“Offline marketing can be a powerful tool to help hoteliers connect with their guests and drive bookings. From brochures and flyers to billboards and sponsorships, these traditional marketing channels can help hotels stand out in a crowded market.”
– Neil Patel, Founder of ReviewPro
In today’s digital age, many hotels and resorts focus solely on online marketing to drive bookings and revenue. However, don’t underestimate offline and in-store promotion. From billboards and flyers to in-room materials and guest experiences, offline and in-store marketing tactics can help hotels connect with guests in meaningful ways and drive bookings. We’ll discuss hotel and resort offline and in-store marketing and how to do it well in this article.
Case Study: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Four Seasons is a luxury hotel brand that understands the importance of offline and in-store marketing. Their marketing campaigns incorporate a range of offline tactics, including billboards, print ads, and sponsorships, as well as in-store marketing tactics such as branded collateral and on-site experiences. Here are five ways Four Seasons has successfully leveraged offline and in-store marketing:
- Sponsorships and Partnerships: Four Seasons partners with luxury brands and organizations to reach a high-end audience. For example, the brand sponsors the Four Seasons Tournament of Champions in squash and the Four Seasons Pop Down event series, which features pop-up experiences in unexpected locations.
- Print Advertising: Four Seasons advertises in high-end periodicals including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Travel + Leisure to attract their target audience.
- Branded Collateral: Four Seasons creates beautiful and high-quality branded collateral, including brochures, postcards, and in-room materials, to provide a consistent and memorable guest experience.
- In-Store Experiences: Four Seasons offers cooking courses, wine tastings, and cultural tours to improve client satisfaction and loyalty.
- Outdoor Advertising: Four Seasons leverages billboards and outdoor advertising in strategic locations to capture the attention of potential guests and drive brand awareness.
Print Advertising and Collateral
Print advertising and collateral refer to any physical materials or publications that promote a hotel or resort’s products and services. This includes pamphlets, flyers, posters, billboards, magazines, newspapers, and direct mailers.
Print advertising and collateral have been a fixture in the hospitality sector for decades, and while digital marketing has influenced their appeal, they still remain an essential part of a holistic marketing strategy. The tactile and visual nature of print materials can create a lasting impression on potential guests and convey a sense of luxury and prestige that digital marketing alone cannot always achieve.
Some of the ways hotels and resorts can use print advertising and collateral include:
- Creating Brochures and Flyers – These printed materials can provide potential guests with an overview of the hotel or resort’s amenities, services, and unique selling propositions (USPs). They can be placed in local tourist information centers, mailed to potential guests, or distributed at events and conferences.
- Placing Ads in Newspapers and Magazines – Print ads in relevant publications can help hotels and resorts reach a wider audience, particularly those who prefer to read physical publications rather than digital ones. These ads can be designed to highlight the hotel or resort’s USPs, promote seasonal offers, or showcase events.
- Displaying Billboards and Posters – To attract visitors, billboards and posters can be carefully placed in high-traffic places like airports, train stations, and tourist spots. These materials can showcase the hotel or resort’s branding, logo, and USPs.
- Direct Mailers – Direct mailers can be sent to a targeted audience to promote a hotel or resort’s products and services. They can be designed to showcase special offers, events, or highlight new amenities.
Direct Mail Campaigns
Direct mail campaigns involve sending physical mail to a targeted list of potential guests with the goal of promoting a hotel or resort’s products and services. These include postcards, letters, brochures, catalogs, and more.
Many hotel and resort marketing methods now center on internet marketing, however direct mail campaigns might reach potential customers who may not respond to digital ads. Direct mail campaigns can be highly targeted and personalized, which can make them more effective at driving bookings.
Hotel and resort direct mail campaigns include:
- Targeted Mailings – Targeted mailings can be based on age, income, location, or interests. This ensures that the message is reaching the right audience and is more likely to result in a booking.
- Special Offers – Direct mail campaigns can be designed to promote special offers, such as discounts on room rates, dining, or spa services. These offers can be designed to create a sense of urgency and encourage potential guests to book their stay.
- Loyalty Programs – Direct mail campaigns can be used to promote loyalty programs and encourage repeat bookings. These campaigns can be targeted to past guests and offer incentives for booking another stay.
- Event Promotion – Direct mail campaigns can be used to promote events, such as conferences, weddings, or other special occasions. These campaigns can be designed to showcase the hotel or resort’s event spaces and amenities.
In summary, direct mail campaigns remain an effective way for hotels and resorts to reach potential guests and drive bookings. When done effectively, direct mail campaigns can help a hotel or resort stand out from its competitors and drive bookings.
Public Relations and Media Outreach
Public relations (PR) and media outreach are important components of a hotel or resort’s marketing strategy. PR involves building relationships with the media, influencers, and other stakeholders to promote the hotel or resort’s brand and increase its visibility. Media outreach involves pitching story ideas and press releases to the media to secure coverage in print, online, and broadcast outlets.
Here are some ways that hotels and resorts can incorporate PR and media outreach into their marketing strategies:
- Develop a Comprehensive Media List – A hotel or resort should identify key journalists, bloggers, influencers, and other stakeholders who cover their industry or niche. This list should include both local and national media outlets.
- Build Relationships with Media Contacts – Hotels and resorts should provide media contacts with timely, relevant, and fascinating story ideas to create partnerships. By providing value to the media, hotels and resorts can position themselves as experts in their field and secure media coverage.
- Pitch Story Ideas and Press Releases – Hotels and resorts should craft compelling story ideas and press releases that showcase their unique offerings and position them as thought leaders in their industry. These story ideas should be tailored to the specific interests of each media contact.
- Host Media Familiarization Trips – Hotels and resorts can host media familiarization trips, or “FAM” trips, to showcase their property and amenities to key journalists and influencers. These trips provide an opportunity for the media to experience the hotel or resort firsthand and generate coverage.
- Respond Quickly to Media Requests – When a journalist or blogger contacts a hotel or resort for information or a quote, it is important to respond quickly and provide them with the information they need to establish the hotel or resort as a reliable source.
Events, Sponsorships, and Partnerships
Events, sponsorships, and partnerships are additional tactics that hotels and resorts can use to build their brand, increase their visibility, and drive bookings. Here’s how these strategies work:
- Events – Hotels and resorts can host events that showcase their property and amenities, such as open houses, culinary events, or themed parties. These events provide an opportunity for guests to experience the hotel or resort firsthand and can generate buzz and positive word-of-mouth.
- Sponsorships – Sponsorships boost the hotel or resort’s brand by cooperating with a third party. For example, a hotel might sponsor a local festival or concert and offer special rates or packages to attendees.
- Partnerships – Partnerships involve collaborating with other businesses or organizations to create joint promotions or packages. For example, a hotel might partner with a local winery to offer a wine and stay package.
By using these tactics, hotels and resorts can reach new audiences and create memorable experiences for their guests. Events, sponsorships, and collaborations have helped these hotels and resorts establish their brands and increase bookings:
- Marriott International – Marriott has promoted its brand and engaged customers through events. For example, the company hosts the Marriott Rewards Member Exclusives program, which offers exclusive events and experiences to its loyalty program members.
- The Westin Maui Resort & Spa – The Westin Maui has partnered with a local helicopter tour company to offer a “HeliZipping” package, which includes a helicopter tour and a zip-line experience.
- The Ritz-Carlton – The Ritz-Carlton offers cooking workshops and special trips with local artists to guests.
Outdoor and Out-of-Home Advertising
Billboards, transit ads, and street-level signage are some examples of outdoor and out-of-home advertising. These ads reach a wide audience and build brand awareness in high-traffic areas, making them useful for hotels and resorts. Hotels and resorts can advertise outdoors using these methods:
- Billboards – Hotels and resorts can benefit from outside advertising like billboards. By placing billboards in high-traffic areas, hotels and resorts can reach a large audience and create brand awareness. For example, a hotel might place a billboard on a busy highway to promote its beachfront location.
- Transit Ads – Transit ads appear on buses, trains, and other public transit. These ads are highly visible and can be effective for reaching a diverse audience. For example, a hotel might place an ad on a subway train to promote its city-center location.
- Street-Level Signage – Signs and banners on a hotel’s exterior are called street-level signage. These signs can be highly effective for creating brand awareness and driving foot traffic. A hotel can even advertise a special promotion or event with a giant banner on its side.
Outdoor and out-of-home advertising has helped several hotels and resorts grow their brands:
- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts – Four Seasons promotes its luxury residences in key cities via outdoor advertising. The corporation has promoted their downtown property with billboards in high-traffic New York City districts.
- Marriott International – Marriott has used transit advertising to promote its brand and drive bookings. The company advertises its reward program and hotels on buses and trains in major cities.
- Hilton Worldwide – Hilton has used street-level signage to promote its properties in major cities around the world. For example, the company has placed large banners on the exterior of its hotels in New York City to promote special offers and events.
Summary Checklist of Action Plans on Offline Marketing and In-Store Marketing
- Define your target audience and research the most effective offline and in-store marketing tactics for reaching them.
- Develop a clear brand identity and ensure consistency across all offline and in-store marketing materials.
- Leverage sponsorships and partnerships with luxury brands and organizations to reach a high-end audience.
- Create high-quality and memorable branded collateral, including brochures, postcards, and in-room materials.
- Offer on-site experiences and activities to enhance the guest experience and drive loyalty.
- Leverage outdoor advertising and billboards in strategic locations to capture the attention of potential guests.
- Measure the success of your offline and in-store marketing efforts and refine your strategy based on results.
In today’s digital world, hotels and resorts sometimes disregard offline and in-store marketing. However, these classic marketing methods can still boost brand awareness and bookings. Hotels and resorts can reach a wide audience and create a memorable brand experience using this type of advertising.
Hotels and resorts must carefully design a clear marketing strategy that combines both digital and offline techniques to succeed. By doing so, hotels and resorts may construct a 360-degree marketing plan that enhances the guest experience and boosts income. This will help them stand out in a competitive market and also boost their bookings.