Today’s guest post is by Gaynor Hunter!
6 Reasons Your Hotel Needs A Niche
Your hotel is missing out on regular sales and the ability to develop meaningful, long-term connections with your guests. Why? Because you haven’t discovered your niche.
As a hotelier, you need to divide your prospective guests into niche market segments so you can communicate with them in a targeted way and show them what makes you different, special and unique. Here are six tips to increase your visibility within a niche and begin catering to specific groups which will result in repeat business and excellent word-of-mouth advertising.
1: Identify Your Niche Market
When you take the time to identify a niche market that you want to specifically target, you will inherently develop a better understanding of your audience.
Begin by defining at least five niche target markets and list what requirements they may have. Ask yourself, “what type of guests is my hotel suited for and why do they stay with us?”
Perhaps you have a large outdoor reception area with a beautiful flower garden which could cater to weddings. Maybe you have secluded suites ready for romantic honeymooners. You may even have large conference areas which would serve business clients or corporate meetings.
Find out what unique items you have to offer and develop a list of at least five niche markets to begin tapping. Talk to current and past guests to find out what type of person is staying at your hotel and what your business has to offer them individually. Once you understand your hotel customers and their personal needs you can create niche target markets tailored especially for them.
2: Consider Your Location
Your hotel and its surrounding area have much to offer niche guests. Take a look around and see what you have to work with, think outside the box and create alternative uses that may not have been in the original design. Explore opportunities where your location can offer unique selling points to attract a particular niche market.
Look to nature as well as to the man-made structures in your area to find something an individual market is looking for. If you have a large garden, think about yoga or meditation niches. Exploring and hiking nearby trails and forests are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.
Staying indoors is ideal for some as well. If you have a large conference space, consider creating a cyber-cafe. Hold fundraisers or charity events like auctions. The possibilities are limitless if you are willing to make transformations and think outside the box.
3: Imagine Your Ideal Guests
Focus on the type of guests you like to be around and want to attract: Families; solo travellers; guests of a specific age group; and corporate customers.
When your target audience has been identified, create landing pages on your website directly aimed at them. Build packages and special offers specifically targeted towards that segment. Provide them with incentives and demonstrate how you fit with their needs and represent the best option in your area.
4: Find Your Guests
You have identified your primary niche market. You have ensured your hotel is prepared and ready for the guests and their specific wants and needs. You can picture your hotel full of happy, like-minded people. However, you don’t know where to find them.
They are out engaging in whatever activity their niche falls into. You should be out there, too.
List your hotel on special sites catering to this particular type of traveller. Participate in forums and communities answering questions about the area, recommendations for restaurants, etc. You should engage with them. Find out what is important to them and how you could improve things at your hotel.
Hold contests, tell a story, and share a recipe. Tout what makes you unique and be clear about the special things you and your region has to offer that no one else can. Maintain a social media presence where your potential guests are spending their time and preferably where your competition is not.
When potential guests see that you care and are hospitable, they are more willing to book with you. Their friends and relatives will inevitably ask them where they stayed. Your niche customer will then start talking about you and your hotel. If you ensure they have amazing stories to tell, they will, in essence, be recommending you to their friends, family and online connections.
5: Hone Your Niche
Do not invest money into multiple outlets that target all guests. Hone your niche and develop relationships with interested parties such as yoga teachers, nature lovers and adventure group leaders. Invite social influencers in your preferred niche to stay. These references can be pure gold by tapping into their follower’s.
Ask select travel writers and bloggers to stay. It is likely they will write a fair (and usually quite good) article about your property that appeals to your respective niche.
The more you drill down and fine-tune your marketing initiatives and invest in reaching your target market with precision messages, the more you will engage and connect with your ideal guests and turn prospects into long-term customers.
6. Enjoy The Rewards
If you target the right areas, you will have happier guests that leave better reviews and refer your hotel to more people that fit your target profile. Don’t throw money at endless promotions aimed at nobody in particular.
Read reviews and interact with them socially. If you are unsure how, hire a social media or marketing manager to help you connect with your niche. These people can optimise your website for search engines so that your target market can easily find you.
Pick your niche, market to your niche, engage and cater to their needs and desires. Soon you will be putting happy, loyal and excited heads in beds.
Gaynor Hunter is a Hospitality Trainer and Content Writer. She helps hotels and restaurants shape their operational strategies into profits for the owner, an engaging workplace for employees, and enhanced experiences for the guest. You can hire Gaynor to train your team and write content to attract your ideal guest at shapehospitality.com or follow her on Twitter @shapemybiz