Mothering Sunday in the UK always falls on a Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. With the help of VIP Worldwide we explore how you can get creative with your overnight packages and offers in readiness for Mother’s Day. However, rather than focusing upon just one day for your marketing efforts we suggest it’s best to have a strategy in place for the year where you can use key milestones such as Mothers’ Day to plan for specific campaigns and contests.
We go back to basics before starting out on any potential marketing campaign. As the marketing guru Peter Drucker says understanding the customer is key to getting your marketing right. It is important to set out your Aims and goals. For example; what would be your desired outcomes? Are you looking to raise brand awareness or increase sales?
Then you need to look at your target audience and their behaviours. If you have a customer data- base you can segment into categories such as; age, location etc If you also garner customer feedback following guest stays then you will also be access in- formation such as to what they find valuable in their stay. Traditional review sites are also key information and rich data sources.
Next, it is important if you haven’t already to identify your key competitors and look at the rea- sons why customers may choose them over you.
Following this information gathering exercise you should be in a position to then be able look at what your Unique Selling Proposition is. Why do your customers choose your business and what makes the service you provide unique?
A SWOT analysis is also invaluable as it will help you step outside of the day to day operational management of your business to look at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities. These often change so it is always best practice to re-visit your SWOT within the year.
For example, your marketing messaging might focus on the areas you are doing better than competitors and you can make a start to address any weaknesses you identify before you start on a new marketing campaign.
Next you will need to take a closer look at your Marketing channels especially which ones would be appropriate to your target audience and shortlist to your Top 3 which add the most value to your customers. These might be; Electronic Mail/News- letter, Instagram and Facebook.
You now will have gained essential information about your business and your customers you need to start to look at your desired messaging and any potential calls to action for your marketing campaigns.
We can then start to move into the next stage to get your campaign up and running and ensure maximum reach and engagement. Many business- es will look to leverage capabilities they do not have and look at a collaboration of mutual benefit.
A vital consideration is budget and to look at how much you are able to spend on your campaigns.
Lastly, you will need to build in both an element of measurement and review to judge the success of your campaign and set key timescales.
Learning from the disruptors
Forward-thinking giants like Airbnb have and will continue to disrupt the hospitality economy through innovation. Many properties listed on their site already offer access to guests staying at the property to Spa facilities as a unique selling point.
A Luxury barn listing in Stoke Ash also offers a hot tub, masseur, spa / gym offer in their write up. “A beautiful barn with private hot tub perfect for a romantic break, for ramblers and cyclists exploring Suffolk and Norfolk and for professionals based locally”.
They have looked at their target audience; “Couples, Ramblers, Cyclists” and their guest information and have positioned the marketing message to speak directly to them. They have also demonstrated high-levels of customer understanding and appealed to their demographics, and behaviours.
Their USP they offer is also a key differentiator and sets them apart from their competitors and is based upon guest’s preferences.
A masseur can be booked for Indian head, hot stone, therapeutic and sports massages on site.
They have also used their collaboration skills to work closely with a nearby gym.
It is important to keep up to date with latest developments and specific trend reports. Recently, Pinterest published their predicted wellness trends for 2018 based upon an analysis of the most pinned pins. Many of these emerging trends and themes could also work to differentiate your offering. Such as the promotion of; “self-care staycations” this does not have to be limited to Mother’s Day. Self-care is a growing trend for 2018 that you can tap into throughout year.
It was also reported that 2018 will be the year we all start doing Tai Chi. Pin saves for the exercise have gone up by 189%. Offering Tai Chi classes or the ability to have a 1-1 class would be a USP for your guests.
The ability to leverage your brand through entrepreneurial capabilities will ultimately lead to a competitive advantage.
To succeed in forming successful collaborations make sure you can also offer value to your partners. For the best results do thorough research before settling on a partner. Look for partners who share the same ethics and you stand for similar values.
Local, Regional and National Tourism Strategy
- Local and regional Tourism Destinations
- Take part in a number of marketing oppor- tunities through the year, helping to promote your business through working with the local tourist board.
Once you have a campaign in place then you need to explore which marketing and social media channels you will use. You will also need to consider how you engage with your existing followers and reach new followers. There are various ways of doing this, but it could involve, organic marketing, paid marketing or even working with key influencers to have target your audience by association.
Social media is a powerful method for marketing because it is affordable, cost -effective and it makes de- veloping relationships with partners that much easier.
Contests and Competitions
Contests and competitions are good strategies to increase visibility for annual events, exclusive offers and accommodation promotions.
Planning any social media competition, it is important to ensure they are run in line with the guidelines of each platform and they have a set of terms and conditions. You will find contest guidance to follow on each of the social media channels.
We saw the importance of social media video content grow in 2017 and in 2018, video marketing should be an even more important part of your con- tent strategy. Social media videos generate 1,200% more shares than text and images combined! Use video edited to suit each platform and their ideal lengths for increased engagement. There are many software applications you can download to make video affordable for all businesses.
So now you have a campaign idea or a contest in mind you will need to explore what content you will need to drive your marketing message, and where you will host it. You will need to consider all of these elements to ensure your campaign is a success and reaches your target audience at the right time.
Kirsty Beasley, Director of Marketing MBA MCIM MCIPR Chartered Marketer
Kirsty is a multi-award winning Chartered Marketer, CIPR and MBA graduate with over 16 years’ experi- ence in strategic marketing. She has a proven record of accomplishment and success in the creation of digital marketing, public relations and social media strategies in international travel and tourism.
This feature was first published in the Feb/Mar 2018 issue of InnKeeper Magazine