Guests can’t take advantage of your classes, excursions, and cabana packages if they don’t know these things are available. These hotel marketing tips will help.
Effective marketing is a crucial aspect of business success across all industries, including the hospitality and spa industry. However, due to competing priorities, marketing efforts for spas and ancillary revenue services around hotels and resorts are often neglected. This is a mistake because no matter how outstanding your features and offerings may be, customers won’t know about them if they’re not marketed properly.
Most spas don’t have the luxury of dedicated marketing teams, so managers and directors who are already stretched thin must take on the responsibility of building the brand. Even for spas within larger organizations, like hotels or resorts, marketing budgets can be limited, if they exist at all. Fortunately, in today’s digital age, social channels and online platforms offer multiple free or low-cost marketing opportunities, eliminating the need to purchase expensive ad space. By leveraging social media, spas can raise brand awareness, market their services, and maintain connections with guests even after they leave.
Similarly, hotels offering classes, workshops, and activities may not always get the word about these things out there as much as they would like. Guests can’t take advantage of your classes, excursions, and cabana packages if they don’t know these things are available. These hotel marketing tips will help.
21 hotel marketing tips and strategies for your spa & ancillary revenue departments
1. Leverage online booking for your spa, classes, activities, and more
The software that manages all of your ancillary revenue operations should help with your marketing. An online booking site that makes it easy for guests to book things like spa appointments, activities, cabanas, and tennis and pickleball courts is a must-have for any property.
For example, Josh Fraser, Health club and Recreation Manager at Fairmont Chateau Whistler, uses Book4Time’s online booking platform. Between July 2022, when the Chateau started using the system, and December 31, 2022, a stunning 75% of sign-ups for the resort’s classes and activities came through the new online booking system. Fraser said, “The online usage is also great for our marketing. It means guests can actually see everything available to them, whereas in the past, they may not have been aware of what was on offer.”
2. Use QR codes
Fairmont Jasper Park has seen similar benefits with an online booking site that is accessible through a QR code placed throughout the hotel, leading guests directly to all of their offerings.
Awareness of what the hotel has to offer has increased, and as a result, so have bookings, resulting in a better ROI for the hotel’s activity program spend. The hotel’s Recreation Manager, Spencer Martin, says, “Book4Time has increased the awareness of our activities to guests, which has led to the money we spend on our activities being a better investment.”
3. Use Facebook or Instagram ads
While we are always trying to reduce spending, don’t discount the possibility of paid ads. Google ads can be effective but can also be expensive. Social media advertising can be more affordable and also a powerful way of raising brand awareness and attracting customers, and some spa owners are really happy with the results. You can play with demographics and target audiences and set your spending limits to see if these ads work for you without breaking the budget.
4. Teach, don’t sell
When it comes to content, that content should provide value to a target audience wherever possible. Today’s consumers are weary of being sold to and tend to block out online ads, marketing, and sales content, but they do respond to educational content that provides information they can actually use to make their lives easier. Rather than hitting people over the head with the message that you want them to buy your product or service, give them something they can use. This allows you to showcase your brand and position yourself as a trustworthy and valuable source of information.
This doesn’t mean you can never just post about a product or service you want to sell. But try to keep the balance tipping towards teaching over selling.
5. Increase your organic social media reach
Organic social media reach can be easily one of the most effective free marketing strategies. Your business probably already has a social media presence, and if it doesn’t, create one or a few on the platforms that work best for you, like Instagram and TikTok. Facebook remains the largest social media platform and may be good for ads, but it’s mainly used by older audiences. People are probably not looking for facials and massages on LinkedIn, but they might be looking for a destination that offers workcations or corporate retreats with yoga classes and group activities. Find out where your target customer hangs out and meet them there. Once you have the accounts, use them. Don’t leave them sitting there unused.
6. Post about your products and services
Yes, you can post about your amazing services and products – just not all the time. Share how much you love them and why. Talk about what they do, why they work, and why others will love them as much as you do. Remember to teach, rather than sell, where possible. Show how a product is used, for example. Share something useful about the product or service. When you truly love something, people can feel that and will respond accordingly.
7. Post about your team
People in the spa, wellness, and hospitality industry love to say that the people who make up our teams are everything. Share that with the world. Share what your staff is doing, what products they’re using, the stories that make them interesting, and talk about their expertise. Share stories and pictures of what’s happening around you and make it compelling so that people want to be a part of it.
8. Leverage video content
Instagram reels, Facebook reels, TikTok videos, YouTube videos – all of these can be used to market your business. Video content is a major driver of sales and engagement. Research findings suggest that a majority of people want to see video content online and that video marketing has high engagement numbers.
Create tutorials to show people how to do what you do. Don’t worry about giving away your secrets. People will still want the professional version. Teach your audience how to massage their own feet, give themselves a home facial, do a short yoga session, meditate, use singing bowls, make their own body oil… the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Video tutorials will raise brand awareness, engage your audience, and showcase your expertise and products and services.
9. Encourage team members to promote your brand on social media
Your team members who are active on social media should be eager to post about their work if they love their jobs. What can they tell the world about your brand as a company and as a workplace? This is also amazing employer branding. Don’t make social sharing mandatory for team members whose jobs it’s not, but do encourage it with those who would like to participate.
10. Encourage customers to share their experiences (user-generated content)
Your customers can and should be your greatest ambassadors. If they are pleased with an experience, product, or service, encourage them to share this on their social media channels. Make direct requests or they won’t think of it. Small gifts can often be a motivator for this, and you can say something about the gift like “If you enjoy it, please share that with your network!” If a customer likes you, they will want to be a part of your success.
Create a selfie station where happy guests can take blissed-out post-spa treatment photos to share on their own social channels. Make it an inviting place to stop for a bit on the way out. Make sure to ask guests taking selfies to hashtag and @tag your business!
11. Share posts about your customers
You can also take pictures and videos of your willing customers and share them yourself with a little comment or story about your experience together. Remember to focus on the guest and not on yourself – how great your experience with them was and what they brought to your day, rather than what you brought to theirs.
12. Be interactive and engaged
Aside from posting on your own social media channels, don’t forget to interact with other people’s content. Comment, like, and share other people’s good content from your online network. And keep the conversation going on your own pages by responding to comments.
Don’t try to control the conversation. Getting people talking about your brand on social media means letting go of control over the conversation. You can encourage positive talk but can’t force it. This means not deleting comments you don’t like from your own pages or arguing with people you disagree with. Be prepared for negative comments as things happen naturally. The best way to avoid this is to provide exquisite customer experiences and be above reproach, but there is always going to be someone with something negative to say. You can’t control that and you shouldn’t try.
13. Partner with micro or nano-influencers
Influencer marketing is common these days but might be out of a business’s price range and often doesn’t deliver as much bang for a buck as hoped. Micro-influencers or nano-influencers have smaller followings (somewhere between 1,000 – 100,000), cheaper rates, and can often have higher engagement rates.
14. Market your memberships with “bring a friend” perks
Membership packages that allow unlimited use of your facilities and a certain number of treatments per month are an excellent way to fill up your spa during downtimes and bring in a steady revenue stream all year round. Allow and encourage guests to bring a friend once a month to sweeten the deal and introduce new people to your spa
15. Sell gift cards
Gift cards are a tried-and-true marketing strategy to effectively get your brand name out there, attract new customers, and retain existing ones. Particularly around the holidays and special dates, these little gems can be powerful tools. Digital gift card sales make it even easier these days to get those precious gifts into the right hands, with almost no effort on the client’s part or yours.
16. Use email marketing
Stay in touch with your network by email. Send out welcome emails to new customers, birthday emails to existing ones, a newsletter updating your customers on events and product and service updates, thank you emails, and customer satisfaction surveys. Be sure to always collect customer email addresses – but don’t bombard people with too much messaging. Find a nice digestible pace, or people will just find you annoying.
17. Host events
Host private events to introduce loyal customers to new products, services, classes, or activities at your spa, hotel, or resort, or to celebrate holidays or milestones (like your one year or 10-year anniversary as a business). Pour tea or wine, offer a free class or workshop, or samples of your new product, and give mini facials or massages at a spa.
Encourage customers to bring a plus one. Don’t forget to take pictures and videos and to post these online to showcase what a great host you are and how compelling and lovely your clientele is. And encourage your guests to share their experiences with the world.
18. Start a referral program
Incentivize referrals from guests by offering a gift of a discount, upgrade, or free product or service when a new person comes in for a treatment or signs up for a membership at their recommendation.
19. Encourage online reviews
Reviews are a major element of boosting brand awareness. A vast majority of people look at online reviews, and many won’t even try a business with fewer than four stars. Encourage guests to leave good reviews, and always respond to all reviews, good or bad, with a “thank you” or an “I’m sorry your experience didn’t live up to your expectations.” Read more about handling online reviews here
20. Build your SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it refers to where you rank on search engines (mostly Google) when people search for particular keywords or phrases. So, for example, if someone is looking for an “Austin spa,” will they find you or your competition first? Learn about keywords and how to improve your rankings, then apply this to your website to improve brand visibility.
21. Donate to charity auctions
Charities often hold big events with silent or online auctions where people bid on items and the money they pay goes to the cause. These items are also donated by the businesses themselves. Donating spa products and service packages or free classes and experiences to these events is not only a great way to increase occupancy and expand your reach but also an opportunity to support the causes you believe in. It’s win-win.