2020 was the year of disruption. As humankind was forced indoors, the impact of the tragedy was felt across several industries.
The migratory nature of the workforce and the sudden pause on restaurant and travel services had a sizable impact on the hospitality industry on a global level.
Indeed, the market faced a downturn. But does that mean that you should avoid working on your brand? Absolutely not.
It is crucial to be proactive even during the hard times if you want your business to flourish.
Several businesses in this industry used the pandemic to reevaluate their strategies and prepare for the market resurgence. Now, they are geared up and ready when the demand has started perking up.
The audience still has their name instilled in their minds from the time they were sitting in their house, wondering when they will be allowed to head out.
Take Kimpton Hotels, as an example. They are doing a great job with their ‘Life Is Suite’ blog section. They take you on a mini, virtual adventure. When the pandemic hit us, they did not shy away from sharing relatable tips for the kind of lifestyle we all had during the lockdown. They have managed to stay on top of the minds of travelers now.
So, how should you approach marketing during such times to follow in the footsteps of leading brands in your industry?
Your content marketing should be vigorous. It will keep your brand primed for when things get better and when business starts booming.
The more you keep working on your brand, the more opportunities you will find. If you hit a pause, bouncing back will be challenging.
For instance, many hotels grabbed the opportunity and decided to transition into becoming in-house workstations for their guests. The targeted group here was those who were working remotely (which is almost everyone!).
Having a content marketing strategy in place is necessary to grow. It helps attract a particular group of individuals, lets you maintain pace in the highly competitive race, and also builds your credibility as a brand.
Now that you know why you should be focusing on content marketing in the hospitality industry, it is time to learn how.
There are a lot of digital marketing agencies that can help you with the same and more quickly. However, if you are looking for ways to do it yourself, you can find it all below in this article.
Create a fast and aesthetically pleasing website
If you do not already have a website, it is now time to get one. Think of a website as your virtual brochure or your virtual salesman. Your website is the first encounter that your audience has with your brand. Ensure that it is perfect in every sense.
A website is a central hub of all the efforts that you put into content marketing. When your target audience searches for anything related to your niche in Google, your website should rank at the top. Every time your website does not show up, you must understand that you are losing customers.
Make sure you are adding relevant keywords to optimize your website for the search engines. We’ve talked about it in length below.
When designing your website, there are a few things that you should consider:
– Make it appealing but focus equally on easy navigation.
– Your website should be inclusive. Give your visitors an option to select a language they are comfortable with.
– Ensure your website is not slow. Slow websites can hinder the experience.
– Everything should be easily accessible from the ‘Search’ feature to your policies. Mention everything clearly.
Don’t try to target every single person
You must understand not every person is your target audience. Every individual is different.
Let’s take an example. Imagine you own a resort, and you want to promote staycations. You cannot reach out to adventure enthusiasts with a proposal for a staycation. They will not be ready to spend days inside a hotel room. They love the outdoors. It’ll be a waste of time and effort. Be clear about who your audience is.
Since you are taking this time to reevaluate your efforts, you should try to niche down too. Rethink who will suit your brand perfectly and vice versa.
When you niche down, you make content marketing a lot less complex for yourself. Now, you can focus on one segment and create content keeping their likes, dislikes, and personalities in mind.
Niches also help you solve the problems of your audience in a more precise and elaborated manner.
Do a thorough keyword research
You need keywords. These phrases and words help you defeat your competitors and rank at the top of search engine results.
Your blog titles, website content, metadata, URLs – everything needs a relevant and well-placed keyword.
You want your website to show up to improve your visibility and get the traction you deserve. Keyword research aids in doing that.
Keyword research helps you identify what your audience is searching for. It is also a great tool to figure out your competitors’ keyword game. Use that as a basis to create an advanced action plan.
Make sure to use a balance of low competition and high competition keywords. It is because the competition for popular keywords is generally really high. You can try ranking for high-value keywords, but mostly it’ll be in vain. Thus, the right mix.
To see where your website lies on search results, you can use a Google rank checker. After analyzing, you can direct your content marketing efforts to a more high-yielding path.
Promote relevant content
One golden rule of content marketing is to offer your audience what they want.
Take the current scenario, for instance. Your audience wants more and better reasons than before to put their trust in you. You must understand the hospitality industry will experience a massive transformation as the demand rises further.
You’ll have to shift your focus from traditional wants and concerns to the current ones. Today, your audience will want to see how clean and hygienic your restaurant is. They would want to know about your efforts and protocols in making sure of their safety.
Thus, you should share content that circles the steps you are taking, the products you are using, and how well-trained your employees are to ensure sanitation.
Once you see a good response, you can always shift from this to the other concerns of your customers and address them using your content.
It helps induce confidence in them and enables you to establish yourself as an authority.
Create a strong email marketing strategy
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to give your content marketing strategies a push. The world today revolves around emails. Newspapers have been replaced by emails as an early morning read for around 58% of the users. They also happen to open their emails at least 20 times a day.
Thus, a robust email marketing strategy should be your priority.
Be proactive about the schedule. You must identify and analyze the best time to send an email to your audience, or it can hurt your stats.
You can segment your groups according to the best time to approach them. Use an automation tool to schedule your emails to be consistent in your efforts.
But what should these emails be about? You can share the measures you are taking, your upgrades, your discounts, and most importantly, a link to your latest blogs or articles.
Just make sure whatever you send is valuable and nothing redundant.
Level up your social media platforms
Regardless of the industry, social media marketing is the best performing strategy for businesses.
There are plenty of social media platforms that are now available to the audience. From Instagram to Twitter, Facebook to TikTok, users are truly spoilt for choices.
Yet, you will not find everyone on every platform. Keeping this in mind, you have to identify the best social media platforms that work for your business. It is one of the most crucial steps in content marketing.
One of the main reasons for this is to help you avoid deviating from your target groups. Like we discussed before, your only focus should be on making your target audience happy.
After you have identified the best platforms for your brand, create valuable and entertaining content. Being in the hospitality industry, you would need to embrace creativity.
Play around with different forms of content. Use videos, images, or even carousels. Experiment with the right time to post.
Analyze your content and determine the piece that got the most engagement. Create more of such content.
Host virtual tours of your cafe or hotel, or bar. It will help in attracting your audience.
One important tip – add content generated by your customers as much as possible. When your target audience witnesses that other people are enjoying your services, they are more likely to convert.
Make your social media a priority at all times.
Try influencer outreach
Influencer outreach has proven to be a fantastic way to outshine the crowd and offer valuable content to your audience.
Getting an influencer on board has more benefits than just promoting your content. It helps in building more connected relationships with the audience. Bonds with your customers are too precious to have when facing a downturn. After all, they are your support system.
People are more likely to get attracted to a brand offering personalization. Influencer outreach is the perfect solution.
You could choose a micro-influencer, a macro-influencer, or even a celebrity. But before you do that, filter out the best ones out of the lot.
The first step is to find out who will fit well with your content. You can do this by defining the purpose of your outreach.
Then, be vigilant about their reach and engagement. An influencer might have several thousands of followers. But if the engagement is dead, it will dissolve the entire purpose.
Once all the formalities are done, build a holistic strategy to promote your content.
Yes, it is a time-consuming process. But the enhanced ROI, when it is done well, makes up for it.
Don’t overlook backlinks
Backlinks are the indication of your reputation.
The more websites start linking to your website, the higher you will start ranking in the search engines.
Think of backlinks as validation from those who are directly or indirectly related to your business. Most websites only add your links based on how valuable they found your content.
Thus, always focus on value-added content.
Another thing that you have to be careful about is the quality of websites. Keep a check on the websites that are using your links. Ensure they are of high quality and are not jeopardizing your reputation in any manner.
For instance, for businesses in the hospitality industry, a link from a hotel or travel website will add to the reputation. If you get the same link from a car seller, it can be harmful and has the capacity to tarnish your brand name.
Instead, offer valuable content that others will believe is worthy of linking to their website.
Analyze your progress
Till you don’t see the results, you won’t know whether what you’re doing is right or wrong. You should analyze your data daily. This will help you identify what form of content is performing well, the right time to publish, and also aid in figuring out the steps forward.
For all this to happen, you need to learn how you can analyze your data. You need to go beyond ‘looking’ at your analytics. You should go in deep if you wish to identify possible changes and areas of improvement.
Find out your lowest-performing pieces of content. Check their bounce rate, and try to understand why they are not performing as well as others. Make the changes or delete them from the website if there is no scope of updating it or making it better.
It will help you understand where you are going wrong and save you from repeating the same mistake in the future.
You can also use the content from an old piece, convert it into another form of content, say an infographic, and re-share it with your audience.
Upgrading your low-performing content is one of the best strategies to save time and reuse old pieces.
Indeed, one of the vastly impacted industries was the hospitality sector after the pandemic hit us last year. We might face more such downturns in the future. You should not take this as a reason to hit a pause on your content marketing efforts. Instead, find opportunities when things are not going the way you planned.
It is a great time to revisit your strategies and experiment with your content. It will help you maintain visibility and be prepared for the time when things get better for you and the industry as a whole.