How the Direct-to-Consumer Marketing Shift Is a Game Changer for Hotels
With advancements in technology becoming available at break-neck speed, brands across the board are enjoying some of the greatest shifts in marketing ever seen. One such shift that we’ve seen explode in particular is the concept of direct-to-consumer marketing. Today’s marketers need to be nimble, and bypassing the middleman is helping brands to retain more control over their marketing and distribution. Some effective examples of this methodology include a wide range of retail brands such as Warby Parker, Everlane, and Casper. How does this shift apply to hotels? Let’s find out!
From billboards and commercials to OTA’s, the marketing evolution of getting rooms filled has certainly gone through many changes over the years. While those options may have had their uses, the returns have not always been as beneficial as some hotels might have hoped because, let’s face it, OTA’s are pricey. Fortunately, there are better and more effective ways to get directly in front of your customer and save on those heavy middleman fees. That’s where the direct-to-consumer movement comes into play and how it can be a game changer for your marketing department.
Direct-to-Consumer Marketing – Tools for Success
Direct-to-consumer marketing is about getting back to the basics – reaching out directly to the potential consumer. Thanks to all the various technologies that are available today, it has become easier than ever, and it is very effective. The following are some of the best ways to incorporate DTC for your hotel.
Informative Online Content
Blogs can be a fantastic way to increase your presence on the web and improve your rank in the search engines. Having a blog can also be a great way to provide interesting, usable, and fun content on the site that will get people excited about staying at the hotel. You can create many types of blog posts, such as examining some of the best features of the hotel, talking about things to do in the area, topical posts, behind the scenes posts, and more.
All companies, regardless of their size, need to have a presence on social media. Your hotel should have an account with all the major social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Post to the sites regularly, add photos and videos of your hotel, and most importantly, connect and communicate with the followers who are active on your social media pages.
Capitalize on Permission-Based Marketing
Enticing a consumer to give you their contact information is the ultimate in direct-to-consumer marketing. Not only does it build a positive relationship, it can provide you with amazing return. There are many forms of email marketing you can utilize, including triggered emails, automations, and informative newsletters. The better you can understand the goals of your customers – and provide solutions – the higher your ROI. You can send out occasional emails to those who sign up to receive them, but you never want to become overly aggressive with this or any type of marketing. Offering incentives to stay at the hotel, and letting the reader know about any events that are happening at the hotel and in the area, as with a blog, can be beneficial, too.
In-House Loyalty Programs
Seeking unique stay experiences, millennial travelers are leading a hospitality revolution. Millennials and Gen Xer’s alike are armed with more information than ever and bring an online savviness not seen in travel generations of the past. These travelers are rejecting stiff, big-box loyalty programs in favor of the dynamic and agile programs independent properties can offer.
The shift to consumer marketing can work well for many types of companies and brands, and hotels that have started utilizing the various techniques of DTC marketing have found some great benefits.
Take control of your promotions and your messaging! You can create a sense of loyalty with the consumer, as this type of marketing allows you to connect with them directly. It’s better to have them loyal to you than to a third-party promoter. DTC marketing allows you to better control the customer experience via your blogs, your social media messaging, and your newsletters. In addition, when you choose to use this type of marketing, you will have more timely and accurate data on the customers, which can help with future marketing. Ultimately, it can make your marketing far more effective.
What steps will you take to market directly to your customers?
Soccer mom, ski bunny and inbound marketing geek, Susan helps the analogged navigate the digital landscape. Social media, blogging, content offers and email marketing are her world, outside of start-up mecca and home – Boulder, Colorado. Susan is a social media junkie and you can often find her live tweeting from just about everywhere she goes.
Have a pressing digital marketing question for Susan? Contact her here.