Boutiques VS Big Brands - Why Smaller Properties Have a Big Advantage in Hospitality Marketing

In a society dominated by large corporations and chain businesses, it can often seem like the appeal of a boutique or independent hotel is overlooked. Consumers are always on the hunt for the next best (and big) thing – and that can be a hospitality marketing challenge for local or mom-and-pop tourism businesses. 

To add to the problem, the global hotel industry is booming. It’s expected to grow by nearly 20 percent in the next year alone. Tourism is finally restarting after the COVID-19 pandemic, and after a year of travel restrictions, people are eager to jumpstart their next vacations.

With this amount of projected growth in the travel industry, independent and boutique businesses must maximize their marketing strategies to stand a chance against big hotel brands.

The good news? Boutique hotels actually have some serious competitive edges in the tourism market.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the benefits of small hospitality businesses - both for the owners/employees and for the travelers that use them. Our goal is to reveal how small hotels can engage modern travelers with hospitality marketing in ways that franchise hotels cannot.

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influencer marketing for hotels | lure agency

Influencer Marketing Can Boost Your Hospitality Business – How to Do It Effectively

What do you think of when you hear the term “influencer?” What about a “travel influencer?” 

There’s a lot of fuss surrounding this new career, as well as the worth of influencer marketing for hotels and the tourism industry. The question is, should your hotel be working with influencers – or is this just a passing advertising trend that doesn’t hold real value?

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How Creating Content Builds Relationships and ROI in the Hospitality Industry

We know what you’re thinking: haven’t we already talked about how important content is in hotel content marketing strategies? We all know that content is “king” when it comes to marketing your brand. Most companies are churning out some kind of content to increase their audience and revenue.

However, what many people don’t talk about is the network of connections that are formed by strong content. When done properly, a content marketing strategy extends your brand’s reach beyond the borders of your own website or social media account. 

Being a part of a “content community” grants your hospitality business access to a bigger audience and powerful partners. The more you expand your network with excellent content, the better your return on investment will be in the long run.

Today on the LURE blog, let’s talk about hotel marketing content that reaches a connected, thriving community rather than disjointed, one-off customers.

Hotel Marketing: Build Relationships for Maximum ROI

How does creating the right kind of content grow relationships and ROI for your hospitality brand?

Let’s talk about it.

Find Collaboration Opportunities

When you create influential content, you form relationships with other brands, content creators, and customers to further promote your message. Let us explain.

A “content relationship” is a mutually beneficial connection formed with other content creators or brands. 

Guest posting and link sharing are also elements of content collaborations. With a guest post, you expand your own content creation capabilities while also promoting the benefits of your content partner. It’s a valuable form of content production - one that should benefit you as much as your audience.

hotel marketing

Image Source: Travel Update

Sometimes, a guest post is simply “sponsored” by another brand, such as the example above in which Travel Update included paid-for links from relevant hotels. In other cases, a representative from a different brand will actually play the role of a “guest” on another website, creating unique content on behalf of their partner.

Beyond guest posts, there’s also an opportunity to form public partnerships. Take a look at the popular relationship between Starbucks and Spotify - two very different brands with a powerful connection.

Image Source: Spotify

Starbucks is known for its premium coffee shop hospitality - it’s a part of their brand image, including the music they use to craft the perfect ambience in its shops. As a music streaming platform, Spotify saw the opportunity to forge an innovative co-branding partnership. Starbucks fans were drawn to Spotify’s platform, and Spotify users got in touch with the musical element of Starbucks branding.

Finding content collaborations is a huge step in maximizing your hospitality marketing ROI. Your brand benefits from reaching a wider audience, whether it’s through a guest post or a co-branding partnership. Additionally, such partnerships help you build relevant links across the web - something Google loves to see when it comes to hotel SEO.

Being Part of a Bigger Community Builds Trust

Another reason to create content for the sake of relationships? You need connections to be reputable. 

Who has more credibility - the lone wolf that no one seems to support or willingly work with? Or the company that’s a part of something bigger? 

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report (2020), trust in a brand is second only to a product’s price. If you want a strong return on your investment with hospitality marketing, you 100 percent need to ensure that people are learning to trust your company based on the content you’re producing.

This is especially true in the hospitality industry. COVID-19 has left us all on edge - are people going to trust your travel-related business after a pandemic with global shutdowns?

Strong content sets you up as an authority within your niche. Google and real consumers want to see that you’re connected in your field of expertise. They want to know they can trust your content, as well as the products and services you are selling.

A great way to build credibility is to pull in other experts from across the web. For instance, if Travel Awaits wants to seem like a credible source for trip planning information, they need to work with real travel experts - such as the travel experts they pulled in for this blog post. Even the title encourages people to think, “Hey, this website seems to know what it’s talking about.

Image Source: Travel Awaits

If you are able to form relationships and create content that earns your audience’s trust, bingo. That’s where the hospitality sales come in.

Get to Know Your Customers Better 

Content works to create relationships with your actual buyers. When you craft content that targets the right people and gets them talking, that’s when your ROI goes up. 

Customers are always in the process of moving through a “buying journey.” They start with simple awareness about your product, and with your help, they’ll make their way to the final stage: actually purchasing your product or service.

To really play into this buying journey, you need to understand what your customers want/need, then create content that fits the bill in a meaningful, authentic way.

Image Source: HubSpot Instagram

Now, more than ever, you need to know what’s guiding your customer’s purchasing decisions.

-          What are the problems they’re encountering?

-          What do they want to know?

-          How can your brand provide the solutions they seek? 

If you don’t know the answers to questions like these, just ask! 

Use content as a platform for learning about and engaging with your customers, as well as other patrons. Trust us: that’s where the real revenue comes into play.

Remember that content doesn’t just play a role in the digital realm. It can also serve as a tool for engaging in the real world and with local communities.

Image Source: Tribal Village

If you have volunteer opportunities to engage nearby travelers, write about them. If you’re hosting a fundraiser, event, or big meeting, let people know. The more traction you can gain with your local community via content, the better. The influence of your content shouldn’t stop at the borders of digital devices. 

Research shows that over 50 percent of your brand’s reputation comes from online sociability. The more leads you can generate by working with real customers, companies, and bloggers, the more your brand’s reputation will translate to a high ROI. 

Purpose, Purpose, Purpose 

Creating content does build relationships - but only when the content has a real purpose.

A “partnership” with no core goal or shared objective won’t last long. You need to find content partnerships that actually push your brand toward a better future - and that means creating purposeful content that patrons and other brands can really get behind. 

Image Source: 1 Hotels

For instance, look at the 1 Hotels brand. They’re all about sustainability in travel - which means they are very picky about their hotel marketing partnerships and the type of content they produce. That might limit them when it comes to some revenue opportunities, but as a whole, it’s a powerful way to imbue purpose into their content and products.

Customers are proud to say they “partner” with Hotel 1 when there’s such a great purpose to support. They want to partner with a brand that has meaning behind its name, and this brand ensures that all of their partners are working toward a bigger, better purpose than just turning a profit. 

Ask yourself: what is your hospitality brand’s purpose? We’re not talking about your sales goals or products - we’re talking about the big picture objective behind it all. If you can’t nail that concept down and convey it in your hotel content marketing strategies, you’ll struggle to form powerful relationships with others.

Draw More Eyes to Your Brand 

Lastly, we want to share an obvious but important idea: more attention = a higher return on investment in almost any case.

At the end of the day, does a piece of content that’s never seen make a sound? 

Does it really help your return on investment?

Probably not. That’s where partnerships for the sake of attention come into play.

Think about partnering with social media influencers. You don’t do it because you’re just dying to work with the popular Instagrammer or YouTuber. You do it because they have a wide audience, and a partnership with them puts you in the line of sight of very valuable buyers.

Image Source: The Blonde Abroad Instagram

Additionally, influencer partnerships can be big time savers. You’re essentially outsourcing the content creation to a powerful partner with a wide reach. They create the blog post, image, video, or email - you simply reap the rewards for a price. 

Of course, influencer partnerships aren’t the only content relationships that get more eyes on your hospitality products and services. You’ll also want to form relationships that encourage people to share your content more.

Image Source: Beat of Hawaii

For instance, look at this blog post from Beat of Hawaii. They “partnered” with Hawaiian Airlines to offer their readers a relevant, desirable reward for participating in their content. This gets their readers to not only share their post with others but also to engage more publicly with their brand.

The bottom line? More eyes are always a good thing for your hotel or any other business. Creating the right kind of content partnerships will help you achieve that goal.

Content might be king, but its queen is the network that surrounds it. Your highest returns on investment will appear when you strategically create content to build relationships with brands, websites, and customers. 

Not sure where to begin on your own hospitality online marketing journey? Reach out to our team at LURE Agency. We're all about building relationships and maximizing your revenue with smart hotel marketing.

hotel marketing strategy

Content or Paid: Which is a Better Hotel Marketing Strategy?

When you’re evaluating your hotel marketing strategy and budgets, you’re likely facing a big decision: do you dedicate more funds to content creation or paid ads? Is there a right or wrong decision? Which serves hospitality businesses better?

Unfortunately, there’s not an easy answer to any of those questions. Deciding where to allot money for marketing is a personal decision based on your hotel brand identity and needs.

Although we can’t give you a black and white response, we can help you understand more about each type of marketing. Let’s talk about the differences between content marketing and paid advertising, then dive deeper into each one. 

Hopefully, this piece will help you understand what your hospitality business truly needs more - and where your spending should go when it comes to digital marketing for hotels. Read more

b2b hospitality sales

E-Commerce Isn’t Just a Luxury for B2B Hospitality Sales - Here’s Why

When you hear the word “e-commerce,” you likely think of online retail sites, right? Stores like Amazon, who offer products of all kinds with exemplary delivery services?  

Stop right there - if you’re in the hospitality industry, and you’re still thinking of e-commerce solely in these terms, think again. E-commerce can work wonders for B2B hospitality.

Whether you’re a restaurant, hotel, or tourist attraction, your website must have e-commerce capabilities, especially for group bookings and business offerings. That’s why, as a B2B hotel or company, it’s time for you to start viewing e-commerce marketing tactics as essentials. 

The manner in which people book group travel and business events has changed dramatically. Roughly 68 percent of the B2B buying cycle is completely anonymous - before you have the chance to speak to the prospect. With more and more hotel marketing being done online, it’s time to learn to drive direct bookings to your website.

In this article, we’ll dive into why e-commerce is not just a luxury for businesses like yours. At the same time, we’ll provide you with some guidance for taking your B2B hotel marketing ideas to the next level.

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hotel group sales

How to Increase Hotel Group Sales with Expert Timing

Ever heard the saying “strike while the iron is hot?” The old cliché couldn’t be truer when it comes to hotel group sales.

Booking more than a couple of rooms at once isn’t just a matter of luck - it’s a matter of precise sales timing. Hotel occupancy rates have already declined by more than 42 percent due to the coronavirus, which means expert timing and strategic marketing tactics are essential right now.

 To increase your hotel group sales, you need to think about when to ramp up your marketing - and when to hold back. Going full throttle all of the time wastes your resources, but choosing select months to increase group advertising is smart.

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hospitality sale pros

Why Content is Essential for Hospitality Sales Pros

Right now, what do you think of when the term “hospitality sales” comes to mind?

You likely envision social media promotions, television commercials, and of course, the classic salesperson with a convincing spiel. Although these are all tried-and-true methods, if you ask us, they don’t hold a candle to the power of social selling.

Inbound marketing delivers up to 53 percent more leads monthly than traditional outbound marketing tactics. Even though TikToks and social media posts are all the rage, up to 83 percent of consumers still prefer article and video content over trendier pieces like podcast episodes or infographics.

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hotel marketing

Hotel Marketing: The Best SEO Keyword Research Tips for 2020

Need all the help you can get right now? Tighten up your keyword strategy for some quick wins.

Are we being a little too obvious when we say that hotels and tourism businesses need all the help they can get right now? Probably, but it’s true. A sound hospitality/hotel marketing strategy is more important than ever these days – and this process begins with keyword research.

COVID-19 has caused the hospitality industry’s estimated global revenue to decrease by around 34.7 percent compared to last year. Restaurants are closed. Hotels are shut down indefinitely. Tours, excursions, and fun activities have been put on pause.

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3 B2B Hospitality Sales Practices to Adopt During COVID-19

If you don’t think COVID-19 has influenced your hotel marketing strategy, think again.

Since mid-February, when the pandemic took full effect, hotels have already lost more than $18 billion in room revenue. Nearly 9 out of every 10 hotel rooms have been empty, and the losses aren’t slowing down.

We don’t share these numbers to scare you - but rather to reveal just how seriously the pandemic has impacted both the B2C and B2B hospitality industry. Hoteliers and other hospitality workers are facing a period of revolution. Our marketing strategies and sales practices will need to change dramatically to survive the wave of COVID-19.

Wondering how to best optimize your sales strategies to make it to the other side of this virus. Pay attention: we have some predictions about the practices that hospitality companies need to adopt.

1. Understand How Hospitality Interests Will Change

 First and foremost, we predict that successful sales strategies will revolve around understanding new hospitality interests. What will people want from their tourism and travel experiences post-pandemic?

Obviously, this is a big question and one that we won’t necessarily know how to answer right away. However, there are certain signs that point us toward a shift in hospitality interests, both from consumers and other businesses.

 For instance, let’s start with something basic: a sparkling new interest in sanitation and cleanliness.


Image Source: USA Today

COVID-19 has led many people to care immensely about safe cleaning practices. As a result, hotels and tourism businesses around the world are advertising their sanitization processes more than ever before. From changing all linens daily to wiping down public spaces often, hotels want people to know that they take cleaning very seriously.

 As Best Western’s President and CEO David Kong says, “Most travelers will be hyper-conscious of cleanliness and they will look for hotels that have stringent cleaning protocols in place.”

We also expect hotel content marketing strategies to revolve around an emphasized customer interest in better technology.

Online communication services, streaming platforms, and strong wireless connections have gotten us through this pandemic thus far. Even post-COVID-19, we can assume that people will be accustomed to relying on tools to get them through travel and daily life.

People will want to be able to check-in via their phone, avoiding unnecessary human contact. They’ll want to find smart kiosks, room upgrades, keyless entry, and other high-tech features. Not only will these elements promote enhanced hygiene and safety, but they’ll also bring your hospitality business into the new wave of technology dependency.

As you develop your future hotel online marketing and sales strategies, consider what people will be looking for in post-pandemic travels. The more you can play on these new interests, the easier it will be for your hospitality business to survive.

2. Adopt a Growth Mindset, Not Just a Survival Mindset

The second hospitality B2B sales strategy we predict will be hugely important: your company’s mindset.

We won’t sugarcoat the situation by saying things aren’t hard right now for businesses like yours. Knowing that it could take more than a year for hotel demand to begin recovering, it’s easy to struggle with low morale. You’re likely in survival mode, simply trying to make it from week to week.

However, we can tell you that the hospitality businesses that will thrive, not just survive, are the ones already adopting growth mindsets and new hotel marketing ideas.

Image Source: Medium

Now isn’t the time to cling to your old sales strategies and hang on for the COVID-19 ride. Instead, focus on what’s to come. View the virus as a challenge that can steer you toward future prosperity. Ramp up your marketing instead of slowing down - prove to other businesses and customers that you’re adapting.

Let’s look at some ways that the big hotels are growing rather than just surviving.

Marriott Is Changing the Way People Use Their Credit Cards 

Image Source: CNBC

As hotel booking rates plummet, Marriot has looked for a new way to provide value to loyal customers. That’s why their new Marriott Bonvoy cards offer even better rewards than before on groceries.

Although the brand might not be able to serve its customers like usually, Marriott is doing its best to continue to provide services for its most loyal customers so they return with open wallets once the pandemic has come to an end.

Hyatt Is Launching a Brand New Cleaning Program

Image Source: CaribJournal

 Like many companies, including Marriott and Hilton, Hyatt recently unveiled its new “Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment.” The brand states that it understands how important safety and hygiene has become in light of the virus’s effects, and they are therefore putting the future of travelers’ safety at the forefront of their marketing and cleaning plans.

Hyatt is the first big hospitality company to announce that they plan to commit to GBAC STARTM accreditation. This is basically a program that provides accreditation based on standards of cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.

Wyndham Is Honoring Essential Workers During the Pandemic

Image Source: Loyalty360

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has launched a program called #EverydayHeroes. This provides instant, complimentary Gold membership upgrades to all essential workers who are in the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program. These members receive special discounts, preferred rooms, and other benefits at all Wyndham brands.

As you brainstorm your future hotel email marketing and sales strategies, think like these brands. Adopt strategies that promote your brand’s growth, even when things are challenging.

 Now isn’t the time to sit back and see how things unfold. In order to thrive in the following years, hospitality brands need to jump on the bandwagon and prepare for a post-COVID future.

3. Prepare for a Future Influx

Now, we come to some good news in the world of luxury hotel marketing and hospitality. Many news sources, including USA Today, have openly stated that they anticipate a “travel surge” once coronavirus has died down and restrictions have been lifted.

 So, this brings us to our last sales practice for struggling hospitality businesses: prepare for an influx.

Some hotels, like Oxford Hotels and Resorts, are offering deep discounts and credits for future stays in preparation for the influx. Others are offering long-term cancellation policies to encourage people to book “worry-free” for later in 2020 or even into 2021.

Image Source: Julie Squires Twitter

These post-pandemic promotions, from free-night stays to credits and beyond, all aim to prepare for a surge in travel and help hospitality businesses recuperate some of their losses.

How is your hospitality business preparing for future surges in business? If you’re out of ideas, here are a few sales strategies that might play out well for you.

  -   Enhance your hotel SEO to appear in future travel searches more frequently

-   Optimize your B2B hotel booking system to make reservations a snap

-   Promote your hygienic and cleaning policies to please anxious travelers

-   Advertise social-distancing policies

-   Discuss contactless check-in and check-out capabilities 

-   Highlight how you provide a more personalized hospitality experience

According to Destination Analysts, a large chunk of American travelers feel that the worst of COVID-19 might soon be over. One in five of the people surveyed says they’ll book a trip as soon as the lockdowns are lifted.

So, the question is, is your business ready for this upcoming influx? Or are you still drowning in the struggles of pandemic cancellations and chaos?

In Conclusion

It can be difficult to think about hotel marketing plans when we’re in the midst of an uncertain, chaotic pandemic. However, as a hotel marketing company involved deeply in the B2B hospitality industry, we can tell you that the future success of your business relies heavily on your sales practices today.

Consider the impending changes in hospitality interests. Think about ways you can grow and how you’ll handle a future travel influx, as well as the booking challenges and lost revenue of today.

If your brand is to thrive, not just survive, adopting better sales practices today is 100 percent essential. 

Want more? Let's connect! We love to chat about B2B hospitality sales ... and so much more ;)

Hospitality SEO Tips During COVID-19

5 Website “Housekeeping” Tips for Hospitality Businesses During COVID-19

It’s no secret that the travel and hospitality industry is feeling the burn of COVID-19. Neil Patel recently published data on how traffic rates and conversions have been impacted by the pandemic. 

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