How to Effectively Use Outdoor Marketing. By Brent Derbecker ~ Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends Monday, 7th July 2014
Exclusive Feature: In order for your hotel to thrive, you have to make effective and efficient use of marketing — and that means all forms of marketing;
While it’s true that some hotels and inns have achieved success based purely on word-of-mouth advertising, they are the exception to the rule.
That’s why most hospitality professionals understand the importance of using a diverse marketing plan that includes online advertising, print campaigns, TV campaigns, direct mail and other formats.
So why, despite recognizing the value of a multi-pronged marketing campaign, do so few hotel owners and managers take full advantage of outdoor marketing? Can you relate? The thing is, whether or not you’ve realized it, even in a world filled with new media, outdoor marketing can still be highly effective. If you ignore it, you’re missing opportunities to get the word out about your establishment.
Consider this: A 2010 study showed that out-of-home advertising campaigns increased brand awareness and directly affected sales. What this means is that you can use posters, storefront logos, billboards, car decals and even electronic message boards to improve your hotel's visibility. And when you are doing so, here are key strategies that can help.
Many marketing experts believe you should not exceed six words when crafting your outdoor advertisements. People don't have time to read thoughtful treatises on your hotel when they're trying to get to work. In fact, they rarely have that kind of time at all. They need a quick pitch.
There's a reason why Twitter generated almost-instant success, after all. When creating your billboards and other outdoor campaigns, distill your message into as few words as possible while retaining your core meaning.
Use Your Storefront
Before you spend money on billboards and bumper stickers, make sure you're taking full advantage of your hotel lobby (i.e., storefront).
Many hotel managers forget how effective onsite advertising can be when it comes to increasing their appeal. Post about events and promotions in the windows. Create an attractive sign that will do more than just identify your hotel’s name. Use outside-the-box ideas such as commercial umbrellas to maximize your outdoor advertising possibilities. The more unique and unusual your marketing, the better your chances are of attracting new customers.
Speaking of unusual, what have you done in the way of guerrilla marketing? Too many innkeepers and hotel professionals are afraid to make waves with their advertising. But listen, you don't need to violate city laws to incorporate the power of guerrilla marketing; you just need to bend the rules a bit if you want to attract the most attention.
Look at what Cartoon Network achieved when they planted little robots around several American cities to promote their Aqua Team Hunger Force movie. Yes, it created a minor national security panic, but it also got news outlets worldwide talking about their movie for free! How could you apply this idea to your hotel?
Retain Your Branding
The importance of consistent branding cannot be overstated. What would you think if you saw a McDonald's ad that used blue and green colors instead of the familiar red and yellow? McDonald's is ubiquitous enough to get away with something like that, but you'll notice that they never try it.
Why? Because branding consistency is an important part of customer psychology. In all of your outdoor marketing, use the essential components of your developed hotel brand. This includes colors, specific phrases, your name and anything else that you have identified as part of your establishment’s image.
Creativity is at the heart of any good advertising campaign. Your messages should be creative, but your decisions about how to advertise should be just as original. Are potential guests in your city going to sit up and take notice of yet another ad stretched across the public bus?
There's nothing wrong with using traditional, established forms of marketing, but occasionally you may have to leave your comfort zone if you want to make a big splash. People get used to seeing the same old things. Go outside the norm with options such as bicycle advertising, stickers, skywriting, inflatable movie screens and more.
About the author: Brent Derbecker is the National Sales Manager of Skyspan Structures (www.skyspanstructures.com), a shade division of Superior Recreational Products headquartered in Carrollton, GA. Skyspan Structures is an industry leader in the design, manufacturing, and installation of commercial, wind-tested umbrellas and shade structures. We’re proud to offer custom options for your specific needs.
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