111 Hotel Marketing Ideas for 2011.
By Josiah Mackenzie
Thursday, 6th January 2011
As has become my tradition at the end of each year and beginning of a new one, here's my summary of 111 marketing ideas to consider as we enter 2011.

Planning & strategy
  • The #1 purpose of marketing is retaining your customers. Focus on that before pursuing new markets.
  • Read The Concierge Approach to Content Marketing
  • Why you? Why now?
  • Personalization is a growing trend - use it wherever you can
  • Make a stop-doing list
  • Make sure you're signed up for fresh new ideas from me each week (if you haven't already)
  • Talent is everything. Spend all you can (and then some) recruiting, retaining, rewarding the best people.
  • Do you have a list of allstars you want to hire? Always be casting. (Good Seth Godin post)
  • Recruit from clubs
  • Offer new hires $2,000 to quit before they begin
  • Are you prepared to let 75% of your new initiatives fail?
  • "The most important trait for innovation today isn't creativity, but curiosity." – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Consistency is everything
  • We're all stock traders now
  • Post a list of customer suggestions in action
  • Read Peak by Chip Conley
Social Media
  • Appoint a social media ambassador to "own" your efforts in this area
  • When building your social media team, include person from every department: management, marketing, PR, product development, customer service, etc. ""Employees can take brand message, localize it, and put their personality behind it." – Claire Elias/STA Travel
  • Read my free report – Beyond Account Setup: 29 Ways to Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
  • Don't try to buy social media fans. Avoid the "campaign" mindset, and understand that forming the relationships for a great online community will take years.
  • The one-line recipe for success in social media: An inside story from a real person that loves what they do
  • Turn guests into content producers
  • Turn your loyal fans into celebrities
  • Put a Flip camera on every property
  • Make sure to have a human identity behind your corporate social media profile
  • Don't outsource Twitter
  • Retweet your own important content (people could miss it otherwise)
  • Try using Twitter to collect testimonials. Save positive tweet mentions as favorites you can refer back to.
  • Use TwitterSheep to find what your followers care about
  • Create a Twitter background with contact/sales information
  • You don't always have to make sales offers in social media to make a lot of money – go 0ff-topic every once in a while
  • Try some of these Facebook plugins from Involver
  • Think twice about advertising your Facebook page URL – it only builds their brand, makes you even more reliant on them. Instead, send traffic to a landing page hosted on your site.
  • Get creative in the way you share photos on Facebook
  • Used LinkedIn to generate sales leads
  • If you're opening a new hotel, consider using a Flickr group to build pre-opening buzz
  • Social media is the richest focus group that ever existed
  • Learn from Fairmont and have social media followers create your next promotional package
  • Social ROI is from insights, not necessarily sales
  • Google and Bing have confirmed that Twitter/Facebook postings do help with search engine placements
  • Understand the basics of social CRM
  • Start observing the best hotels on Facebook, like Joie de Vivre
  • Start following the best hotels on Twitter, like @FairmontHotels @Kimpton @ApexHotels
  • Learn from Fierro Hotel on how to use Tumblr: InsideBuenosAires.com and WeLoveFierro.com
  • Don't celebrate the launch
  • Be compatible with Google's Instant Previews
  • Build content through partnerships
  • Buy a .TV domain name and create a video channel there
  • Look at these 15 well-designed websites – and see why they work so well
  • Try optimizing landing pages around ‘who' you know, not ‘what' you know. (Including connections from networks like Facebook gives a personal connection to the company.)
  • Drive traffic by reaching out to past guests
  • Make sure you do 3 things in 3 seconds: 1) load the page quickly 2) Visually WOW them 3) Get them involved
  • Use this checklist of 43 questions if you're going through a re-design
  • Take advantage of "white hot" online touch points when asking for action
  • Use video creatively throughout the revenue cycle
  • Think about using travel webcams like Starwood is doing with RoomWithAView.com
  • Search optimization is more important than ever, but the rules have changed. Learn and adapt.
  • Know how Google instant affects your marketing
  • Use live chat on your website to close more sales
  • Maintain consistency (in everything) across all booking channels
  • Encourage direct bookings by verifying website security, offering multiple language and currency support
  • Read Speak Human by Eric Karjaluoto
  • Create a mobile-friendly website to avoid platform issues
  • Know that 81% (to 19%) prefer mobile websites to mobile apps for researching products and prices (eMarketer 2010 survey)
  • Make sure you don't run a mobile ad, and then send traffic to a page on your site that's not mobile-friendly
  • Use QR codes to bridge the online/offline gap (Example from Tailor Made Hotel)
  • 4 important things to do with mobile for customers: learn, recognize, reward and personalize
  • You're not going to succeed in mobile on your first try. Experiment now – learn by doing.
  • A big opportunity for mobile is rewarding loyalty.
  • Look at TopGuest
  • Creating great mobile experiences requires you to get out in the world and interact with your environment. Don't design in a cubicle.
Reputation Management
  • Tracking online reputation should not just be aggregating reviews. Use a tool that gives you insight into trends and patterns.
  • I recommend you start using ReviewPro (Why I am)
  • Begin tying online reputation to your staff bonuses
  • Know that 86% of consumers are using reviews as a deciding factor in their purchasing decision
  • An unhappy customer used to tell 3 people, now they tell 3 million. This highlights the importance of quickly catching and resolving issues.
  • On the brighter side, the majority – two-thirds, actually – of online reviews are positive [research from Keller Fay Group]
  • Increase customer confidence by monitoring, collecting, and re-publishing positive reviews
  • Monitoring for online mentions sometimes provides you with some great promotional material
  • Write better post-stay "thank you" emails to encourage online reviews
  • Get creative in how you ask for reviews. Like a banner on your WiFi network login page.
  • "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you will do things differently." – Warren Buffett
  • Run a brand ambassador campaign in social media (Mashable examples)
  • Let a customer write your next ad
  • Experiment with strong risk-reversal messages in your copy
  • Embrace behavioral ad targeting in PPC and elsewhere
  • Banner ads are quickly evolving
  • Partner with websites that attract people already decided to visit your destination
  • Barter unsold rooms for advertising
  • Social media use has not replaced email for sales (Just look at Groupon)
  • Make sure to use good landing pages
  • Add some security indicators (like a sample email screenshot) to increase email subscription rates
  • Segment your email list by personas (not just purchase history)
  • Build a preferences center to help subscribers receive more relevant emails
  • Permission isn't forever
  • Customer service is the new marketing
  • Understand the "Brand Butler" trend
  • Ask your guests if they would recommend you to a friend
  • Create a buying experience centered around the customer
  • Re-think your guest check-in process
  • Real-time responses are crucial on the social web. Have systems and processes to deliver timely information and support to your guests.
  • Try a service like CoTweet to share support responsibilities among staf
  • Read Experience Economy by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore
Amenities & Technology
  • A poor hotel Wi-Fi experience influences 36 percent of business travelers on whether they re-book that specific hotel in the future [more research on hotel WiFi]
  • iPads are the #1 most-wanted tech amenity guests want from a hotel [USA Today poll]
  • Consider virtual meeting technology as a way to profit from lower business travel volume
Press & Media
  • Send out social media news releases
  • Try PitchEngine – a social media PR builder
  • Start offering more unique hotel amenities that get people talking
  • Listen to the PR 2.0 chat
Measurement & Analytics

  • Understand travel booking isn't usually a linear process
  • Learn how Barbara Pezzi improves her marketing with analytics segmentation
  • Run these 10 reports in Google Analytics
  • Social media should shorten your sales cycle. Watch your number of sales leads, cost per lead, sales closing ratio, channel conversion rate, and time to closing to measure improvement.
For over 1,000 hotel marketing ideas and strategies for implementing these concepts, I encourage you to get the Savvy Hotelier's Guide to Hotel Marketing Ideas: www.hotelmarketingstrategies.com/hotel-marketing-ideas-guide

If you found this list helpful, please share it with your colleagues via email or through Twitter. Thanks!


About the author
This blog is written by Josiah Mackenzie, who enjoys exploring the relationship between emerging technology and the hospitality industry. 

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