Get future guests excited through better content
You’ve verified and claimed your location/s on Google My Business. You’ve got affiliate partner programs in place with all of the right travel booking sites. You’re using industry leading software to manage online reservations and have a loyalty program to encourage repeat business. You’ve checked all of the boxes needed to get more people to check-in to your resort, right?
While there is a standardized protocol to follow for promoting resorts far too many properties lag when it comes to one key area – content marketing. Given that the industry is coming out of the most challenging time in history you need to ready the ship to accept guests when the floodgates fully open in 2021. Here’s what you need to do.
Content Marketing Tips for Resorts Who Want to Increase Occupancy Rates in a Post-Pandemic World
Promote Experiences Not Just “Things to Do”
Your enemy – Airbnb – gained another competitive advantage in 2016 when they launched Airbnb Experiences. They have positioned Experiences as distinctive activities that are designed by hosts that span beyond commonplace tours being offered by other operators in a locale. It is a smart marketing move that has been embraced by hosts and those in search of more meaningful vacations alike. In the post-pandemic world this trend is expected to grow as travelers want more than a place to stay, they want fully immersive experiences.
What Airbnb is doing is not all that different from what most resorts offer to guests from their amenities desks. It’s nothing for a guest to wander down to the lobby and put together a package with guidance from reservation staff. But when it comes to resort websites themselves, more often than not visitors only find a menu tab named “Things to Do” or “Nearby Attractions”.
Don’t leave it up to prospective visitors to figure out what to do outside of your resort. Instead, create at least a dozen packages that provide them with experiences that are unique to your area. You already partner with a variety of vendors and tour operators to make this happen – all you’re doing now is making it more official and creating a section on your website where guests can view available experiences prior to booking their stay.
Need an example? Let’s say that your region is known for its hiking trails. Under “Things To Do” you already have Hiking as one of these options. You most likely list the top trails in the area, and may even include some nice scenic photos of each. You’re off to a great start! However, you want to step things up a notch by connecting to local guides that offer hiking tours and create a “Hiking Experience” package for guests. From there, create a page on your website for the tour, and with some SEO work you can start ranking for “Hiking Tours in (your city)” in addition to traditional search terms for accommodations and vacation packages. Multiply this by as many guest experiences you can offer and you’ll have created an equal number of new pathways to your website. When added to your digital marketing plan, these new channels will lead people from Google (SEO and PPC), email, and social media straight to the relevant (to them) pages where you can incentivize reservations with better guest experiences.
Leverage User Generated Content
Your resort has its own collection of professional photos, videos, and virtual tours to showcase its best features. This content is on full display on your website, affiliate partner sites, and on your social network profiles. However, there is another and even more valuable source of content that you may not be tapping into – user generated content.
User generated content in your case includes the photos and videos taken and shared by current and past guests. Thankfully (for you) we live in an age where people share every moment of their leisure time on social media. From the moment they arrive at your property they pull out their smartphones, snap photos and film, tag your location, and share the digital content on some combination of networks including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Subject matter includes your physical property and suites, food and beverages consumed at your on-site eating establishments, and items purchased at on-site boutique shops. If they booked an activity experience (as per above) they will share content from this as well.
All of this content has tremendous digital marketing value. It attracts prospective guests who are searching for information about your resort property that is not coming from your own marketing team. Consider this – which do people trust more; guest testimonials that you have shared on your website, or reviews published on unbiased online resources such as Google or Facebook? User generated content follows the same logic. After inspecting your website, prospective guests go on to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok in search of hashtags and posts that reference your resort. They comb through the delivered content for an unfiltered look at what your resort is really like and make their booking decisions accordingly.
How can you leverage this content? You can source guest generated content by searching hashtags that are relevant to your resort and location on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Once you’ve identified quality content that showcases your resort in a fun and favorable light, engage the respective guests. In addition to liking and commenting upon their content, kindly ask them if you can repost, retweet, and share the content while giving them full credit for it. While travel influencers may want something in return (i.e. free stays, etc.) most guests will be happy to find that your reputable resort appreciates and wants to share their content.
This practice not only supplements your own content needs, it encourages current and future guests to create even more. When they see that your resort takes the time to recognize and share public content, they will generate more (i.e. take more photos), share more, and tag your location and profile more often. This effective increases the amount of online content about your resort and significantly increases your online exposure without taking on additional marketing costs.
Creating and managing the content addressed above is time consuming and resource intensive. Your new content must be integrated into a variety of campaigns for SEO, PPC, email, and social media (organic and paid). Corresponding results must then be measured and adjustments to strategies must be made based on the these metrics.
The challenge, is that you still need to focus on current booking strategies with vendors, property upkeep, and guest services as you prepare for success in the post-pandemic world. Moving forward, let a digital marketing expert carry the content marketing load. Contact Strategis Consulting Group today to discuss your goals for 2021 and beyond.