As Covid restrictions ease, travelers are once again making plans to hit the road. This is a fabulous opportunity for hotels to capitalize on the upcoming surge of tourists. And now is the time to showcase your property, as well as all of the fun and engaging opportunities and adventures your region has to offer travelers.

Before you begin your marketing campaign, know who your guests are and what they want and expect from a visit to your area. Remember, they’re not necessarily just visiting your hotel. They may be sightseeing, coming for a convention, or visiting family. As well as showcasing your hotel, highlight your regional attractions and activities.

Also, be sure you’re clear about your marketing goals. They may change with the seasons, but these marketing tips are good all year-round.

Know Your Demographics

Know who your guests are likely to be, and form your marketing strategy around that. Are your likely visitors young or older? Wealthy or middle class? Do they have kids in tow? Why are they there?

The observation probably already has given you a good idea of who is likely to book a room. If you run a hotel at Lake Tahoe, for example, you know that during the winter you’ll get visitors ready to hit the slopes. During the summer, you’ll get visitors who want to enjoy boating and wakeboarding on the lake, as well as the cool weather.

Your demographics will form the basis for your marketing campaigns. Be sure to include people doing things in your ads, as well as photos of your hotel. For example, if you’re located at Lake Tahoe, use photos of happy people wearing ski clothing in front of your hotel. Or feature a romantic couple enjoying a drink by the cozy fireplace in your lobby.

If your hotel welcomes children or pets, also let people know. Your prospective visitors want to know if they’re welcome.

Leverage Local SEO

The marketing experts at Digital Authority Partners emphasize the importance of local SEO for hotels. This includes optimizing your Google Business profile since people will use the search engine to find hotels in your area. This is similar to a Yelp page, since it not only features photos and details of your hotel, but guests can also leave a review. It pays to claim and optimize your Google Business page since it can come up in a search. While you’re at it, also claim and optimize your Yelp and TripAdvisor pages with great photos and enticing text. Wherever your hotel is listed, make sure your listing looks good.

And don’t be shy about responding to bad reviews that might pop up. Make sure you come across as concerned and helpful, not defensive. People want to know that their opinions count and that you’re willing to take reasonable action to make things right. This is not just for the person who left the bad review, but, more importantly, for other people who are reading it. You want to reassure the people who have not stayed at your hotel that you and your staff are responsive to their needs.

While you are attempting to draw out-of-town visitors, local SEO is essential. For example, someone might Google “hotels near the Naval Base San Diego.” This is a local search, so if your San Diego hotel is near the naval base, ensure that is on your website. Include your address and city but also how close your hotel is to exciting attractions and fun activities. People visiting the Naval Base in San Diego likely want not only accommodations that are close by, but interesting things to do, too.

Leverage What Your Location has to Offer

More and more hotels are partnering with local businesses in a variety of ways, sometimes simply by providing a local resource page on your website for your guests.

Partnership marketing can be a simple and low-cost way to align your hotel with non-competitive local businesses. For example, a hotel near Yellowstone or Zion National Park could partner with an adventure tourism company. These partnerships can include mutual discount offers and combined advertising. If your hotel is in an area where people come to enjoy the beauty of nature, showcase that on your website. Let them know that your hotel is ground-zero for outdoor adventure.

The same tactic can be used in the city, by partnering with luxury travel agencies, unique eateries, nightclubs, and whatever else brings tourists to your city. Think about why people come to your region, and offer them that.

This strategy is easy to employ on social media, especially on photo-focused platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Posting photos of your guests having fun enjoying your locality is a great way to entice visitors. Of course, use the platforms to also show off your property, but remember: people aren’t visiting your area for your hotel. Your hotel is simply a comfortable and  convenient place to stay while they do what they came to town to do.

Encourage Guests to Share Their Experiences

Invite your guests to submit photos and testimonials of their visit, both for your website and for your social media accounts. These photos can be from around the hotel, as well as the surrounding area. For example, visitors to the Bahamas want to see the pristine white beaches and turquoise waters, not just your hotel lobby.

Sharing vacation photos and memories is what people do on social media. So, take advantage of that and allow your guests to post their pictures on your social media pages, too. They’ll feel like internet stars! Encourage visitors to use your hashtags on their own social media accounts to drive more traffic.

Word of mouth is the best method of advertising, and social media is the way that’s done today. Posting photos and telling their friends on Facebook and Instagram about their fabulous vacation is modern word-of-mouth advertising. Ensuring that your property is clean, attractive, and welcoming will go a long way when it comes to word of mouth. And partnering with other local businesses to create a network for your guests to enjoy is another way to get them talking.