Tactics to avoid when marketing in the accommodation sector

Marketing in any industry can be difficult, but how do you promote your business specifically in the accommodation sector?

If you run a hotel, B&B or other accommodation resort, you need to ensure that you launch and manage a marketing campaign that promotes your brand in the best possible way, showing current and potential guests why they should choose your venue over the rest.


But this is easier said than done. To help, this guide will show you which marketing pitfalls you must dodge and why to ensure your next advertising strategy delivers the best possible ROI.


Opting for low-quality or no imagery

When it’s time to launch your next marketing campaign to advertise your venue, imagery is essential to attracting new and existing customers. How many times have you seen a brochure or email ad for a hotel or B&B that didn’t include at least one or two attractive photos?


Consumers in this sector expect to see where they will be staying. In fact, according to a report created by digital agency, Bright North, poor image quality reduces the chance that a potential customer will choose you over your competitors. The term: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ was apparently coined by Frederick R. Barnard and is something anyone marketing within the accommodation industry should bear in mind. Before booking, consumers want to be assured that the modern bathroom and spacious living space you claim your venue offers is true — so don’t ruin the illusion and turn consumers away by placing an image with a poor resolution on your brochure, leaflets and outdoor banners. Or even worse, not providing a photo at all.


Falling behind on brochure marketing

Despite the rise in digital marketing, many consumers often still associate brochures with the hospitality and accommodation sector — and it seems that those working in the industry also prefer this method of advertising. According to a survey of 1,560 hospitality professionals conducted by the Center for Marketing Technology (CMT), 98% of front desk staff would choose printed media and 94% of hotels deliver information to guests via a brochure display.


And it appears that consumers feel just as positively about print marketing. According to an experiment by TrueImpact, customers use less mental effort to process a printed ad as opposed to a digital one, and they are able to remember print more easily after seeing it than digital. Evidently, brochure and this industry go hand in hand — so don’t miss your opportunity to advertise your establishment by not investing in a brochure marketing campaign.


Creating ads with uninspiring language

How we write and speak in advertising is crucial, and many students even take degrees in the field of marketing and language. So, don’t rush into writing a promotional leaflet or other type of ad without taking time to consider every word you’re using.


Like holidays, spending a weekend as a guest somewhere is an enjoyable, almost luxury experience that people want to look forward to. That means you must use language that embodies and emphasises this level of excitement. Words like: ‘entertaining’, ‘delicious’, ‘wonderful’, ‘relaxing’, ‘luxurious’, and ‘beautiful’ to describe rooms and facilities are great options. Although you mustn’t pack your marketing material with too much text. Instead, peppering your content with favourable and engaging words can make the difference between enticing your potential customer and losing their interest.


Missing out on branded products

Is your venue investing in promotional items, such as pens, mugs and bathrobes? According to a survey, 80% of people can recall a brand after receiving a promotional product, while 58% of people keep a promotional product for one to over four years. If you want to encourage repeat custom, perhaps this marketing tactic is one you should adopt today.


Offering your guests branded products shows that you care about, and are proud of, your company and the services it provides. L.J Market Research found that over 50% of people in a survey eventually became a customer of a brand after receiving a promotional product from them — can you afford to miss out on this opportunity? Consider ordering a batch of promotional items that you can hand out at trade shows or that people could use in public to enhance your marketing ROI.


Not considering online review platforms

If you’re in the hospitality and accommodation industry, you’ll probably know how influential online review sites are when it comes to marketing. According to statistics, there are around 455 million unique visitors and a million hotels on TripAdvisor — that’s a huge pool of potential customers that can read a single bad review and be dissuaded from choosing your business.


But how do you maintain a positive presence on sites like TripAdvisor? A great way to keep negative opinions off global, independent review sites is to be savvy with your social media activity. If you have a disgruntled customer, it’s likely that they want a response to their issue and will initially choose your company’s Facebook or Twitter account to communicate with you directly. If you receive a complaint — either via a tweet, a tag or a message — respond to it as quickly as possible.


According to social media and customer services expert, Jay Baers: “A lack of response is a response. It’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care about you very much’.”


The longer you leave a complaint, the more annoyed your unhappy customer will become and the more likely it will be that they’ll choose to upload a bad review on an independent site for others to see. Theoretically, that means not only will all your brand’s social media followers see the complaint, but also potential customers who may be browsing independent review sites for future accommodation options.


Concentrating on only online or only offline marketing methods

In the accommodation industry, you’re missing a trick if you don’t make the most of all your marketing options. Being active on social media will help you to get your brand out there and build a rapport with customers. SUMO Heavy Industries — a digital strategy and design company — found that 72% of people use social media daily. On Facebook and Twitter, you can send instant replies to existing and potential customers, which could prove essential in order to secure a second or first-time booking, while theses channels also give you the opportunity to send immediate updates on special offers or photos of new rooms and services you’re now offering.


However, print is also massively influential and should certainly not be overlooked. When marketing in this sector, the look of a place or guestroom can make or break your campaign, and with print, your audience can enjoy an attractive image that sells your brand and doesn’t go away by scrolling down. A university study discovered that, when comparing the efficiency of online and print adverts, the print format proved to have the most ‘advertising effectiveness’. This study took into account how much a person spent looking at the ad, how much information they took from it and how likely they were to buy (or book). Still not convinced? According to a survey of 2,400 consumers, 82% of people trust print ads, while only 25% said the same for online pop-ups — so perhaps it’s worth balancing out your marketing strategy if you’re currently focusing on digital platforms.


In the accommodation sector, marketing is key to promoting your venue, attracting new customers and retaining their loyalty. Just make sure to avoid the pitfalls stated above in your next campaign.