Piggybacking on our last post regarding branding in hospitality, planning and executing your marketing messages are crucial steps to take in order to complete a successful campaign.
No successful business just throws money at advertising outlets without significant thought and planning, in Hospitality, how we represent ourselves through the numerous mediums paints a vivid picture of who we are, what we can provide, and what our brand embodies. Whether your target outlet is print, digital, social, radio, television, sponsorship, or any combination of these or other mediums, there are several important steps to take before you sign any advertising contracts.
Analyze Your Target Markets
Without knowing your audience inside and out, your chances of a successful marketing campaign are abysmal. Take time to research your market, where and how they live, and what they enjoy doing. This information is invaluable when crafting your marketing message because the most effective campaigns speak directly to your prospective guests.
Develop Goals for Your Campaign
Don't go in blind. Before crafting your message (and certainly before you spend a dime on advertising costs), clearly understand what you're setting out to accomplish. What will define success? Failure? Are you looking for more rooms rented? More media engagement on social channels? How many and how much? Take time to place goals, and implement tracking methods so you can efficiently analyze what worked, when it worked, and how it worked.
Understand and Stick to Your Budget
Your advertising dollars may bring in new business, but if you significantly outspend all of that incoming revenue, then what was truly gained? Understand your limitations, and be sure the campaign you set out on is a realistic one.
Decide Which Channels the Campaign will Run Through
Every medium has strengths and weaknesses, and knowing your property and what makes it attractive and enticing to guests will guide you in choosing the proper places to allocate your advertising dollars. Oftentimes, advertising within multiple mediums (re-consult step 3) through an Integrated Marketing Campaign will lead to even greater campaign success. By utilizing the strengths of numerous mediums and maintaining a consistent message, your advertisements will have significantly higher reach and more staying power that running full-steam ahead with just one medium
Craft Your Message
When crafting your marketing message, the mantra "keep it simple, stupid" is incredibly useful. Do not beat around the bush—immediately make it known who you are and what you provide to guests. Go back to your goals, and experiment with ways to transform those into messages your audience will relate to, understand, and get excited about. Keep it fun, warm, and welcoming. Tweak it to every medium, but do not make entirely separate messages for each of them. The overall message for the campaign should be the same everywhere.
Consistency is Key
Once you decide on your marketing message, it's important for that message to be consistent not just with your brand, but within every piece of advertising published/broadcast through every medium you use. The advertisements sent out in print and television, for example, should immediately and easily be identifiable as yours. Maintaining this consistency increases the effectiveness of your Integrated Marketing Campaign, heightens your brand awareness, and paints the best picture of your property to prospective guests.
With advertising, return on investment is the name of the game. Follow-up on the systems you put in place as you approach the end of your campaign. What worked and what didn't? What goals did you accomplish, and where did you fall short? Evaluating results after spending time and effort on a campaign is the most critical (and often most overlooked) part of running a campaign. If your campaigns aren't working, don't fall into the trap of continuing to spend money without significant change.
Integrated Marketing Campaigns are useful all over the Hospitality Industry, whether it be to showcase food and service at restaurants, luxurious rooms and incredible amenities at hotels and resorts, or slides, rides, and family fun at waterparks and amusement parks. By taking the proper steps to pieces together these campaigns, you will give yourself the best chance to see ROI and increase your property's bottom and top lines, as well as its impact within the community.