As an independent hotel owner or innkeeper, it is your responsibility to fill up the rooms in your hotel or inn. Keeping your independent hotel or inn reserved is essential to the success of your business. One of the best places to find customers is online. You can find customers online through digital marketing.

Digital marketing for hotels and inns is a multi-layered process and requires knowledge and application of multiple digital marketing practices. As we go into 2022, hoteliers should focus on a few different digital marketing areas that will impact their overall success this year and beyond.

Hotel Marketing Tip #1: Create an Engaging Website

All your online marketing efforts, from social media posts to metasearch marketing, should all lead back to your hotel's website. When people click through from social media to your website or an online travel agency to directly check out your website, you want to ensure you provide them with an excellent experience.

Your website should have a modern design and feel to it. Most importantly, it should be mobile responsive.

People access the internet at least 70% of the time via a mobile device, making the mobile version of your website extremely important if you want to increase your conversion rate. Search engines are also emphasizing mobile sites, using a mobile-first indexing method, which
is why you need a responsive mobile and desktop version of your hotel.

Elements a hotel website should include:
• Contact Details
• Brand Placement
• Simple Navigation
• High-Quality Images and Videos
• Booking Information
• Easy Navigation
• Quality Booking Engine
• Relevant Content

Your hotel website should prominently feature contact information and branding. It should include unique, high-quality videos and images. In addition, there should be detailed information about your hotel and location details. All content should be SEO optimized throughout its layout.

Your website is your online calling card; you want it to be a stand-out one.

Hotel Marketing Tip #2: Focus on Content Marketing

Once your website is up and running, you need to stay relevant through content marketing. Websites that are continually updated with valuable content rank better, and get more visitors, than websites that sit idle.

One of the most popular types of content is blog posts. Blog posts are a great way to leverage keywords and use your content to drive organic traffic to your website and increase your conversion rate.

As a hotel or inn, your content should focus on solving people's problems as they relate to your industry. For example, if someone were to search for "places I can stay with my dog in [specific city]," you would want to have a blog post entitled, '5 Ways We Make Your Dog Comfortable at [Business Name]."

Your content should answer people's questions and concerns related to your industry. In addition, your blog content should provide people with information about the area you are located in, such as local events and places to eat.

By regularly adding valuable content to your website, you will increase bookings and increase your brand's exposure.

You can use content marketing to highlight what makes your independent hotel or bed and breakfast different from other accommodations in the area. Use insightful content to be helpful and sell what makes your place special.

Hotel Marketing Tip #3: Connect on Social Media

You want to meet your customers where they hang out online, and social media is one of the primary ways people spend time online.

Americans spend an average of around 1,300 hours on social media each year. They spend an average of 58 minutes on Facebook, 53 minutes on Instagram, 50 minutes on Snapchat, 40 minutes on YouTube, 28 minutes on WhatsApp, and 14 minutes on Pinterest, according to polling by uswitch.com.

If you want to connect with your target audience, you need to be active on social media. It is not enough to post once a month; you need to have a social media marketing plan to post content regularly.

When developing your digital marketing plan, it is best to focus on excelling on one or two social media platforms rather than spread yourself thin across numerous social media platforms. For example, Facebook and Instagram are two fantastic social media platforms for hotels and innkeepers.

With both Facebook and Instagram, you will want to provide written and visual content.

Examples of content you can post to connect with potential customers:
• Welcome Sign
• Special Features
• Behind-the-scenes pictures
• Breakfast
• Bedrooms
• Guests

Be sure to include relevant hashtags on all of your posts. Hashtags will help potential customers find your content. Your hashtags should consist of general hashtags related to your industry and location-specific hashtags related to your business's location.

It would be beneficial to create a unique hashtag for your business. Unique hashtags help establish credibility and make it easier to manage social media campaigns. They also make it easier for customers to find your content on social media sites. You can also use unique hashtags to drive engagements; you can encourage customers to use your unique hashtags, helping to increase your social media reach.

Hotel Marketing Tip #4: Prioritize Local SEO

With a hotel or inn, you will want to focus your SEO efforts throughout your website, content, and social media on local SEO. When searching for a place to stay, the location is paramount to that search.

You want to rank not for "places to stay" but for "places to stay in (city or region where your business is located)."

When developing your SEO strategy for your website, content, and social media, local SEO keywords should be at the heart of your strategy. Adding keywords related to your location or nearby areas will help produce better search engine results, traffic, and visitors.

As an independent hotel owner or innkeeper, your goal is to have a full booking schedule. To achieve that goal, you need to understand digital marketing. Digital marketing is about building a professional online presence driven by SEO best practices.

Hotel Marketing Tip #5: Engage in Metasearch Marketing

One of the primary manners through which potential customers find and book lodging for personal and business trips is through online travel agencies (OTA), such as Expedia and Priceline. In addition, online travel agencies gather information from hotels and inns and show pricing and availability for various accommodations within a specific geographical area.

Travelers use OTA to find accommodations that meet various search terms, such as a destination, number of guests, and travel dates. The hotel listings shown on OTA sites include photos, amenities, and guest reviews.

To gain prime on metasearch sites, you can pay for placement to ensure that your business ranks higher on these metasearch sites. Metasearch sites are a great way to increase your exposure online and increase bookings. Most OTA will take a commission if a customer books directly through their site. OTA sites can also help direct traffic to your website, increasing direct bookings.

First, you need a well-designed website that consistently receives traffic from relevant prospects. Second, you need a content marketing strategy that helps you rank for local keywords. Third, you need to engage with customers on social media, and you need to take advantage of online travel agencies that send traffic to your website.

Need assistance with your hotel or bed and breakfast marketing strategy? TripHitz would be happy to assist you! TripHitz is a results-driven digital marketing agency for the lodging industry. We can help you with your search engine optimization, social media management, content writing, and pay-per-click management. Reach out to us today and get your digital marketing plan started!