In our recent webinar Simple, No BS Guide to Marketing for Innkeepers, we outlined the three aspects of marketing that most innkeepers struggle with:
- Not setting clear goals
- Information overload
- Lack of proper implementation, measurement, & persistence.
Today, we are going to focus on that first problem. One of the major things holding innkeepers back from implementing a successful marketing strategy is failing to set clear goals at the outset. You need to have clear goals before you can even to worry about things like website design and content, advertising, or email. Goals provide focus, a vision to work towards, and can help you stay motivated through all the ups and downs of any marketing campaign. Without establishing clear goals at the beginning, the rest of your marketing strategy may falter as a result.
Write It Down
Before you do anything, write down your goals and everything that you can do to achieve them. And yes, we mean break out the pencil and paper and actually writing something down (or type them into the notes on your iPhone or a Word Document.) What matters is putting your ideas into words and seeing the list as something tangible and attainable. Your goals may be:
- Book more guests
- Generate more positive reviews
- Attract more repeat guests (or improve your customer relationship management)
- Reduce costs
- Lessen your workload or find new ways to save time (through automation, hiring skilled employees, ect.)
For busy innkeepers, writing a list of your goals can help give you clarity about what exactly it is you want to achieve and how you can go about doing it. Download our Marketing Goals Worksheet for a clear & easy way to record and track your goals. If anything, the Marketing Goals Worksheet will at least get you to write something down. Have we stressed that enough?
Do Some Research
In order to effectively evaluate and improve your marketing, you need to know exactly who it is your are marketing too. To help you define your ideal guest, download our Guest Persona Template. This will help you identify your target audience and design an effective marketing strategy that will attract them to your property. “Book more guests” is a good goal, but we’d like you to get a little specific. What type of guests do you want to attract? What type of guests do you already attract? Is your property popular with business travelers, retired couples, families, budget travelers, wine lovers? Knowing the answer to these questions affects everything about your marketing, down to the font you use on your website. And we promise, that is not an exaggeration. Those little details matter.
Take a moment to really think about exactly who your guests are and what it is they want from their stay at your property. What are the demographics of your target audience? Take into account their:
- Age range
- Travel Needs
It also might be helpful to do a little research on how your target demographic does their research. Do they research through guidebooks, social media, online directories, word of mouth? Likely it is a mix between all of the above, but understanding the travel customer journey will help you better target your desired guests in the dreaming and research stages prior to making a booking.
This stage of your marketing is going to involve a lot of thinking and soul-searching about what you want and what your guests want. However, setting clear goals and understanding how you can go about achieving them is the only real way to start your marketing on a strong foot. It’s simple: you can’t reach your marketing goals if you don’t set them first. Once you have set your goals, then you can move on to bigger & flashier things like direct marketing & advertising, analytics, and building relationships what will encourage repeat guests. But first things first: break out that pencil and start writing!
For more tips & tricks on creating a strong marketing strategy, watch our Simple, No BS Guide to Marketing for Innkeepers webinar on demand!