Marketing Partnerships – make them work for you
Today marketing is an ever-changing skill, with new technologies appearing each week, and impending new regulations forcing changes to the way we work.
In the early 90s, there was a huge shift in focus, with traditional marketing techniques being forced into lower significance with the rise of digital marketing. In 1990 the first search engine was launched (anybody remember “Archie”?), in 1998 Google was born, Facebook went live in 2004, the iPhone was launched in 2007, and in 2016 mobile overtook PC for worldwide internet usage. This change, although significant, still welcomed the fact that people wanted to be marketed to, just in a faster, more effective, more modern way.
What we’re experiencing today is that people no longer want to be marketed to at all: We fast-forward through television commercials; we delete more emails than we read, and we complain about the amount of adverts on Facebook. Hence the importance of Relationship Marketing: The requirement to form long-term relationships with customers, rather than focussing on a one-time sale. This means that we need to get even more clever with our marketing.
If you ask Google how best to optimise your website in one word, they would answer, “brand”, and this is now true in all areas of your marketing strategy. The best way to promote your brand is through consistency: Don’t be cheeky and chatty on Facebook if you’re formal and conservative on your own website, it will confuse the reader, and make them lose confidence in your brand.
One great way to reinforce your product is by gaining endorsements from complementary trusted brands. There are many options out there, from OTAs (which every hotelier loves-to-hate), to social networking (which many hotels do oh so badly), review sites (a challenge at times), or third party referral websites.
The key is to make these partnerships work for you, not the other way around. OTAs will get your hotel in front of more people that you are likely to achieve on your own, so use this to your advantage. Many people that visit your listing on the likes of Booking.com subsequently visit your own website, so make your site as engaging, user friendly, and as well priced as you can, so that the user doesn’t have to go back to Booking.com, giving them 15%+ of what is rightfully yours.
Third party referral websites are a brilliant way to align your brand with similar quality hotels, whilst also giving the user the ability to shop around all from one place. Similar to the OTAs, a hotel marketing website will welcome many more visitors to their site than you get to yours, but the very best thing is that when that visitor has made their decision, they are referred to your own website for you to convert into a commission free booking, complete with an email address for potential future marketing activity – two great benefits that an OTA will not replicate.
When choosing a third party to partner with, make sure that they’re working for you. Your membership fee will usually cover a huge amount of marketing to help them generate the vast amounts of traffic that they can send to your website, but make sure that that their marketing techniques work in conjunction with, not in contradiction to, your own.
Some sites will proudly claim to invest funds into Pay-Per-Click, but what this actually means is that they’re (a) stealing your organic traffic, and (b) pushing the price up for your own PPC activity.
Best Loved is a hotel consortia with over 20 years of experience working with Independent hotels throughout the UK, and the majority of the team is made up of marketing professionals who really know what goes on “behind the scenes” in a hotel.
As we said at the beginning of this article, marketing has become an ever-changing skill, getting more complex as time goes on. With so many opportunities out there it can be difficult to choose the one for you; especially when something that appears to be working for you is actually doing the opposite. If you want any advice on your marketing strategy, or if you have liked what you’ve read and think that we’d be a great partner who’ll work for you – then please get in touch with us at here at Best Loved, firstname.lastname@example.org.