What hospitality professionals can discover by reading this article:
1. How to find out where your real prospects are – and make sure you are there too.
2. How to appear on Google Searches, with or without Google Ads or a website.
3. How to get non-competitive businesses in your area to send you clients.
Before your prospective guests ever get on a plane or step into their car, they visit dozens of destinations where you have an opportunity to engage them and to present your business as the solution they are looking for.
This is their “online journey” to you.
In addition to all the websites and portals they visit before booking their accommodation, once they’ve arrived in your area, they’re likely to visit the same places as other visitors. You probably know which landmarks and popular businesses these are, but some of these places might actually surprise you.
If you’re looking to book more guests, find out where your prospects are and make sure you are there too.
If you’re really looking for results, find them where their attention is under-priced and engage them with some really thoughtful, powerful messaging.
Here are two places you need to be to book more guests
First: Where they are online
How many sites, portals and social media pages are your guests visiting before they find you?
For anyone looking for accommodation, Google is an obvious first stop. Your prospect’s first ten destinations are most likely all on the first page of search results for “accommodation in (your area)” .
Your prospective guests are also bound to look up the social media pages of your competitors – and hopefully yours!
Google, Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, booking.com, safarinow.com – it’s not possible to get your messaging everywhere. So where should you be?
Google “Accomodation in (your area)”.
In most cases, this is how your prospective guests will start their own journey. So how do you make sure that your business appears on Google when when they are searching?
1. Pay for a Google Ad. It’s easy.
2. Create your own website content and compete with other pages to appear on the first page of results.
Don’t want to create Google Ads or your own website content?
Note all the sites that appear on the first page of Google search results for “Accommodation in (your area).” How many of those sites do you appear on?
If your business can appear on bookings.com, Airbnb or any of the other sites on Google’s first page of results, either as a listing, advert or recommendation, you will be able to get your messaging in front of every potential guest searching on Google at the exact time they are most in need your services.
Before ever arriving in your area, the next place your guests are most likely to be is on social media.
Your competitors have social media pages. So should you. If someone finds out about your business and looks you up on social media, help them imagine themselves staying with you.
This can mean sharing any of the following:
- Your rooms
- Your facilities
- Activities you offer
- Food and food services
- Guest stories
- Staff stories
You don’t even have to create content about your actual business. Sell your area. Just make sure anyone who sees that content can get directly to your page, or to your website, in one click.
Want to see serious results? Focus on producing video on these topics.
Where else? Find out!
A podcast? Tiktok? A travel forum that didn’t exist 6 months ago but now has hundreds of thousands of community members, and which all your competitors are clambering to get on to?
Don’t be discouraged by your lack of awareness of these spaces. That’s what makes them valuable!
When much of your audience’s attention is focused in relatively unknown spaces, that attention can be very under-priced, making those spaces incredibly valuable for you if you can sniff them out.
Ask your guests where they found out about you. Ask other people in your industry. Do some investigation. If you can get on a platform like that very early, your potential for new business can explode.
2nd: Where your prospects are going
The second place you need to be to book more guests are the places that you know they are going to be.
Write down the 20 places in your area that someone visiting would be likely to see.
- Viewing spots
- Driving routes
- Public parks
- Botanical gardens
- Popular restaurants
- Other popular businesses
They don’t have to be places your area is famous for. It could be the small patch of veld you have to walk to from the main road in order to get the best view of a particular landmark 30km away.
Are you thinking about being visible in these place? If not, here is how you can start.
Putting print in the right place
Print advertising is dead? Bad print advertising maybe. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to gain from a little creativity and strategic thinking.
Imagine that you wanted to promote morning yoga classes for your business. You could reach a few dozen people with a good Facebook post, or a few hundred with a Facebook ad. But how many of those people are likely to come to tomorrow’s 10am session?
Now, imagine something else.
You produce an ad like this, print out 10 copies and make them visible at the top of every popular hiking trail, viewing spot or driving rest area within 10km of your business.
Every person experiencing back pain after finishing any of those popular walks and drives would be able to relate to this image. Not only that, but a lot them should be able to make it to that 10am session.
It’s much easier to produce effective print advertising when you know where your targets are and how they might feel there.
Cross-promotion and co-marketing
Still have that list of 20 popular places in your area? Which businesses and restaurants did you think of?
Time for a new list: Which non-competitive businesses in your area would be open to cross-promoting or co-marketing with you?
Cross-promoting could be as simple as you and another business allowing each other to place flyers on each other’s reception counters. It could also be a little more sophisticated. For example, you could offer discounted rates to clients of a particular travel agency, in exchange for that agency promoting your business to their clients.
The same goes for co-marketing. Imagine that a big part of your branding is eco-friendliness. You could find a non-competitive business who also has that focus, like a bio-degradable bamboo straw company. You could ensure that your business only uses their straws and then both businesses can create marketing campaigns together focusing on your eco-friendliness.
Knowing where your prospects are going to be – bookings.com, Instagram, a viewing deck after a long walk, the office of a travel agency after a long drive – empowers you to market to them with the knowledge of where they are and how they might feel there.
To book more guests, focus on being in those places with the right messaging. Get creative, find the places where attention is under-priced – and capitalise on it.
What is a guest’s most important moment?
From your website to your booking form, your confirmation email to their flight booking, from arriving at your door to leaving your property: in reality there is no “one moment”.
Their experience as a website visitor, a lead and finally a customer should be one perfectly organised, seamless experience.
LeadSquared provides an all-in-one solution to lead management, helping you collect and track leads from all your online and offline sources. With tools like lead scoring, lead qualification and lead distribution, you always know who your hottest leads are and where they are in your sales funnel. You can also automate tasks like follow-ups and scheduling to continue growing the relationship at scale.
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