.
Now, when the internet and social media rise, digital marketing becomes more and more important. We can even share and post information all over the world today with just a few clicks. However, it can create challenges for those businesses who want to use and promote their brand in online channels as today’s internet is filled with lots of information and high competition. If you want to really stand out among others, you need a strong digital marketing strategy.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Boutique Hotels?
Digital marketing is a fast-paced yet effective marketing style in today’s world. Even though it is one of the cheap ways to promote your business, if you don’t create a consistent and strong strategy for your boutique hotel, it can cost you more. That’s why here are some of the best steps to follow to avoid overspending.
Planning Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Who we are?
This is more than writing some information to your website. First of all, you should understand your business clearly.
– Where are you located?
– How many rooms do your boutique hotel has?
– What hotel category are you in?
– What specialties does your boutique hotel have?
– What makes your hotel different from other hotels?
– Who is your target market?
– What are the demographics of your previous visitors?
– What is the price range of your room and per room in the region?
– Who are your competitors?
These are some relevant questions to gather more information about your business. If you want to know more about it, ask more questions. Also, your target market and competition research are very important factors to which can affect your business.
What is your goal?
After finishing the research, you should set your goals for your digital marketing strategy. Goals can be separated into two: short-term and long-term goals. The goals you are choosing should be challenging but also realistic that motivates you.
- Short Term Goals: These are the goals that can be up to 6 months. These can be related to brand awareness, engaging with your target audience, and receiving bookings.
- Long Term Goals: Receiving bookings, having a good standing in the search engine, guest loyalty, organic traffic.
Digital Transformation of Your Business
Before starting everything, it is important to create a website first for your boutique hotel with quality photos and relevant content because in the hotel industry you are not selling people a specific product – you are selling them a dream and a lifestyle.
On the other hand, the website should be easy to operate and SEO friendly for you to be able to add new content and easily make some changes. In this case, Shopify or WordPress could be good options.
Another thing you should create is a Google Business account. This is very important for your guests to find you on the web easily. Another advantage is, they can see your address on the map too so they can easily reach the hotel using map navigation. Your guests can also see real-time comments and photos about your business.
In addition, you should also create your business social media pages and add the Google Analytics Code and Facebook Pixel to your page to track your potential guests. The steps of digitalizing your business will make you one step close to success.
Digital Marketing Strategy Implementation
Short-Term Goals with Digital Marketing Strategy
Boutique hotels are generally the type of hotel that offers less than 50 rooms only. Except for online travel agencies like Booking.com, Trivago, Expedia and other travel agencies are not generally having contracts with them too.
30 days Short Term Goals;
How To Reach Short Term Goals;
- Open accounts on Booking.com, Expedia, Trivago kind of websites and create some promotions that can give your hotel free traffic and also some reservations.
- Focus on 2 main social media channels; Instagram and Facebook. Post captivating photos, videos, and captions.
- You can use single photo posts, multi-photo posts, and video posts to engage with your target audience
- Create a hashtag for your brand or product and start using other relevant hashtags.
- Join relevant Facebook Groups to connect with your potential guests. For example, if your boutique hotel is in the forest, you can join camping groups.
- Follow and engage relevant influencers, brand partners, or advocates.
However, if from the beginning you already want to start as paid social media marketing, you can target those interests according to what you have researched and the target market. Although it will cost you higher at the beginning, it will also allow your pixel to grow and gain more information.
On the other hand, you can also create an ad in Google as a search campaign for people to find your hotel when they type your hotel name. You should not go overboard here because pay per click can be expensive.
90 Days Short Term Goals:
– 25% Booking of the Capacity
– 1000 Facebook Page Likers
-1000 Instagram Followers
How to Reach 90 Days Short Term Goals:
- Build a custom audience using your existing customer database.
- Build a lookalike audience of your customer database.
- Start promoting your posts to build brand awareness.
- Set up ad campaigns that meet your marketing objectives (Awareness, Consideration, Conversion).
- Create more long-term promotions in online travel agencies. For example; pay 4 nights, stay 5 nights.
- Post 3 times a week including branding, information, and video posts.
- Interview your guests with Facebook Live or Instagram.
- Make stories, while people are enjoying the pool or chilling in the hotel. Real people are always the best way to engage with your target audience.
Long Term Goals for 1 Year:
– 65 to 75% of Hotel Bookings
– 5000 Facebook Liker
– 5000 Instagram Followers
– Placing First in Hotel Name Search
– Placing First Page in Regional Hotels and Boutique Hotels Search
How to Reach Long Term Goals for 1 Year:
- According to Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel Data, you can narrow down and optimize your conversion campaigns. You can A/B testing confidently, change the demographics and measure your results.
- Since the data is growing, lookalike audiences can work well in social media channels. You can A/B testing the lookalike audiences and find which works best for you.
- You may also start Display Ads with Google, since it is a service industry shopping ads may not work. No worries as Google has special settings for hotels that once the visitors choose the vacation dates, Google will show those available hotels on that date.
- Creating retargeting ads via Google and Facebook will be very effective as well to reach those people who have already visited your website.
- Collaboration with Instagram influencers will also be a great way of marketing for the short and long term. You can invite multiple influencers and make them post stories and photos on their pages. Bloggers who have 30k-80k will be more affordable for you. Not to mention, their followers are more supportive and realistic than the above 100k bloggers.
- In boutique hotels, if your guests check out satisfied and happy, they will automatically become your loyal guests. They will continuously support your hotel wherever they will be. Thus, sending some newsletters for your old and new guests, the latest deals, or celebrating their birthday or any special day will be an advantage in creating a loyalty program to inform them that you are still prioritizing them.
- A hotel website should not be limited to hotel information only, but you should also create blogs with relevant keywords, good internal and external links, and of course, professional high-resolution pictures. These blogs can be about the region which includes; beaches, tourist places, hotels or the hotel prices in the region. Also, you can create questions in your blog which can be; where to eat, when to go, what to do in that area. Most people are also trying to get information by typing questions in Google, so that’s why they are important.
- When you are creating your campaigns and your content, you should focus on what makes you stand out and unique among others. What can you offer that others do not have? You should convince them why they should book your boutique hotel. Since it is a boutique hotel, you can add some special artsy fartsy area or Instagrammable features in your hotel so the guests can take a photo and post it on their social media pages. It can create more awareness, recognition, and credibility. It can be an infinity pool, a swing in the forest, or even artistic painted old doors that can be your trademark.
- Another marketing style for reaching long-term goals can be by supporting charities. You can be part of sustainable living with your boutique hotel. You can announce that you are sending the food wastes to dog houses. A couple of photos also add meaning to your campaign.
In conclusion, there are always unique ways to promote your products and services. The boutique hotel business is one of the best fields that we can predict on how digital marketing will work effectively since they both evolve according to rapid changes and the current behavior of the people.