Luxury Hotel And Resort Marketing Strategies For The Era Of COVID-19
Luxury resort marketing is any of the various marketing strategies used by the hotel and resort industry to promote their properties and increase consumer interest. A well developed plan will be designed to appeal to the varied tastes of potential visitors, and do so on a variety of platforms. Aside from traditional in-person marketing, luxury hotel marketing strategies must have a strong digital focus. The right plan will help a resort rise above the competition and stand out to potential visitors.
For 2021, there is an added challenge for hotels and resorts in the form of COVID-19. This global pandemic has changed the ways people work and travel. This means that the hotel industry must find new ways to attract guests while also keeping them safe. Adjusting to the challenges the pandemic will be a key to success in 2021. The way people travel and vacation has made a big shift, with more choosing to vacation closer to home. The business travel market is no longer as reliable as it once was either, with trade shows being cancelled and companies greatly reducing travel in general. The lessons of the COVID era will carry over for years to come, and getting on the right foot now will help you to be a leader in a changing world.
Why Do Luxury Resorts Need Marketing?
In a normal year, millions of travellers leave their homes in search of vacation or to go on a business trip. These travellers are in need of a place to stay during these trips, and many of them choose luxury resorts for all of the amenities and atmosphere they offer. The luxury hotel industry is competitive and in order to stand out a resort needs to show travellers what they have to offer. A great resort marketing strategy will focus on showing off the features that makes a resort stand apart from the others.
In this article, we are going to take a look at 8 techniques to make a successful resort marketing plan for 2021. From navigating the fast moving world of digital marketing to overcoming the challenges of COVID-19, these strategies lay a foundation for a lucrative future.
We will first take a look at some COVID-19 related marketing trends:
- Safety First
- Become A Staycation Destination
- Personalized And Private Experiences
- Contactless Is King
We will then be looking into general luxury hotel marketing strategies that will keep you ahead of the curve:
- Go Mobile First
- Stand Out With An Outstanding App
- Get Social
2021 Luxury Resort Marketing Strategies For Hotel Business Success During COVID-19
The ongoing global pandemic situation is likely to continue well into 2021, and things will likely not return to normal for some time. In fact, some patterns involving travel might be changed permanently as a result of this disruption. Success means learning how to adapt to the changes and turn them into a chance for growth.
1. Safety First
One of the first concerns that any business needs to address during this pandemic is guest safety. According to a recent survey 78% of people said they have avoided staying at a resort, hotel, or casino due to COVID-19, and 90% say that it is extremely important that a hotel enforces a safety policy. Making guests feel at ease by letting them know that there is a clear safety policy that is followed should be a top priority for any resort’s marketing strategy. The safer your potential guests feel, the more likely they are to book with you.
This also means thinking about how you present your resort in your marketing campaigns and on your websites. Pictures of guests crowded into spaces may have been a way to make a resort look fun in the past, but now it strikes a tone of being potentially unsafe. Make sure that marketing images and videos give guests the impression a socially distanced safety they are seeking.
2. Become A Staycation Destination
Business travel used to account for up to around 70% of revenue for major hotel chains. Thanks to COVID-19 though, business travel has dropped off a cliff. With less people traveling for business, hotels and resorts need to look to different types of travelers to make up their losses. Of course, a lot of leisure travel is also not happening like it used to either. With people not wanting to risk flying on airplanes or being blocked due to travel restrictions.
Where does a resort look for guests then? The answer is to look locally. As people are staying closer to home, they are looking at “staycations” as a safe way to get away from it all. In fact, with more people working from home they are taking advantage of the flexibility that provides to head off to a hotel and work from there while also enjoying being away from home. Some are even taking the opportunity to take a long term trip where they can stay at a resort for a few months while continuing to remote work.
3. Personalized And Private Experiences
If one phrase could define 2020 it just might be “social distancing”, and it will be just as relevant in 2021. Personalized experiences that cater to your individual guests’ needs are always a great hook for resort marketing, COVID-19 gives hotels a chance to take that to a new level. Being socially distanced can make a personalized experience into a private one. Market the intimacy of having amenities limited in capacity, turning a dinner in a restaurant into a private catered meal. Offer micro weddings for your guests to celebrate their occasion in an intimate ceremony with family. Or, for the higher ends of the luxury scale, offer experiences like having an entire floor or villa to yourself.
Personalized and private spa getaways can also be a great marketing hook. Advertise how safe and sanitized your facilities are, while also offering relief from stress with spa services. A creative marketing team can find some fantastic opportunities for taking advantage of distance to create an amazing guest experience.
4. Contactless Is King
It should not come as a big surprise that during this pandemic people do not want to touch things that other people might be touching. Because of this, contactless options are always preferred whenever they can be offered. Resorts can take advantage of this by offering contactless check-ins and payments, as well as contactless access to rooms and amenities. There are a lot of options for this, but integrating contactless check-ins and payments into an app is an opportunity you do not want to miss out on. We will discuss apps in greater detail later, but the data they provide along with the convenience to the guest make them a top pick.
A full cycle resort marketing company such as ComboApp can help you put together an app that will have your guests feeling safe and satisfied.
Luxury Resort Marketing Tips For 2021
Even though COVID-19 takes up a lot of our current discussions about hotel and resort marketing, here are some digital marketing strategies for hotel businesses that are for a world with or without a pandemic.
1. Go Mobile First
We used to talk a lot about developing “mobile-friendly” websites, but in 2020 the landscape has changed and now the focus should be “mobile-first“. This is with good reason, as mobile devices are quickly becoming the way people interact with the internet the most. This change is even reflected in Google’s algorithm and how it now ranks sites in a “mobile-first” fashion. This means that a site that does not provide a great mobile experience will not have a high spot in Google search rankings.
You need to reach your guests where they are, and where they are is increasingly on their phones or other mobile devices. US adults spend roughly 3 hours a day using their smartphone, which is a perfect time for you to reach them. Your site should be fast too, because if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load you will not just lose Google ranking but visitors as well.
Just like any website, you need to make sure your on-site SEO is on point and optimized too. ComboApp offers a great checklist for getting your SEO on track. The key things to always remember are:
- Optimized content for the keywords you are looking to rank highly on
- Having strong technical SEO
- Have a good backlink strategy
- Content, content, content
- Competitor analysis
A resort internet marketing agency such as ComboApp can help you develop a website that is optimized for mobile as well as for getting the top search spots!
We all know the adage that “content is king”, and when it comes to marketing a resort the content needs to be as engaging as the location itself. A good tip is to create content that highlights the things that make a resort and its surrounding location special. Cuisine, sightseeing locales, tours, and the country or city the resort is located in are all great subjects for your content as it will help you rank on those keywords and attract more guests!
2. Stand Out With An Outstanding App
As we discussed in the COVID-19 section, having a resort app is a tool that resorts should take full advantage of. Not only can you use an app in the current world situation to help with contactless payments and check-ins, but it is a great tool to get people engaged in general. An example of a possible use would be putting your resort menus in the app, and even allowing the ordering of room service.
An app can even make a good booking portal. Allowing people to book nights and the options they want to add on all in one place. The resort app can also be used to get guests to rate their experiences and give feedback too.
A great example is the Four Seasons mobile app. Their app allows guests to plan and book their trips, see the different resort destinations, book activities, set room preferences, chat with staff, as well as seeing menus and ordering your in room dining. The app does all of this while showing off the beauty of their resorts.
Luxury resort app development might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As a full cycle resort marketing company, ComboApp can handle the app development work to get your resort an app built that will fit both the hotel and your guests needs.
3. Get Social
We have already discussed the fact that people spend a lot of time on their phones, what they spend time doing is another part of this equation. The average person spends over 144 minutes a day using social media, making it a prime way to reach new potential guests. While making a resort visible to those who are looking for what you offer is great, social media allows you to put the seed of thought into an audience who might not have been considering a trip before.
Of course, simply having a social media presence is not enough. What you need to do is make engaging and interactive content that will capture the imagination of those who see it. You can combine that with the challenges of our current world by showing off your safety measures and letting potential guests know that your resort is a place they can come and leave their worries behind.
A well curated social media feed can help introduce new potential guests to the experiences your resort offers. This gets these new potential guests planning a get-away they had not previously thought of. Having a team that knows how to craft social media marketing for resorts properly is an essential tool for success. Which means a marketing agency such as ComboApp is essential to your luxury hotel marketing strategies.
80% of marketers find Influencers to be an effective form of marketing. Influencers can be an essential part of social media marketing for resorts due to the more visual and experiential nature of them. Teaming up with the right Influencer can be a huge boon for your resort, as you get the opportunity to have your resort presented to an audience that trusts the influencer and looks to them when making purchasing or travel decisions. Look to partner with influencers for a variety of campaign types including blogs, social media, video content, and more. A full service digital marketing agency such as ComboApp can help connect you with influencers and develop campaigns that will benefit your resort the most.
Advertising is essential to all businesses, and in 2021 things are more complex than they used to be. No longer is advertising relegated to just print and television. Nor are ads only a passive experience for the viewer. We now have a new and expanding digital advertising frontier to explore, so let’s look at some of the available choices.
Pay Per Click
For resort property marketing, pay-per-click advertising is a necessary tool. You can use it to target potential guests who are searching for everything from a resort getaway, to maybe just the city around it. This kind of targeting is ideal for reaching the guests most likely to visit a specific resort location.
A PPC campaign for resort marketing will likely stretch across multiple ad platforms including Facebook Ads, Instagram, Google Ads, and others. Mobile ads also are able to be targeted based on locations that users frequent or even have visited in the past.
There are 5 main types of paid ads that can be part of your resorts marketing strategy:
- Display Ads – The traditional and classic banner ad that is one of the original forms of internet advertising.
- Social Media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites all feature options for paid advertisements. You can boost individual posts or set up marketing campaigns including interactive ads.
- Native Ads – These are ads that are targeted to users based on their behaviors and interests.
- Search – Ads that show up on search engine results pages. Usually based around the keywords users search.
- Video Ads – This is a form of advertising that allows for the richest content. Video gives a viewer a chance to see and form an emotional connection with the audio and visuals an advertiser presents.
Google also offers a specific type of Hotel advertising that allows users to book right from their Google search results, and Facebook also offers a similar option.
Interactive advertising is a growing form of marketing that allows hotels and resorts to really engage potential guests. With this type of ad a potential guest can be engaged in the advertising in a way that allows them to form a connection with it. Taking advantage of interactive advertising now will give you an advantage over those who have not dipped their toes into the water yet.
Some examples of interactive ads would be a video that gives viewers the option to control the action. Maybe a video that takes a tour of a resort as a guest and gives the viewer the ability to decide what the guest does or offers 360 degree views of the resort.
An interactive game is another option for this form of advertising, or a quiz that asks people about resort vacations. All of these also allow for advertisers to harvest information like emails or social credentials that make it easier to directly market to these potential guests in the future.
There are a growing number of ways for a resort to spend its advertising budget, and resort marketing companies like ComboApp will help you to develop a hotel and resorts marketing strategy that will get you the most bang for your buck.
2021 will be a year that continues to present the travel and hotel industries with a lot of challenges. With challenges come opportunities though, and for those who are prepared to rise to the occasion there will be rewards to reap. A resorts marketing strategy that lets potential guests know how you are responding to the pandemic and keeping them safe is going to be vital. Along with that, resorts also need to keep the rest of their digital marketing plan strong and focused on engaging with guests in exciting ways.
Partnering with ComboApp will ensure you have the right luxury resort marketing plan. As a full cycle marketing agency we will make sure that your resort is using every possible tool for success. Contact us to make certain your resort is on the right track for success in 2021 and beyond.