Hotel Marketing Plan
A hotel marketing plan is your action plan to fill the rooms of your hotel. A marketing plan starts with the four Ps (Product, Promotion, Price and Place) and doesn’t neglect customer retention and key partnerships. These elements should all be specific to your hotel’s intended customers in the specific geographic area(s) in which you will operate.
Product – Your Hotel’s Services
For every hotel, the primary product offered is the same service – using a bed for a night. Beyond this foundation, there are endless possibilities. Services can include entertainment (i.e., in-room entertainment options, on-premises nightclub), food (i.e., chocolates on a pillow to a five-star restaurant), communications (i.e., high-speed wireless internet), and health (i.e., a pool, fitness center, spa). Consider whether exceptional services will be a draw for your customers or if you are better off providing a complete suite of the tried and true. Whatever you choose, present the information clearly and in just enough detail so that readers understand the level and type of service provided.
Promotion – How to Get the Word Out
Promotion is how you make your customers aware of your hotel and its unique value proposition and convert them into guests. The promotional tools you use depend entirely on the customers you seek. Instead of thinking about how other hotels seek their customers, try thinking about how the customers you want seek hotels. This method will help you identify where these users are searching for a hotel, whether in travel books, magazines, websites, or elsewhere.
Remember that the most powerful type of advertising is the kind that money cannot buy – press. Consider whether a public relations strategy can help make this happen.
Price – The Suitable Price Range for Your Hotel
Your marketing plan must show where you want your pricing to fall on the spectrum of what is available. The choice of price ties directly to your hotel’s profitability and the brand you are trying to build in customers’ minds. If you bill your hotel as extremely upscale, but the price is in the middle of the pack, customers may not believe your assertions that you are the next Ritz-Carlton. Pricing is about finding the right price to represent your hotel and cover costs, leaving room for profit.
Place – Where Your Customers & Services Meet
The place is more than the choice of location for your hotel. “Place” in this context means distribution, meaning this is the choice of how customers will book hotel rooms and receive other services you provide. This place can be through websites, travel agents, or a dedicated sales staff, each with its own cost and benefit tradeoffs.
Once in your hotel, distribution of services continues and involves both your team and your means to communicate with your guests (i.e., phone systems, TV ordering, even doorknob signs).
Most of the cost of providing service to customers is getting them to buy for the first time. To keep a customer returning should be significantly cheaper than getting a new one, so explain your retention strategy. For example, loyalty programs provide incentives for repeat visits. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can also save data on individual guests’ preferences and interests, making the return to your hotel more effortless and enjoyable.
Finally, consider how you will work with your hotel’s neighbors, local government, and other stakeholders to build the business. There may be potential for you to either get guests from or send guests to many local businesses, improving the experience for those individuals along the way. Consider just a few key partnerships that will pay off because of their importance to both parties. Don’t stretch yourself too thin by proposing to partner with every business on your street.