Top 10 channels for destination marketers

Author: Samuel Dunsiger

We’ve all heard the adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” For destination marketing, it holds true. In today’s multi-channel marketing landscape, hotel and destination marketers have a wide range of opportunities to grow their brand and reach new stakeholders, guests and corporate partners. Here are the top 10 channels to kick your marketing efforts in high gear and increase brand awareness. 1) Social media We live in a social media world. The number of Americans who actively use social media jumped from 5% in 2005, when social media was first adopted, to 69% in 2018, according to Pew Research. For hotel marketers, this presents the perfect opportunity to reach new customers. Managing active pages on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allows you to engage with customers directly. 2) Live events About 73% of B2B marketers say that events are better than other tactics for customer engagement. After all, events provide a more personalized aspect to your marketing initiatives, allowing you to connect with consumers in-person. In addition to showcasing your property, planning events also allows you to  show off what your events, culinary and meetings teams can do for potential clients and partners. 3) Website design For any destination marketer, the website is at the heart of their brand. Your website represents a guest’s first experience with your site…well, until they actually get there! That’s why it’s important to ensure that your website is clean, user-friendly and easy to navigate. 4) Video content If content is king, then video content must be the emperor. According to Cisco, by 2020, videos will make up more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic. After all, it’s engaging, easier to digest and shareable. It’s also a great way for potential customers to explore your site virtually. 5) User-generated content User-generated content refers to content being developed by the consumer about your brand. For destination marketers, this is an exciting opportunity – not only is it thrilling that guests are having a great enough time that they want to share photos or videos, but it’s also content you can leverage! Consider hosting photo or video contests and giveaways to further engage users. 6) Blogs We may be living in an age of social media, but don’t underestimate the power of blogs. It still holds relevance as an opportunity to provide valuable content, such as community events, and hotel news and announcements. But, 43% of users skim through blog posts, according to HubSpot. So, it’s important to use a mix of photos, videos and other visual tools to make your content stand out. 7) Email marketing Email remains to be a best-bet digital marketing channel, allowing you to reach customers directly in their inbox about your site’s events, holiday specials or other offerings. Targeted messages that match your guests’ interests are a great way to stay connected with them throughout the year. But keep your emails short and sweet. The average subscriber spends about 11 seconds reading your email. You heard that right: 11 seconds. 8) SEO Over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic. Search engine optimization (SEO) remains a valuable marketing channel to keep your brand front and center. For the hospitality industry, most customers rely on search engines as they scope out places to stay. So stay on top of your SEO and ensure your content is optimized for the web. 9) Paid advertising In addition to organic optimization, consider including advertising in your marketing strategy too. According to WordStream, 64.6% of Americans click on Google Ads when they are in the market for a product or service. You can use Google Ads (which was recently rebranded from AdWords) or social media ads to target users based on location, interests or other key differentiators. 10) Online reviews and feedback Not only do customers rely on search engines, but they definitely also scope out reviews of potential sites. You certainly need to provide quality experiences for guests to secure positive reviews. But you can also offer incentives for customers to provide feedback. What marketing channels do you use the most? Are some channels faring better than others for you? If you have any marketing tips or insights to share, please let us know. We would love to hear from you!