3 easy online campaigns for your boutique hotel.

For me, the difference between a boutique hotel and a large brand hotel is the personalisation of service. Whilst the big corporate chains try to mimic a personal experience, it’s a tough job when your a 400+ key hotel, in a 400 hotel chain. When I check into a big brand hotel and the front desk “Welcome me back”, I know this is merely a screen prompt they are ordered to repeat.

During the last 8 years of my career, I have stayed in more hotels than I could put a number on – from a deluxe 5-star in Knightsbridge, to a safari tent in Zambia (a posh tent with electricity and air conditioning). During my travels and countless meetings with hotel owners and General Managers, I started to develop ideas based around the unique and personalised services that boutique hotels strive to deliver.

What would happen if we took this personalised approach to digital platforms?

Here are 3 beautifully simple ideas that will both amplify your brand, and encourage repeat business.

  1. The Happy Birthday email for previous customers. Firstly, if the guest stayed with you once, 6 years ago, it’ll seem a little odd for you to email them out of the blue. Lets start with people who have checked out within the last 8-10 months. If you are already doing this with a generic html template, pushed out in an automated email blast – stop it immediately. It looks spammy and gross. How about creating a few different templates that are generic enough to seem personalised – from the GM and all the staff… The key to this yielding success is a strong call to action – why not offer them a complimentary birthday meal for two and a bottle of wine with their next booking? They must book with you directly via your website or phone quoting the reference “Go shorty, it’s ma’birthday” (or whatever seems appropriate to you).
  2. Honeymooners and Anniversaries – Facebook’s ad manager enables you to launch both short term and ongoing campaigns aimed at life events. Why not target couples who are recently engaged, or with up and coming anniversaries? Create some different ad sets (aimed at local, regional and international audiences) with images you feel do your hotel justice. Don’t forget the CTA (Call to Action). Put together an exclusive package for couples looking to celebrate and make some social noise about it.  Try to tell the story of what they can expect from their stay with you before they click the “Book Now” button.
  3. First family holiday with a baby. I came up with this idea after a close friend had her first baby. In those early months after Finley was born, travel for something as luxurious as a mini-vacation was unthinkable! The sheer logistics of leaving the house for any reason were daunting. Once again, Facebook enables you to launch campaigns aimed at parents with babies and toddlers. I ran a “First Family Holiday” campaign for a client that yielded a healthy amount of engagement and web traffic. We created a simple carousel ad with images showcasing a Deluxe room, beautifully made up with a crib and a huge pile of clean fluffy towels in the corner. Create a package for parents with young children, upon check-in, give them an “In case of Emergency” kit with baby wipes, tissues, chocolate treats and other practical items.

If you would like to learn of more creative campaign ideas, or if your existing campaigns aren’t yielding the desired results – feel free to contact me by filling in the below form.

4 Scenarios where you need a digital consultant for your hotel or travel business.

When Pinocchio came to life, he found himself lost in a new and complicated World. His inexperience lead him to deal with a host of unsavory characters and scary situations. Luckily for Pinocchio, he had Jiminy Cricket to help him along the way.

Some of you may find yourselves lost in the World of digital marketing. Your own inexperience (and best intentions) can leave you flustered and demotivated if your hard work doesn’t yield results. In times like these, you could use your own Jiminy Cricket to steer you back on the right path.

Here are some scenarios where you should consider using a professional digital consultant to act as your compass!!

  • You are about to partner with a web or digital agency – Your first touch with a digital agency is usually a sales consultant. Whilst there are a lot of great sales people and agencies within the marketing industry, there are also a lot of cowboys who will shape your requirements around their own limited delivery capabilities. Before signing the dotted line and investing significant amounts of time and money with a digital marketing or web agency, speak to a consultant to who can offer you honest and independent advice. Ask your digital consultant to review the proposals, use his or her network to get some insider feedback about the potential partners you have shortlisted.
  • Your existing digital agency isn’t performing – So, you skipped the first scenario and went lone wolf. Using your best judgement, you have signed up to a digital agency or freelancer. The partnership started off great, but 3 months have passed and you have yet to yield any tangible results. It might be worth getting an independent consultant to audit what your agency are doing and ensure you are getting value for money.
  • You handle your marketing in-house and feel overloaded and lost – Honestly it can be a tough job managing your own social. Trying to remain creative within the same hotel / restaurant / destination environment can be exhausting. At first it was just Facebook… Then Instagram… Then you activated twitter… Add in Snapchat and Pinterest… Then Instagram Stories…What about Linkedin? How to you create unique and interesting content for all platforms when you are just one person trying to run a business?! Sometimes you need a 3rd party to come along and steer your ship back on course. First piece of friendly advice: You don’t need to be in ALL places, just the right places.
  • Honest and Independent feedback – Whilst in the early days, asking your friends and family that they thought of your website or Facebook page provided you with enough encouragement to reassure yourself you were doing a good job. However, quite often your friend and family are both too nice and wholly inexperienced in the art of digital marketing. A Digital Consultant’s job isn’t to rubbish your current efforts, or tell you to go out invest in a $500 SLR camera to take better images. They should enable you to make the most out of the current assets you have.

If you think you may need to speak to a digital consultant – contact me today by filling in the below form