It's 2019 and in order to be successful, businesses have to be online, whether they like it or not. Online presence is a vital point for everyone, including hotels. And guess what, having a website is not enough anymore. Though a website is the first step towards being relevant today, it takes more effort than just setting up a landing page with a gallery and a price list.
A website alone cannot market your hotel. However, a blog can do that. And today, we are going to teach you how to properly manage your blog, how to write compelling and efficient posts, and how to deliver them to your audience.
Speaking of target audiences, what is yours? Who do you write for? Who is going to read your articles? Without knowing the answers to these questions, you shouldn't start writing in the first place. Before opening a blank page, try to figure out who is your post aimed at. Business trip travelers? Digital nomads? Nature lovers? Who exactly would benefit from your piece?
In order to determine what your target audience is, think of at least two things. Start off with the people who are already staying at your place. What do they look like – are they families, are they solo travelers, are they just passengers passing by accident? What does your average guest look like? It's what marketers call a buyer persona. You should create your buyer persona and build your marketing plans and goals around it.
Once you've defined your target audience it would be much easier to start writing. Not only that, but a clear target audience/buyer persona (note that a target audience and a buyer persona have many things in common but they are still different concepts) will help you generate fresh content ideas in the long run. Furthermore, you will have clear goals aiming for.
Let me ask you something – why do you want to start a blog? Do you have a clear idea what its purpose would be or you've just heard that blogging is good for your business? You should know why you write. When executed the right way, blogging can boost your hotel on many levels – SEO, online reputation, positive reviews, more reservations, etc.
When we say “the right way” we mean that all of your blog posts should be valuable (providing valuable information to the readers), helpful (they should solve a problem), enjoyable (easy to read), and efficient (they should help you achieve your business goals).
You see, you don't know whether your blog is efficient when you don't know what your goals are. And when you don't have goals, your writing becomes blatant and dull. And nobody eats poor content.
Let's give an example of a clear goal – you want to attract more visitors for the next summer through blogging. The topic about goal setting is enormous and we won't cover it in this article. Just pay attention to this – every goal should be a SMART one (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based).
Once you have a goal (or goals) it is time to set a plan on how to execute it. In this case, it will be through blogging.
You know your target audience, you know what your goals are. Now it's time to start working. To make it easier, we will observe the following scenario – you want to attract more private guests (those are the people going on a holiday, not business travelers) for next season. In an effort to do that, you've decided to launch a series of blog posts promoting both your hotel and the area around you.
But what does that mean exactly? Let's say your hotel is located on the shore of a picturesque lake in the Alps. We bet there is a lot you can say about your surroundings. In different blog posts, you can tell the story of your town (or the nearest towns). When guests come to your hotel what else can they visit? Tell them what's in town – any museums, any archaeological sites, are there any upcoming festivals or events that are worth attending?
In fact, you can create an endless number of fresh content ideas, which are not openly promoting your hotel. Tell your readers about the places nearby – it could be caves, hiking trails, bike parks, zoos, cultural sites, opportunities for extreme sports such as paragliding, diving, and climbing or even regular activities such as cycling, mountain biking, fishing or going to beautiful picnic sites.
You can break down any of these ideas into separate blog posts. Now take notes – the idea is not to promote your hotel solely. Your goal is to make your area look attractive. Once readers know how they can spend their time at your hotel, they will be way more likely to book a room. Describe every place in details, tell its story, help people with directions, tell them what they need to bring with them if there are any fees for visiting a particular site, share this information as well.
Of course, take the time to say some good words for your hotel as well. Just make sure your post is not entirely promotional. However, if you discuss the diving opportunities in your area, don't fail to mention that you have all the necessary diving equipment at your hotel. This will show your readers that you don't only know what's going around but you're also willing to help your guests experience your area in full.
Call to Action or (CTA) is a button or phrase, usually at the end of the article, pushing readers to do a certain task. In your case, it could be a BOOK NOW button or something like “Book your room now and see what else [insert town name] has to offer!”
When you have a clear CTA you can track how many people click on it and how many of these clicks actually turned into reservations. In short, this is how you measure efficiency. If no one clicks on your CTA then either your copy is bad or your CTA is not clear enough. If it is the latter, we encourage you to run A/B test and see whether a button CTA or a phrase CTA performs better.
You might have crafted the most compelling article but what's the point if nobody sees it? Writing a blog post is one thing but promoting it is an art of its own. If you are just getting into content marketing, chances are you'd like to spend money on paid promotion such as Facebook Ads or Google AdWords. However, we advise you not to do that.
Before you go for paid marketing it is advisable you make sure you already have at least a Facebook page. Publish your newly-written content on Facebook and see how people interact with it. Track user behavior to see whether your article is doing the job it is supposed to do. If you like the results, then you can start off with one or two sponsored posts on Facebook and search engine marketing.
If possible, try to get your articles featured on recognized travel-related magazines and websites. Make sure these media sources cite you back as the original publisher. This is a great way to boost your SEO by acquiring links and your overall authority.
We didn't mean to make this post sophisticated so we'll stop here. Experiment with your blog and share your results with us. In the meantime, you can try Roombre and enjoy its magic.