We recently had a conversation with an innkeeper on the unique approach we take to marketing small properties.
Their first question was:
What is integrated hospitality marketing?
That is a great question and one we don’t explain fully often enough. Because while it is becoming more common in the world of marketing it sounds like a bit of a buzzword.
So let’s explain what integrated marketing is and why we believe its the best way to market a bed and breakfast or small hotel.
The definition of “Integrate” is:
to combine (two or more things) to form or create something.
This simple definition brings to mind a large puzzle at your kitchen table. It may have been a while since you took the time to put together a puzzle but think back to the days when you had leisure time for it!
A puzzle is somewhat overwhelming at the beginning. It’s disorganized and scattered.
But as you place each piece in its place you begin to see something being created. Where there was a jumbled mess of pieces they now slowly become a beautiful photo. Piece by piece it all comes together into one complete picture.
Let’s take this illustration over to marketing a small lodging property. Speakers, webinars, and blog posts often paint a beautiful picture that if you just try this one thing long enough you will start to get more bookings. More blogging. More posts on Facebook. More reviews on TripAdvisor.
The reality though is that several things need to work together to create success in your marketing efforts. And by success I mean more bookings.
We believe the answer is an integrated approach that brings together the fragmented pieces.
What are the pieces of an integrated marketing approach?
Here are a few of those pieces:
- A responsive website that is easy to manage
- Engaging blog posts
- An email list
- A free download for joining that list
- Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, etc…
- Advertising Plan
- Cross promotion partnerships
- Specials / Packages
- Local partnerships
Here’s an example of everything working together…
Let’s say you’re located in an area with a lot of great wineries. So you decide to write a comprehensive post on the “The 5 Best Wineries in Anytown, USA that You Have to Visit”.
This great blog post took you several hours to research and write. But it contains some really unique information and perspective someone couldn’t find on the local ‘visitors bureau’ website. This blog will really help people who have never been to the area. You can also use it for your loyal guests who are looking to learn more.
So, you have a great blog that people will really enjoy reading.
You then use this blog in your next email marketing communication with a link back to the blog. You post the blog to your Facebook page, share a photo on Instagram, Pin it on Pinterest. The next time someone asks about the best places to go while at your front desk you send them to the blog.
This blog gets indexed by search engines and new people searching for wineries in the area continue to find you through it.
You’ve now featured some great wineries and are sending business their way through your website so they are more likely to promote you to their customers.
This is just a basic example in how you can bring one piece (a blog post) into other parts of your marketing.
What about the results?
Without fail, a well done integrated marketing approach will result in more website traffic and more bookings to your property.
The results are why we’re so proud to provide our marketing impact report each and every month. It’s rewarding to see all the numbers go up (especially occupancy).
Playing the Long Game
There’s rarely overnight success when it comes to integrated marketing approach. It takes time to pull all the pieces together into a humming machine. It’s a long game approach.
Whether you work with us or do it yourself we hope you will consider the integrated approach. You won’t be disappointed.
If you would like a brief consultation on bringing the pieces together and what to focus on first. Contact us and we would be happy to chat in a short 30 minute phone call.
Photo by Kevin Dooley.