“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
– Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
Hotel and resort owners, managers, and marketers are always looking for new ways to engage their target audience and beat the competition in the ever-changing hospitality industry. Guerilla marketing methods can achieve this goal creatively and affordably. This article will discuss the benefits and execution of guerrilla marketing for hotels and resorts.
Case Study: Virgin Hotels
A popular hotel brand that has successfully implemented guerilla marketing strategies is Virgin Hotels. Their marketing campaigns have left a lasting impression on their audience, effectively boosting their bottom line. For specific campaign details, visit their website: https://www.virginhotels.com/.
Five ways Virgin Hotels implement guerilla marketing strategies include:
- Pop-up events: Virgin Hotels creates pop-up events to generate buzz and engage potential guests in a unique, immersive brand experience. These events often include live music, art installations, and interactive activities.
- Collaborations with influencers and local businesses: Virgin Hotels partners with local influencers and businesses to create buzzworthy experiences, such as exclusive dining events or social media takeovers.
- Social media contests: Virgin Hotels frequently hosts contests on social media platforms, encouraging users to share branded content with their followers in exchange for a chance to win a stay at their hotels.
- Creative outdoor advertising: Virgin Hotels uses unexpected spaces for advertising, like park benches, bus stops, or even bike-sharing stations, to capture the attention of potential guests.
- Targeted email marketing: Virgin Hotels crafts personalized email campaigns to engage their audience with special offers, tailored content, and invitations to exclusive events.
What is Guerilla Marketing?
Guerilla marketing is an unconventional marketing strategy that focuses on creativity, imagination, and originality rather than a large marketing budget. Jay Conrad Levinson invented the term in his 1984 book “Guerrilla Marketing.” Guerilla marketing uses unexpected, memorable approaches to make a big impact and generate awareness for a brand, product, or service.
Guerilla marketing strategies often rely on elements such as surprise, humor, or emotional appeal to capture the audience’s attention. These campaigns are designed to be highly engaging and shareable, creating a viral effect that spreads the message organically across various channels, especially on social media platforms.
Guerilla Marketing Techniques
Some common guerilla marketing techniques include:
- Ambient marketing: Placing ads in unusual or unexpected places to catch the audience’s attention.
- Experiential marketing: Creating immersive, interactive experiences that engage the audience with the brand.
- Stealth marketing: Covertly promoting a product or service without the audience realizing they are being marketed to.
- Viral marketing: Crafting highly shareable content or experiences that quickly spread through word-of-mouth and social media.
- Street marketing: Engaging potential customers in public places with creative and interactive marketing tactics.
Guerilla marketing strategies are often employed by small businesses or startups with limited marketing budgets, but even larger companies have adopted these tactics to create a memorable impact and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Benefits of Guerilla Marketing Strategies
Guerilla marketing strategies have proven to be beneficial for hotels and resorts in numerous ways:
- Cost-effective: Guerilla marketing typically requires a smaller budget compared to traditional marketing methods, providing a higher return on investment. According to HubSpot, 46% of marketers reported that guerilla marketing gave them a higher ROI than traditional marketing (Source).
- Increased brand awareness: Creative and unexpected marketing tactics can generate significant buzz, leading to increased brand exposure and recognition. In fact, studies have shown that guerilla marketing can increase brand awareness by up to 60% (Source).
- Enhanced customer engagement: Guerilla marketing tactics are often interactive, encouraging customers to engage with the brand on a deeper level. This can boost client loyalty and retention.
- Greater social media reach: Creative and shareable guerilla marketing campaigns are more likely to go viral, extending a hotel or resort’s reach across social media platforms.
Types of Guerilla Marketing
1. Ambient marketing
Ambient marketing is a type of guerilla marketing strategy that involves placing advertisements in unconventional or unexpected locations to surprise and engage the audience. By grabbing potential clients’ attention creatively, the goal is to leave a lasting impression.
The concept of ambient marketing revolves around the idea that ads can be placed anywhere and everywhere, utilizing the surrounding environment to enhance the message. This approach often leads to increased brand awareness and recognition, as the advertisements stand out from traditional marketing methods and generate buzz due to their novelty.
Examples of ambient marketing include:
- Floor decals or stickers: Placing branded decals or stickers on the floor of a shopping mall, airport, or subway station to catch the attention of passersby.
- Interactive billboards: Installing billboards with interactive elements or unique designs that encourage people to engage with the advertisement and share their experience on social media.
- Advertisements on everyday objects: Placing ads on objects such as park benches, shopping carts, or even coffee cups, integrating the advertisement into the consumer’s daily routine.
- Digital screens in unconventional locations: Installing digital screens in places like elevators, restrooms, or taxi cabs to deliver targeted ads to a captive audience.
- Creative vehicle wraps: Wrapping cars, buses, or other vehicles in eye-catching designs featuring a brand’s logo or message, turning them into moving advertisements.
Ambient marketing campaigns require a high level of creativity and innovation to stand out and create a memorable impact. When executed effectively, these campaigns can generate significant buzz, drive conversations about the brand, and ultimately lead to increased sales and customer engagement.
2. Experiential marketing
Experiential marketing, also known as engagement marketing or event marketing, creates memorable, engaging events for consumers to engage with a brand, product, or service on a deeper level. It builds brand loyalty and advocacy by creating emotional bonds between the brand and its target audience.
Experiential marketing campaigns often involve immersive events, activations, or installations that invite consumers to participate actively. By directly involving the audience in the marketing experience, brands can create positive associations, generate word-of-mouth, and encourage social media sharing.
Some common examples of experiential marketing include:
- Pop-up shops and events: Temporary retail spaces or events that offer unique, branded experiences for a limited time. Pop-up shops can feature product demonstrations, exclusive merchandise, or interactive installations to engage visitors.
- Product sampling and demonstrations: Allowing potential customers to try out a product or service firsthand, either in-store or at an event, to showcase its benefits and encourage immediate purchase.
- Immersive installations: Creating large-scale, interactive installations that incorporate elements like virtual reality, augmented reality, or other cutting-edge technologies to provide consumers with a memorable and shareable brand experience.
- Workshops and classes: Offering workshops, classes, or other educational events where customers can learn new skills or gain insights related to the brand’s products or services.
- Sponsorships and partnerships: Working with other businesses, influencers, or events to create unique, brand-aligned experiences that resonate with the target audience.
Experiential marketing campaigns require careful planning, execution, and measurement to ensure their effectiveness. Brands can develop long-term growth, differentiate themselves from competition, and thrill and engage consumers through designing experiences.
3. Stealth marketing
Stealth marketing, also known as undercover marketing or buzz marketing, is a guerilla marketing method that advertises a product or service without the target audience knowing. It creates authenticity and genuine interest in a brand, product, or service to increase sales and word-of-mouth.
Stealth marketing relies on subtlety, using covert tactics to integrate the promotion into the consumer’s everyday life in a seemingly natural way. The audience is often unaware that they are encountering a marketing campaign, which can make the message feel more genuine and trustworthy.
Common examples of stealth marketing include:
- Influencer marketing: Partnering with influencers or celebrities to promote a product or service in a subtle manner, often without explicitly disclosing the paid partnership. Influencers may share their experiences with the product on social media, blogs, or other platforms, making the promotion seem like a personal endorsement.
- Product placements: Integrating items or services into movies, TV shows, video games, or other entertainment in a smooth way to make the advertising feel natural.
- Brand ambassadors: Recruiting individuals to promote a brand, product, or service through their personal networks, often without disclosing their relationship with the company. This can include wearing branded merchandise, attending events, or sharing positive experiences on social media.
- Astroturfing: Creating phony reviews, testimonials, or endorsements to make a product or service seem popular.
Stealth marketing can generate awareness and intrigue, but it’s deception can make it contentious. Marketers should be cautious when using stealth marketing tactics and consider the potential ethical implications and legal regulations surrounding this approach to ensure they maintain transparency and protect their brand reputation.
4. Viral marketing
Viral marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating highly shareable content or experiences, encouraging people to spread the message rapidly and organically across various channels, especially on social media platforms. It uses word-of-mouth and social sharing to build brand exposure and buzz.
Viral marketing strategies often use humor, surprise, emotion, or shock value to grab the audience’s attention and get them to share the material. When executed effectively, viral marketing can result in a significant increase in brand exposure, website traffic, and sales, often with minimal investment.
Some common examples of viral marketing include:
- Viral videos: Creating entertaining, informative, or emotionally resonant videos that are designed to be shared widely on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok.
- Memes and GIFs: Developing humorous or relatable images, animations, or other visual content that can be easily shared on social media platforms, often incorporating popular culture references or trends.
- Hashtag campaigns: Crafting a unique, catchy, and memorable hashtag that encourages users to participate in a social media campaign, often by sharing their own content, experiences, or opinions related to the brand, product, or service.
- User-generated content: Encouraging people to develop and distribute brand-related content through contests, challenges, or other incentives.
- Influencer partnerships: Collaborating with influencers or celebrities to create shareable content or experiences that reach a wider audience and have a higher likelihood of going viral.
Viral marketing initiatives involve originality, innovation, and a thorough understanding of the target audience to generate content that resonates and inspires sharing. A viral marketing campaign’s effectiveness hinges on timing, relevancy, and content appeal, thus it’s unpredictable. However, when executed well, viral marketing has the potential to deliver significant results with minimal investment.
5. Street marketing
Street marketing is guerilla marketing that uses unconventional methods to promote a product, service, or brand in public locations. It aims to attract potential customers in their everyday surroundings, creating buzz and brand interest. By engaging with the audience directly and unexpectedly, street marketing campaigns aim to create memorable experiences and impressions that lead to increased brand awareness and sales.
Some common examples of street marketing include:
- Street performances and flash mobs: Organizing impromptu performances or flash mobs in busy public spaces to entertain and surprise passersby while promoting the brand, product, or service.
- Interactive installations: Creating large-scale, eye-catching installations in public spaces that encourage passersby to engage with the brand through touch, sound, or other interactive elements.
- Live product demonstrations: Showcasing the benefits and features of a product or service through live demonstrations in public areas, allowing potential customers to experience the product firsthand.
- Branded street art and graffiti: Commissioning street artists to produce murals, graffiti, or other art that incorporates the brand’s logo, message, or product in a compelling way.
- Distributing promotional materials: Handing out samples, flyers, or promotional items in high-traffic areas, often accompanied by brand ambassadors or representatives to engage with potential customers and answer questions.
Effective street marketing requires originality, ingenuity, and target audience knowledge. To achieve a favorable impact and prevent legal concerns, street marketing campaigns must consider location, time, and local rules. By executing well-planned and engaging street marketing campaigns, brands can leave a lasting impression on potential customers and generate buzz in a cost-effective and memorable way.
Things To Consider Before Staging Guerilla Marketing
Before staging a guerilla marketing campaign, it is crucial to consider several factors to ensure the campaign’s success and avoid potential pitfalls. Consider these key points:
- Target audience: Understand the target audience’s habits, tastes, and preferences. This information is essential for designing a campaign that resonates with them and captures their attention effectively.
- Campaign goals: Establish clear objectives for the guerilla marketing campaign, such as increasing brand awareness or boosting sales. These goals will influence campaign development and success.
- Creativity and innovation: Guerilla marketing relies on unique, surprising, and memorable tactics to stand out from traditional marketing methods. Spend time thinking of fresh concepts that will impress the audience.
- Budget: While guerilla marketing is often more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods, it is essential to determine a budget for the campaign. This budget should cover expenses such as materials, personnel, and permits, if necessary.
- Location and timing: Choose the campaign’s placement and time based on foot traffic, visibility, and target audience relevance. The location and timing should maximize the campaign’s impact and help reach the target audience effectively.
- Legal and ethical considerations: Research and comply with local regulations, laws, and permits related to marketing activities in public spaces. Additionally, consider the ethical implications of the campaign and avoid tactics that may be seen as deceptive, intrusive, or offensive.
- Risk assessment: Evaluate potential challenges associated with the guerilla marketing campaign, such as negative public reactions. Develop contingency plans to address these risks and ensure the campaign’s success.
How to Monitor and Measure a Guerilla Marketing Campaign
To evaluate a guerrilla marketing campaign and make data-driven marketing decisions, it must be monitored and measured. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and evaluating data can help you assess campaign success and find areas for improvement. Here are some ways to track your guerrilla marketing campaign:
- Define your objectives: Set marketing goals like brand exposure, website traffic, leads, or sales before starting. These objectives will serve as a guide for selecting relevant KPIs to measure the success of your campaign.
- Choose relevant KPIs: Select KPIs that directly relate to your campaign objectives. Some common KPIs for guerilla marketing campaigns include the number of impressions and sales conversions.
- Set up tracking tools: Implement tracking tools and software to monitor your selected KPIs. Some useful tools include Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics, and CRM systems to track leads and sales.
- Collect data: Throughout your guerilla marketing campaign, gather data on your chosen KPIs using the tracking tools you’ve set up. This data will help you assess the effectiveness of your campaign and identify trends or patterns.
- Analyze results: After your campaign has concluded, analyze the data you’ve collected to evaluate the campaign’s performance. Compare the results to your initial objectives and examine any discrepancies or areas for improvement.
- Gather qualitative feedback: Collect qualitative feedback from your target audience and any partners involved in the campaign. This feedback can provide valuable insights into the campaign’s effectiveness and areas for improvement.
Summary Checklist of Action Plans on Guerilla Hotel/Resort Marketing Strategies
- Identify target audience and objectives: Define the guerrilla marketing campaign’s audience and aims.
- Develop creative concepts: Brainstorm original, inventive ideas that match the brand’s identity and appeal to the target demographic.
- Collaborate with local influencers and businesses: Increase marketing reach and effect with partnerships.
- Implement multiple channels: Use social media, email marketing, and outdoor advertising to cover all bases.
- Monitor and measure success: Track and analyze campaign performance to improve future strategies.
In conclusion, guerilla marketing strategies provide hotel and resort owners and marketing professionals with a cost-effective way to stand out. By implementing creative tactics and leveraging multiple channels, hotels and resorts can significantly boost their bottom line.
Embracing guerilla marketing strategies not only helps hotels and resorts make an impression on their target audience. It also encourages deeper customer engagement and loyalty. As the industry continues to evolve, business owners and marketing professionals should consider incorporating these tactics into their marketing mix. By doing so, they will be better positioned to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace and attract more guests.