Engaging Your Guests and Readers: Online Marketing Tips for Hospitality Business Owners (PART 3)

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Part 1: Creating a Strong Online Presence
Part 2: Optimizing and Promoting Your Website

Engaging Your Guests and Readers

Now that you’ve set up your social media profiles and tweaked your official website, it’s time to hustle! You need to engage your followers and site visitors and you can do this by upping your online marketing game.

Online Marketing Plan for Tourism Related Businesses
Online Marketing Plan for Tourism Related Businesses photo from stocksnap.io

In the tourism and hospitality industry, you’ve got tough competition. In fact, everyone from little hostels and bed and breakfasts to big luxury hotel chains and resorts are all fighting to win over all travelers. If you can’t compete with lavish giveaways like free trips for guests, you have to get creative.

Using Social Media

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We know how important social media marketing is these days. It works best if it’s not just you that’s posting tweets or writing blogs. You need your guests to get in on the action, too. There are endless gimmicks that make use of each social media platform.

Social media communication concept
Social media communication concept photo from stocksnap.io

Start contests and giveaways on Facebook. Encourage likes and comments by giving rewards to frequent commenters of the page. Give tokens to customers who check in via FourSquare. You can even do this every time they tweet or make an Instagram post about your establishment.

Reward creative followers by offering special discounts, complementary dishes, or even a free night’s stay if they post glowing reviews, take stunning pictures, or just telling you how badly they want to try out your establishment. Don’t underestimate word of mouth. If any one of the posts your followers make goes viral, it is a boost for your business.

Remember, every time guests share a kind word about your establishment on social media, it’s as good as getting free advertising!

Befriend the Travel Bloggers

Travel and Food Bloggers are your friends. The right blogger giving you a favorable review can result into a surge of business for you, especially if you’re starting out or launching a new product or feature. All you need to do is invite them and give them the same experience your guests can expect when they come to visit.

You may want features on major newspapers and magazines, but don’t underestimate the influence of a blogger to his readership. As they write with their personality and establish connections with their readers, it’s more likely that their followers will trust them when they recommend a dish you serve or a service you provide.

Invite Travel Bloggers
Invite Travel Bloggers photo from stocksnap.io

Make sure to feature these bloggers and their blog posts on your social media pages. It’s a give and take situation where you benefit from being exposed to their readers while they benefit from being exposed to your followers. It doesn’t take much effort to post links, yet the advantages for all parties involved are ten-fold!

Online Reservation Systems

Join listing websites like Agoda.Com. Not only does this streamline your online bookings, you are also exposed to travelers who exclusively use these websites. Make it easier for potential guests to find you and book with you, and joining such sites does the trick. Having your establishment listed on such sites also makes you as trustworthy as these big booking sites.

Sign up with Agoda.com
Sign up with Agoda.com

You can also team up with voucher websites to create discounted packages that guests can purchase. Customers always appreciate a good deal and exclusive offers that not everybody else can enjoy. The more features you include for a reasonably economical price, the more customers you will attract.

If possible, partner up with nearby hotels or even tourist spots to create extensive and unique experiences your guests can purchase. What’s more, you can gain more exposure with all the cross-promotion between you and your partners. Tourists like it when the stress and tediousness of arranging travel plans are significantly minimized.

Encourage Feedback

Enlist your business on TripAdvisor and encourage each guest to give you a review. Some of them might not be favorable, but it’s better to have an honest and constructive review of your services than generic comments that don’t specify what’s unique about your business.

Set up online polls and surveys your guests can answer upon check-out. Design and write it in a way that will be fun for them to respond to. The best way you can improve is by asking people about what they thought. If you think your guests will find it tedious to answer polls and surveys, given them an incentive! Complementary services and discount vouchers go a long way and will inspire them to come back.

Embrace the Internet
Embrace the Internet photo from stocksnap.io

The rule of thumb when marketing via the internet is to always think of your audience. Every blog entry or social media post you create should always consider the benefit to your guest. When you tailor your online marketing to make it all about your visitors, then they will get the impression that you really put your patrons first.

Embrace the internet! There may be so many things to manage when it comes to online marketing, but it’s cheaper and a lot more effective than traditional marketing and advertising techniques. It’s also a lot more fun!

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