A hotel marketing plan is your action plan to fill the rooms of your new hotel. A marketing plan focuses on the four Ps (Product, Promotion, Price and Place), but doesn’t neglect customer retention and key partnerships. All of these elements should be specific to your hotel’s intended customers and the geographic area.
1) Product – Your hotel’s services
For every hotel, the basic product offered is the same service – use of a bed for a night. Beyond this similarity, there are endless ways to differentiate your service. Services can include entertainment (i.e., in-room cable, on-premises nightclub), food (i.e., chocolates on a pillow to a five-star restaurant), communication (i.e., free local calls, wireless internet), and health (i.e., a pool, fitness center, spa). Consider whether unusual services will be a draw for your customers or if you are better off providing the tried and true. Whatever you choose, present the information clearly and in just enough detail so that readers understand the level and type of service provided.
2) Promotion – How to get the word out
Promotion is how you make your people aware of your hotel and its unique value proposition and convert them into guests. The promotional tools you use depends entirely on the customers you seek. Rather than thinking about how other hotels seek customers, think from the customer’s point of view. How do your desired customers seek hotels? Make sure yours can be found where they are looking, whether this is in travel books, magazines, websites, or elsewhere. Remember that the most powerful type of advertising is the kind that money cannot buy – press. Consider whether a public relations strategy can help make this happen.
3) Price – The right rates for your hotel
Your marketing plan must show where you want your pricing to fall within the market’s range. The choice of price ties directly to your hotel’s profitability, but also to the brand you are trying to build in the minds of customers. If you bill your hotel as extremely upscale, but price it in the middle of the pack, customers may not believe your assertions that you are the next Ritz-Carlton. Pricing is about finding the right price to both represent what your hotel is and to cover costs, leaving room for profit.
4) Place – Where customers and your services meet
Place is more than the choice of location for your hotel. “Place” in this context means distribution, and this is the choice of how customers will book hotel rooms and receive other services you provide. This can be through websites, travel agents, or a dedicated sales staff, each of which have their own cost and benefit tradeoffs. Distribution of services continues inside your hotel and involves both your staff and your means to communicate with your guests (i.e., phone systems, TV ordering, even doorknob signs).
5) Customer Retention
Most of the cost of providing service to a customer is in getting them to buy for the first time. To keep a customer returning should be significantly cheaper than getting a new one so explain your retention strategy. For example, loyalty programs provide incentives for repeat visits and customer relationship management (CRM) software can save data on the preferences and activity of individual guests to make returning more enjoyable for them.
Finally, consider how you will work with your hotel’s neighbors, local government, and other stakeholders to build business. There may be potential for you to either get guests from or send guests to many local businesses, improving the experience the overall experience for those customers. Consider mentioning a few key partnerships that will pay off because of their importance to both parties. Don’t stretch yourself too think by proposing to partner with every business on your street. Describe any successful legwork you have done to inquire about the possibility of making those partnerships a reality.