Hospitality industry has been very receptive of latest technologies. In this article, you will see that how the traditional 4 Ps of the marketing mix – Product, Price, Promotion, and Place perform for hotel industry on the stage of digital technology which has extended up to Artificial Intelligence.
As far as ‘’Product” of the four marketing mix is concerned, in case of hotel industry, we have intangible service instead of any tangible products. Apart from designing posh hotel exterior and interiors like lobbies, restaurants, rooms, swimming pools, gyms, gathering halls and other things, big hotels have gone up to the extent of deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered chatbots and robots to entertain customers.
For example, as per reports, in Hilton Worldwide, they have a robotic care taker called “Connie”. This two-feet high robot is a humanoid robot which guests can interact with when arriving at the check-in desk. Connie is intelligent enough to advise guests on local excursions and interesting sites.
In the Edwardian Hotels, owned by Radisson Blu, reportedly, guests text to take help of AI chat bot “Edward”. Edward delivers exceptional experiences to guests who prefer to interact by texting. Edward can not only deal with complaints, but it can also help guests with information on local places of interest.
Hotels in these ways can take help of disruptive technologies to enhance their service. It is the service and the experience that hotels offer matter most. This is, arguably, the most important part of the marketing mix.
What should be the price strategy for hotel industry? Low fares, discount options, special offers, and others financial freebies will always look lucrative to consumers, but competing only on the freebies may not bring success to the hotel businesses. A fair pricing strategy for hotels can be to track demand and adjust prices accordingly. There are hotel booking websites like Trivago, Orbitz, Agoda and others, which based on user queries can list hundreds of hotels instantly. What should be the digital marketing strategy for a hotel in such situation? They should ensure that they have a presence on these sites, while always keeping the price close to the demand.
How to promote hotels using digital mediums? You can use the following techniques to do your hotel’s promotion.
Search engine optimization
Try to put your best foot forward with your website. When people visit your website, they form an opinion of your business, and decide whether you are worth visiting or not? Once you have designed the right website take help of search engine optimization services to popularize the site and make it rank right at the top on SERPs. Put relevant and high-ranking keywords in the meta tag and meta description.
Try to increase your website’s authority. There appears to be some direct correlation between a website’s age and its authority. The older the website, the higher is chance of having a higher authority. Try to get recommendation from high-authority websites in the hotel sector. Generate backlinks, make other websites put link of your website on their website. Post informative blogs that describe how your hotel is different than others in your segment. It’s a good opportunity to win customers as you can tell about the features and benefits that guests can have in your hotel.
Your website should be light, high speed, and responsive. But that partly helps, unless and until your content is good, website design on its own won’t help much. Take help of Google AdWord and Google AdWord Planner to come up with good keywords. Take help of Google analytics to do a thorough research on website traffic. You can also list your business in Google My Business and other business listing sites.
Create and share online materials such as articles, blogs, videos, and even social media posts that does not openly promote your brand but implicitly stimulates interest in your services. You content should be original and should only have as many keywords as required; don’t do keyword stuffing.
Social media optimization
By doing social Media Optimization (SMO), you optimize a website so that it can be exposed online on different social media channels. Here, you do different kind of “on page” activities to refine the interface and usability of the site so that people can share it on social media. In this process, you make the website social media friendly.
Social media marketing
Make people discuss about you. Social networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others affect people’s decision. Go through a write up on travelling and lodging on Facebook and you will find that user generated comments and reviews does influence people’s decision. You can pay these websites to run an ad for you, and submit your website to social bookmarking sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, and others.
Pay per click (PPC)
Pay per click (PPC) is an internet marketing model in which advertisers pay to the hosting website every time a user clicks on their ads. Let’s try to understand this with an example, let’s say “Canon” posts an ad on “The New York Times”, now every time a user clicks on the “Canon” ad, it will have to pay the host, which is “The New York Times” in our example. You can say, in PPC you buy visits to your site, instead of generating organically.
This is the place where, in case of hotels, accommodation can be purchased. This “P” of the 4Ps of the marketing mix has undergone significant change. In the digital era, people can book hotels rooms from the comfort of their home through third-party resellers and travel agents. Offer deals to such third-party resellers and travel agents so that they promote for you. In this triad of consumer, agents and businesses, the successful marketing strategy can only be the one in which consumers feel like winner.
Try to attract as much traffic to your site as possible. Find out what your competitors are doing and leverage your unique selling points to grab guests’ attention and convince them that you can fully satisfy their needs. Aim to deliver the best, and let your work do the talking.