The buzzword at the moment is “Content Marketing” Some hotel chains are making big strides in this area. Marriott in late 2014 announced that is was launching a publishing house. It now has over 65 people dedicated to creating content for their hotels. What Marriott are not doing is creating marketing flyers or articles about how good their hotels are. No, they are producing articles and videos that their clients will find enjoyable and interesting. As a general rule, only 20% of the content you generate should be directly promoting your resort or hotel, the other 80% should be about what is going on in your destination, local restaurants that your guests might like to explore, local activities and events taking place. To give you some ideas on the type of articles they are writing, visit http://traveler.marriott.com/new-orleans/
They are even producing films, here is their latest one.
Now, most independent hotels do not have the marketing budget of Marriott, however following some simple guidelines, you can get up and running. Creating your own online magazine full of great articles, videos and photos, which all your staff can take part in is great and helps build a great team ethos. We are already seeing some hotels with bigger budgets contracting their own professional journalists to create their content. By having a person dedicated to producing professionally written articles makes sense and the tendency of the industry is moving towards this as their is a general acceptance that well written articles help your brand image.
There is neither a specific method nor any kind of rule that you need to follow when it comes to creation of content and distribution of it. So how does one know if they are producing the right content and distributing it through the right channels? The answer to that question is a little more complex, because getting the most relevant content to the correct audience at the very right time is no easy task and that too through the right channels.
So what exactly is Content Marketing? Content marketing is basically a practice of creating and distributing valuable content to attract the target audience. The practice of sharing the content in forms of text, images, videos, etc. and distribute it via websites, mobile apps, and social media channels.
Below I am breaking down the 3 most important things to keep in mind for Content Marketing.
Identifying Target Audience
Identifying the target audience for your hotel is the first step towards a successful content marketing strategy and then comes the segmentation of the target audience which is equally important. You will have to go back to the basics; you have to know what kind of travelers are choosing your hotel and for what reasons. This will help you to identify other aspects of your business, i.e. is your strength and weakness of the services you offer. Once you have identified your strengths, it becomes easier to reach your current and potential customers as you will be putting your brand’s best foot forward.
Now that we have figured out what our target audience is and what they expect, we come to the next step that is creating content. There are no fix parameters when it comes to content creation, but one needs to follow a simple rule of thumb that is to create engaging content which has a clear purpose that is to meet an organization’s goals. First, you have to identify the form in which the content will be published; today there is no limit in what form content can be published in, web pages, blogs, videos, brochures, etc. there is an immense amount of options to choose from.
But how does one know which is the right content and in which form? To be honest, you don’t and for that matter no one does either and that is perfectly fine. Initially you will have to experiment quite a bit and majority of the time it might not even connect but that’s ok. You have to remember that no one knows your products and services better than you and what worked for a different organization doesn’t necessarily will work for you and vice versa.
It is very important to make the content in the simplest form possible which can be understood by your audience as you do not want your audience to lose interest. Keep it simple, keep it relevant and keep experimenting.
This is one of the harder steps in content marketing as the way organizations communicate and distribute content keeps changing with constant evolution in technology. Given the prominent rise of social media, the consumers themselves have become content creators and publishers. So now hotels will need a combination of traditional distribution channel such as print media and a mix of website, mobile app and social media channels to engage their target audience.
Trying to make sense of all the options available today for distribution of content in different forms can be very overwhelming. The best approach is to try out as many as options as available and see which one connects the most with your target audience.
Once you have gone through the cycle, you will start getting more clear idea about your own products and services and your audience. Content marketing is the best way to build relationships with the audience and keep the growth constant for your hotel.