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Five online marketing resources for hospitality brands

The latest government guidelines have thrown the hospitality industry another curve ball in the last month, heightening the sense of uncertainty that many believed was slowly coming to an end. While your usual marketing processes may not be your current priority as your venue continues to readjust, the visibility of your brand and accessibility of your communications are perhaps more important than ever before. To help you to manage, plan and refine your marketing activity in this challenging period, we’ve outlined five of our favourite online tools and resources for hotels, restaurants and venues, including how to make the most of each site’s features for your brand. 

VisitBritain

VisitBritain is our national tourism agency, dedicated to increasing the success, value and productivity of the British tourism sector. Their mission is not only to target potential holidaymakers (both domestic and overseas), but also offer support and guidance to the hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses at the heart of the industry. 

For this reason, the agency runs two main websites - www.visitbritain.com for holidaymakers and www.visitbritain.org for corporate content. With an array of engaging blog posts, practical information and tailored recommendations, the former is a wonderful place to look for wording and content examples to inspire your own activity, from “things to do” features and destination highlights to important information and key safety considerations. 

Meanwhile, the corporate site delves deeper into the news, advice, opportunities and research which apply to hospitality and tourism professionals, providing a treasure trove of recent insights, data and statistics which you can use to inform your digital strategies. Research into current consumer sentiment during the coronavirus pandemic, for example, may offer guidance on how best to phrase and present your content, while other sections provide details of opportunities and campaigns you can get involved in to build community and expand your reach. 

TripAdvisor

As the world’s largest travel site, the benefits of using TripAdvisor may seem obvious to those who have merely taken a glimpse at its interface, but the site’s influence can extend much further if its full range of features are well utilised. 

Review Express, for example, drives new visitor reviews by directly contacting recent guests with a simple link for them to follow and leave their feedback, while advertising opens further possibilities to reach a wider audience and appear at the top of user searches. With a Business Advantage subscription, account holders can access insightful analytics, display top images and offers, create enticing content and do even more to showcase the character and story of their business. The whole site is also an inspirational resource for content, customer service processes and imagery, with millions of listings from destinations of all sorts. 

Maintaining an active and consistent presence on TripAdvisor is essential for all hospitality businesses in terms of managing their reputation, remaining visible and building audience confidence, but the site’s extended features give it further significance as a resource. 

Planoly 

In such a visual industry, imagery and aesthetics are king, making Instagram a vital tool for hospitality-focused brands. Planoly is an online social marketing tool and official partner of both Instagram and Pinterest, ensuring that its features are entirely safe to use without fear of profile deactivation. 

Though the platform also links to Facebook and Twitter, we particularly included the tool in this list for its Instagram integration, which allows users to plan the appearance of their profilewall, create hashtag collections, design Stories and schedule content in advance. The service streamlines the process of sharing regular posts on the platform and empowers users to establish a consistent, engaging online aesthetic, informed by the character of their brand identity. Within hospitality, this presence is vital for visual storytelling and increasing desire in your audience, helping them to picture themselves immersed in the experience offered by your destination. 

By providing such a wonderful opportunity to plan, organise and present this picture, Planoly equips hospitality marketers with the tools they need to effectively show potential guests why they should visit rather than simply telling them. The service operates under a freemium model, with restricted uploads and users on the free version and upgrade prices starting from $7 per month. 

Atomize 

Digital advancement has transformed marketing into a practice based on data. Every online action undertaken by users is tracked and recorded, allowing those with access to such data to develop strategies informed by purchase behaviour, patterns of activity and audience segmentation. 

This “data revolution” has facilitated tools like Atomize, a revenue management system created specifically for hotels and resorts. The system automatically recommends pricing structures in real-time based on market changes, demand and availability, saving valuable time and constantly optimising revenue, with an average uplift of 15% after 12 months. With the current climate making the market even more unpredictable, Atomize’s features have the potential to improve profits and offer some form of stability to hospitality businesses across the industry.

Central hotel teams can easily manage multiple properties through the system, and pricing starts at €6 per room, per month (€499). 

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Earlier in the year, hospitality businesses were locked down as the rest of the world was, driving those within the industry to highlight alternative income sources. While some diversified their product with delivery and shopping services, others elevated gift campaigns which placed focus on future stays and the promise of eventual escapism. 

Now, with increasing uncertainty and some with less access to hospitality than others, a maintained focus on gift experiences may be the ideal way for consumers to offer their continued support. Toggle, a gift card platform with an array of hospitality-based clients, offers a simple and powerful platform for the sale, promotion and distribution of gift experiences. Users can easily upload vouchers or packages with availability specifications, pricing, discount codes and descriptions, all of which are branded with your materials and displayed on a “skinnable” web shop on your website. 

The platform offers hospitality professionals the simple management of vouchers, packages and experiences in a way that content management systems often overcomplicate, once again refining the customer journey and improving user experience. What’s more, set-up requires no contract and users are only charged once they have made £1000 worth of sales through the site. 

The hospitality industry currently faces an array of challenges which simply could not have been previously anticipated. By incorporating resources such as these into your marketing strategies, you will begin to streamline processes, save time and empower your team to spend more time on the people at the heart of the sector. 

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