How to Choose the Best Hotel Digital Marketing Agency
Choosing the Best Hotel Digital Marketing Agency
It’s a matter of fact that the digital world is deeply integrated into our everyday lives and that the way customers are dealing with companies has changed.
Many businesses are now focusing their strategies on the customer, putting them at the heart of the message and marketing campaign.
To respond to changing expectations and the new technology that is being rolled out across the globe, companies and brands have realised that having a social media and online presence isn’t just an optional extra anymore – it’s essential.
Social Media gives you almost real-time access to your customer base, and the potential to connect with new guests globally.
The hospitality sector is one of the most highly competitive markets. If your hotel brand isn’t standing out for the right reasons, you’re going to be forgotten in favour of a competitor.
For your brand to succeed and grow you need to attract customer attention and their bookings.
So, what do you do when you’re too busy to manage your social media channels yourself, or it’s not cost-effective to take staff away from their posts to manage something they’re not trained in and don’t have the proper tools to use?
You can’t just let your social media channels languish, 9 out of 10 people research their holiday online before travelling (compareholidaymoney.com) and 51% of the travel brands on Facebook found that their direct bookings increased because of their presence on the site (Booking Factory).
Hiring the right Digital Marketing Agency, to look after your Hotel online and the best interests of your brand, gives you access to a skilled team of Professionals who will work with you to create a marketing plan that is CODED:
- Educational & Interesting
- Designed for the specific needs of your customers
Your marketing plan needs to work on different levels. It needs to connect you with your customer, leading to more enquiries and bookings; but it also must protect and build your reputation, grow your industry authority, and position your brand firmly in the consumer consciousness.
When you work with a reputable Hotel Digital Marketing Agency who align with your brand vision and values, you also have access to the tools, software and techniques that would cost you a substantial amount of money to obtain for yourself.
However, obtaining the results you want will only happen when you’re working with the right agency, one who delivers on their promises, fits the exact needs of your brand, and is willing to tell the hard truths when necessary.
As with any other major decision you make on behalf of your business, you shouldn’t rush straight into a partnership with the first firm offering their services; there are many different factors you need to consider before you sign on the dotted line.
It’s vitally important that you recognise that your digital presence is often the first interaction a customer has with your brand; it’s their introduction to who you are, what you do, and how your hotel can give them the experience that they’re looking for.
You need to make sure that the Marketing Agency you choose to work with understand just how important your digital presence and reputation are, and that they are as invested in showing the full potential of your brand as you.
If you hand over control of your online face to someone who’s going to do nothing with it, or worse (destroy your reputation), you’re going to lose customers, bookings, engagement, trust and your community.
45% say they’ve found something in an online search that made them decide not to do business with someone.
This is why it is so important to do your research and choose the right company for your needs; they are going to be responsible for representing you online. It might feel like a more cost-effective option to choose the cheapest of the cheap – but cheap is not efficient. The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is highly relevant in these circumstances.
By failing to invest in your digital presence and the correct team to manage it, you are putting your hotel at risk.
What Can a Hotel Digital Marketing Agency Actually Do For You?
Provide a Cohesive Brand Identity Across All Channels
It’s not easy to monitor and maintain every touchpoint that your consumers want to contact you through, and it’s even more difficult to maintain the same style, tone of voice and brand personality that your customers expect from your business on every platform you’re posting on.
A reputable agency will work together with you to create brand guidelines, customer personas and to establish (in line with your vision and values) a personality for your hotel that your guests can understand and emotionally bond with; this should also include the ‘voice’.
Your brand voice is the tone and style of your content; whether you’re presenting yourself as a high-class celebrity destination or a getaway for family-friendly fun, the tone of voice you use must reflect what your hotel is offering.
More than 80% of reputation damage comes from a mismatch between the ‘buzz’ and the reality.
How you and your chosen hotel marketing agency project your brand is going to have a massive influence on guests who are making their booking decisions. You cannot afford to leave your brand identity and reputation to chance.
Understand New Technology and Implement Algorithm Changes in Social Media and SEO
Social Media channels and Search Engines are constantly evolving and changing. Their internal processes (algorithms) don’t stay the same, and if you don’t have a team who can react quickly and efficiently to these changes, you’re going to be wasting your money on a strategy that doesn’t get you seen or talked about.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and the growing prominence of Google My Business is critical, and your marketing agency need to know not only the best practice for these channels, but also keep their finger on the pulse of technological updates to know what’s coming next, and what your brand will need to do to remain visible and relevant; for example – mobile first indexing.
“Google is steadily moving to a mobile-only world. Mobile-first indexing seems like the inevitable consequence of a year (or more) almost exclusively dedicated to evangelizing and forcing a change of mindset from desktop to mobile.”
You need to work with a team that understands the impact new technology (such as voice search) and algorithm changes are going to have on your strategy are going to have, and react quickly to keep your online presence relevant.
Keep Up to Date with Social Media Services Changes
In 2018, Facebook made sweeping changes to the way they indexed business pages and displayed them on customer feeds. Instead of focusing on vanity engagement (likes and shares), it became more important to have interaction and comments, they wanted to put the social back in social media.
If your marketing agency isn’t up to date with the latest service changes and aware of how customers are driving these changes, then you’re going to be wasting your budget on a strategy that doesn’t give you a maximum return on investment.
Why Having One Team Really Benefits Your Brand
You Can Better Understand the Buyer Journey
Having one team of people working together with the same guidelines, strategy and level of understanding is going to improve your understanding of your customer.
Everything that your marketing team learns can be fed back through the business to influence advertising, events, the brand image and even generate ideas for expansion or change.
They will know the upcoming trends that are going to affect your industry and will be positioned to make sure your brand is relevant and on trend, advising you on the ways you can improve your social standing and customer engagement levels.
If you’re having to collate all this information from a dozen different sources using different techniques and benchmarks, you’re not going to be seeing the complete picture, and will struggle to full understand what your customers want from you, now and in the future.
A Resource for The Skills and Expertise Required Across the Channels
A professional hotel marketing team will not only be aware of the tools and techniques needed to manage your online presence but they will also be trained and experienced in using them.
This saves you time and money, you won’t need to source tools or spend money on licenses to use the software and training your team members to use them; your marketing team will already have access and the skills needed to get started straight away.
A Skilled Team Can Execute and Implement a Harmonious Strategy in a Timely Manner
Once you have your marketing strategy and plans ready, you’re going to want to put them in place as soon as possible. If you need to spend time and money training your staff to understand your vision for the brand’s online presence, and how to use the software required you’re not going to be able to get started until they’re ready.
An experienced hotel digital marketing agency will have worked with you to create your strategies, will have a deep understanding of your brand vision and what you’re aiming to achieve, and will be able to get started on putting your strategy into action.
Crisis Management is Optimised
An unfortunate fact of life is that crisis happen, this can be online or off, but the important point that your customers are interested in is how you deal with them.
Your team may be extremely capable when it comes to dealing with an unhappy guest in person, but do they know how to act when a customer is complaining online? Do they know what they should do, when they should do it – and why they should do it?
A professional marketing team will have a full understanding of the customer experience, and be able to deliver expertly managed crisis management techniques when things occasionally go wrong.
What You Should Be Looking for in a hotel Digital Marketing Agency
- Experience in Your Industry – The more they know about what you do and how hotels function (both from your perspective and the guests’), the better they will be able to assist you.
- A Proper Understanding of Your Needs – Your brand has its own personality and unique selling points, it’s the job of the marketing agency to highlight these areas and showcase your hotel at its best.
- Flexibility and Crisis Management Procedures – Proactive and reactive approaches to crisis management will help to protect your reputation and increase your industry authority as well as consumer trust levels.
- The Proper Tools and Team for The Job – You need to work with people that share your values (business, moral and ethical) and are prepared to tie their reputation with yours. They also need to have the right software and technical understanding of the digital marketplace to promote you at your best.
- Realistic Timelines and Goal Setting – You need to work with people that are honest and up front about what you can expect, and don’t resort to black hat techniques to pad out your results. They should work with you to determine what you want to achieve, and to create realistic goalposts that will allow your brand sustainable growth.
- Proven Strategies – You need to know that the marketing agency are capable, and what they’re telling you works, and what they’re proposing is the best solution for your brand.
- Knowledge and Experience in All the Areas You Need – If a marketing agency doesn’t offer all the services you need, you might want to reconsider using them; because you’re still going to need those services and will have to go elsewhere. Streamline your costs and improve the rate at which work can proceed on your accounts by having one experienced deal with the matter.
The choice you make is going to impact your business; you want it to be a positive impact that brings you more customers, higher levels of consumer trust and recognition, and a sustainable return on your investment.
Virtual Solutions offers a full-service package to enable hotel brands to make the most of their digital presence. Our Experts are trained and highly experienced and use the latest tools and technology with a dash of creative flair and informed expertise to give your brand the marketing package it deserves.