Every product or service depends on effective marketing for reaching the intended prospective customer. The hotel industry is no exception in the face of ever-increasing competition in the field. With the addition of the new, state of the art hospitality options, the hotel industry depends heavily on a marketing strategy worthy of pulling new guests in and enticing the existing ones to return regularly. The fierce competition has given rise to aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at attracting the fancy of guests with various needs — from affordable short stays to one of a kind luxurious hospitality experiences.
Creating the right feeling for the consumer is a prerequisite for designing a successful marketing strategy for hotels. A consistent brand identity is a major factor for attracting prospective guests and making them long-lasting customers. Repeat customers bring in a significant part of revenue; thus, an effective marketing strategy must be an amalgamation between building new relationships with prospective guests and strengthening the pre-existing ones with past customers.
Now, there’s a point of debate between the hotel management and owners of whether the marketing strategy and execution need to be in-house — managed by the insiders of a particular hotel business — or whether professionals should be brought into the picture for outsourcing marketing altogether.
If you are a hotel owner and confused between the two choices, don’t worry and keep reading.
In this article, we will compare in-house and outsourced marketing strategies and lay their benefits out. We will start with the expectations and need for the right marketing for the hotel industry and build on that to look into in-house marketing, followed by outsourced marketing. We shall embark on a learning journey to equip you with the best information so that you can make your decision and give wings to the marketing plans for your hotel business. Let’s begin.
Why is Hotel Marketing important?
Like every other business endeavor, hotels also have the responsibility of building their brand for promoting their services and attracting guests. Brand building is vital for gaining the trust of prospective customers. No matter how better your services are than your competition, in the absence of proper marketing, the chances of finding new guests are invariably thin. Word of mouth might be on your mind, but it only works best with a concerted effort towards marketing campaigns.
If your hotel doesn’t prepare unique and exciting advertisements promoting your offerings as the best out there, the interest of customers is hard to get by. The art of persuasion is paramount in creating an image worth considering. Successful marketing campaigns incorporate numerous methods of taking the persuasion game to the next level for alluring customers and helping maintain their loyalty. Even if you have a niche market —with the best in class facilities on offer, for capturing the attention of the intended audience — you need to have a marketing strategy that sells.
There are many reasons why focused hotel marketing is a necessity in a world full of hotels of all shapes and sizes. Some of these reasons are:
- 1. For having an idea about the diversity of customers
The customers have a myriad of reasons for choosing a hotel. These might include the services to cost ratio, perks and facilities, location, etc. It’s the job of the marketing team to identify these reasons and craft marketing strategies aimed at targeting all of these sets of interests, with customized plans for each of them. The research required for identifying these aspects furnishes a better idea about the diversity of customers your hotel can attract.
- 2. Creating awareness in the market
Brand awareness is the cornerstone of attracting customers. With a lack of knowledge about the services offered by your hotel, it’s not practical to expect an inflow of new customers. Marketing ensures easy availability of all required information about the offerings of your hotel across all relevant platforms — by purchasing ad space on relevant travel websites, collaborating with travel and hospitality agencies and posting on their websites, etc.
- 3. Crafting relationships
The art of building impactful and lasting relationships is a must for ensuring hefty revenue generation for your hotel business. Repeat customers help in promoting your business through social media sharing and word of mouth, in addition to being a source of base revenue. Creating marketing schemes providing rewards through customer loyalty programs are a great way of building stronger relationships.
Now that you have understood how important it is to have a marketing plan for your hotel business, the dilemma of whether in-house marketing is well-equipped to fetch all aforementioned results or whether outsourcing would be a better choice must be addressed.
In-House Hotel Marketing
In-house marketing is the practice of undertaking all the responsibilities related to creating an overall successful marketing strategy from scratch within the hotel management. In-house marketing models steer away from taking professional help for designing their marketing campaigns. Instead, they rely on the inherent or acquired marketing expertise of employees.
What are the benefits of In-house Hotel Marketing?
In a pandemic ravaged hotel industry, finally trying to get back up at its feet, the importance of marketing has assumed a newer meaning. Having employees within the hotel management to do the job of devising and implementing winning marketing strategies keeping in mind the trends like:
- Highlighting safety measures effectively for attracting skeptical customers.
- Focusing on local customers over international ones till international borders become permeable again.
- Highlighting flexible cancellation options.
- Providing the means of experiencing hotel rooms from far away.
In-house marketing can take care of promoting and marketing all these trends in addition to the traditional expectations from a marketing strategy without turning to an agency. The benefits of the opting in-house approach are as follows:
- 1. Cost Saving
The most tangible advantage of adopting in-house hotel marketing is its cost-efficiency. In contrast to paying overheads in addition to the high fees of marketing agencies, in-house marketing allows hotels to hire talented marketing professionals to work as hotel employees. Hiring professionals as employees allows for saving big money that can be invested in running lucrative, multi-channel campaigns.
- 2. Better Control
Undoubtedly, the in-house approach allows for exercising more control over the creative processes involved in making marketing campaigns. Having the ability to control marketing decisions and overall strategy allows hoteliers to bring a personal touch in executing their marketing activities.
- 3. Enhanced Communication
Ensuring effective communication lines with hotel marketing managers is easier than establishing complete communication with marketing agencies. Since in-house marketers are likely to work from the hotel premises, the communication channels are the same as your other employees. Better communication also enhances accountability.
- 4. No conflict of interest
Outsourcing the marketing work to an agency runs a risk of the agency having prior connections and commitments with your competition. Even though agencies try to ensure there’s no conflict of interest because of such a situation, it doesn’t help the hotel management from having their doubts. To have in-house marketers eliminates the chances of any conflict of interest as the marketing strategies and plans are crafted exclusively for your hotel.
- 5. Increased Productivity
Contrary to outsourcing, in-house staff aren’t required to split their time between multiple commitments from different clients at the same time — allowing your advertising campaigns to get the proper care and attention that they deserve. When your entire marketing workforce is dedicated to singular goals, they have the opportunity to focus more and design creative marketing campaigns.
- 6. Keeping Hotel Values Intact
In-house marketing teams are completely embedded in the work culture of your hotel and understand the values and culture associated with it. When the marketing team is well-versed with the philosophy of your hotel, they can create marketing campaigns that incorporate it within the fold. Having a better understanding of the offerings also allows for reliable and organic marketing of your hotel.
Outsourced Hotel Marketing
As the name suggests, the practise of hiring an external marketing agency to undertake the marketing activities for your hotel is called outsourced hotel marketing. The experience and expertise of marketing agencies add an x-factor to the campaigns promoting your hotel. Marketing agencies have the advantage of a pool of talented marketing professionals who can perform better than fewer in-house marketers. A marketing agency can design customized strategies for putting your hotel on the map and making it more profitable than it already is by attracting new customers.
What are the benefits of Outsourced Hotel Marketing?
- 1. Saving time
As they say, time is money! Outsourced marketing allows the creatives in your hotel to breathe and puts the onus of brainstorming on the marketing agency. Hotels can communicate their ideas and requirements to the agency for their professional creativity to get to work. When the agency oversees the marketing strategies and implementation, the hotel management saves a lot of time that can be invested in improving and adding to the services on offer. The right outsourcing agency takes the burden off of your management by investing the significant time that would otherwise be taken up for marketing activities.
- 2. Expanding the expertise
Hoteliers know a thing or two about providing the best hospitality experience to their guests and keeping them happy. But marketing is an essential part of attracting these guests to the hotel in the first place. Bringing in the services of marketing experts provides a balance to the overall service strategy of your hotel business. The complete process of attracting customers, building relationships, and providing the best services offered by your hotel can become a cakewalk if the expertise brought by marketing agency professionals is added to the core offerings of your hotel.
- 3. Optimizing your content
Even if you are devising your marketing content, the lack of informed and sound knowledge of SEO(search engine optimization) best practices drastically reduces the chances of growing your online presence. Commanding an online presence is the backbone of attracting new customers in the increasingly digitized world. Therefore, availing the help of external marketing experts for optimizing your marketing content is a basic necessity for the recipe of marketing success. For becoming a digital marketing storyteller, your hotel requires the help of marketing optimization experts.
- 4. Building relationships and networking
The hallmark of a dedicated marketing agency is becoming a trusted business partner. When the interests of your hotel and the agency are aligned, the marketing agency takes extra initiative and pours more energy into their work while working out a winning marketing strategy for your hotel. They will be ever ready to provide you with continuous suggestions and tips to improve services appropriate for marketing success. Such an ideal agency makes your hotel a priority for their operations and will try their best to gain your trust and maintain you as a business partner. Such a networking opportunity creates new avenues for your hotel business to grow and prosper.
- 5. Ensuring content consistency
When under the tutelage of an expert marketing agency, the flow of continuous quality content never stops. Consistent quality content is the backbone of any marketing strategy to attract new customers. An expert external agency can handle the backend of your hotel website, its design, and push consistent content across various media formats. Having an agency for all your content marketing needs takes off stress and creates a strong standing in the market. When the customers have access to relevant content regularly, they start trusting your hotel for future visits.
- 6. Feedback from experts
External marketers are objective in their outlook towards your hotel and leave out any scope of appeasement that might be present in in-house marketers. Objectivity and honest feedback can help in adding to your service offerings. Even if you have an in-house marketing team, having expert feedback can improve their marketing efforts. It’s always useful to have a fresh set of eyes while finalizing your hotel’s marketing strategy for it’s the face of your hotel.
Choosing between in-house and outsourced marketing is a tough endeavor because both have their unique advantages. Taking into consideration these varied benefits and matching them with your specific requirements, your hotel can decide on the most suitable marketing plan. Marketing is the saving grace in a hotel industry reeling under the effects of the pandemic. It’s high time that you make your decision quickly.