A question for you: is your hotel the main reason for guests to be visiting your area? Perhaps you have a spa and run relaxation weekends. Maybe you host major events. It would be nice to think that your venue is the epicentre of your guests' weekend, but for many, it's probably more a matter of convenience.
This is why destination marketing is important.
Outside the swooshing doors of your lobby lies a town or a city worth visiting, and to help you sell rooms, it makes sense to highlight this to potential guests. Here are 3 reasons to make your surrounding area the focus of your marketing.
Destination marketing creates local partnerships
Your area probably contains a rich environment of activities and facilities. Is there a local museum, or art gallery, that is open to the public? For the more rural locations, perhaps there are local walks and parks that are worth traipsing around, or local produce that can only be bought from your area. If that's the case, tell everyone and demonstrate the pride you have for your community!
On the face of it, this might seem like you're giving other businesses and attractions column inches for nothing. However, by bringing the culture of your area into your doors, you're actually creating invaluable partnerships. For instance, that venue down the road hosting the Sheryl Crow concert might have space for you on their website, and local suppliers might be inclined to recommend you in their own marketing materials.
Let your destination marketing strategy be the leader in a small community that strives to increase profitability, together.
Let PPC drive traffic to your website
It's always tricky looking for the right keywords for your search engine optimisation and Google advertising. As a hotel, there's probably many search variations and keywords that you're already bidding for, but do you have a specific keyword group created with your local area in mind?
If you aren't using pay-per-click (PPC) as a channel, it's still worth considering doing so just for your local area, because someone's "booking a trip to Northampton" Google search might drive traffic to your website. For whatever reason they're in your area, your facilities and comfortable beds might just be the thing they need to complete their visit.
As long as your landing page is relevant, and your website up-to-date, there's a higher chance they will convert. Sure, on your website sits all of your promotions and those tempting photos of clean sheets and succulent breakfast muffins, but if you add some locality to your PPC strategy, destination marketing may bring a fair few additional guests through your doors.
Build relationships with your guests
Every hotel is always looking for that opportunity; to create a memorable moment perhaps, or to deepen the relationship with their guests. A cynic might suggest that this is only for a cheeky upsell, while others will recognise that a memorable stay encourages loyalty.
By being knowledgable about your local area you'll build trust with your guests. Recommending another business isn't sending someone to the competition - it's building a rapport and demonstrating that you're more interested in their break. So, don't be afraid to suggest they take lunch at a specific café; the guest response to a good suggestion for what to do while staying at your hotel could lead to greater loyalty with your brand - and that's a very good thing indeed.
We would all like our business to be the focus of any marketing campaign - it's natural. We're a competitive species that's territorially motivated and passionately protective of our businesses. However, the reality is that for many people, your hotel is perfectly located for a good night's sleep, and that location may just be the key to getting more people through your door.
So, what's going on in your area that we should know about?