The hospitality industry has grown to become one of the most highly competitive markets in the world today. In 2016, the U.S. travel and tourism industry generated over $1.5 trillion dollars and accounted for nearly 3% of the country's gross domestic product. Collectively, the world's largest hotel companies accommodate over 17.5 million guests annually. With so much to gain, how do the world's most-awarded hotel companies equip local affiliates with the marketing tools to attract and retain customers.
For years, the new media vanguard has adopted a digital-first philosophy. With all the emphasis placed on digital marketing, many businesses have nullified their reliance on print as an effective customer procurement and retention tool. Even in this modern digital age, you may be surprised to hear that print is making a huge comeback.
The objective of this article is to illustrate how top marketing managers in the hotel industry can analyze and improve their brand's marketing efficiency through compelling print collateral. Let's get started:
5 Strategies to Enhance Marketing Power with Print
#1: Print Should Compliment the Customer Experience
Building a better customer experience is top-of-mind for most brands. Recent studies indicate that customer experience will soon overtake price and product as a key differentiator among brands. In fact, 86% of consumers are likely to pay more for a better customer experience. In the hospitality industry, especially, customer service is everything.
Consistent quality and branding are integral components of the customer experience. Staying at a hotel is a highly immersive experience complimented by the unique arrangement of lobby furniture, the poignant aroma of fresh flowers at check-in or the elegant in-suite detailing. Print is highly supportive of this uniquely tactile experience in that it conveys a distinct level of consistency, elegance, charm, and convenience across a variety of mediums.
For instance, a glossy, well-designed pamphlet exudes professionalism and glamour, while a neatly organized, branded in-room menu can be quickly referenced by a customer getting in from a long flight. Well-crafted, customized print pieces such as flyers, brochures, and even boutique magazine ads are fantastic ways to represent consistency, excite customers, tend to their unique needs, and keep them coming back for more.
#2 Vary What Types of Print Collateral You Use
Even with the popularity of digital marketing, travelers still value printed pieces, especially the venerable rack card. Printed pieces are especially beneficial in the hotel industry, where personalization and brand storytelling is key. By using paper, concierges can grab a customer's attention, formulate a more authentic relationship with the guest, and create a deeper connection between the brand and customer. Nothing puts distance between your associates and your customers than having them say, "Oh, if you want anything just download our app."
When it comes to hotel marketing, there are a few baseline print pieces that every local affiliate should have, including: branded memos and notepads, pamphlets and fliers; door hangers; name badges; guest directories; rate cards; and advertisements.
#3 Combine Print and Social Media
The world's largest distributed hotel companies leverage the combined power of print and digital channels to maximize their marketing power. In the digital age, there's no disputing the effectiveness of social media marketing. However, consider adopting a multi-channel approach to immediately boost marketing effectiveness. Here's a few tips to enhance the print-digital marketing experience:
- Include social media icons and hashtags on all print collateral
- Incorporate user feedback from social media into print
- Create special offers for new social media followers
- Promote social media campaigns through direct mail
Print marketing is far from dead. However, finding the perfect combination of print and social media is key to attracting and engaging with consumers.
#4 Enable Local Marketers with Print Collateral
Delivering a consistent customer experience across franchised locations is the primary goal for hotel management teams. Marketers understand that enabling local affiliates to deliver a superior customer experience starts with creating standardized marketing collateral.
Leading hotel companies leverage the power of SaaS LMA to deliver local print templates, raw assets, and supporting design elements. For instance, Marriott delivers uniquely curated, hyper-localized print campaigns that adhere to established brand standards to all of their local affiliates with a franchise marketing solution centered on SaaS LMA. Giving local affiliates the power to work with their own messaging and content has been a mainstay of this whole approach.
Are you ready to transform your team's marketing assets into franchisee-ready templates? Learn how Marriott manages brand voice across local affiliations with Pica9 and CampaignDrive.
#5 Pay Attention to ROI, But Not Too Much
Measuring ROI naturally helps brand marketing mangers make better decisions and smarter investments. Most marketers will be familiar with the myriad ways that digital marketing platforms offer tracking systems to evaluate campaign effectiveness. However, any comprehensive marketing plan will include both digital and print marketing tactics to engage target audiences across multiple channels, and in these cases tracking ROI can get quite tricky. Instead, marketing managers should take a more open-minded approach to measurement.
"Although the world of marketing has come a long way in terms of analytic capabilities, applying financial numbers to the marketing equation is not always possible or preferable," argues AdAge's Tim Calkins.
Using printed fliers, posters, and pamphlets can be an extremely effective way to increase awareness and maximize promotional efforts, but how do marketers track the success of their print marketing material, especially when it's happening at dozens of different hotel properties around the country?
A great first step is to identify ideal results – what do we want this print piece to do? Start by identifying customers' purchasing habits online and determine what supporting elements of the online customer experience drove consumers to complete that specific action. Are these components being represented in printed collateral as well? You can extrapolate that online behavior will at least be a good reference point for offline, so start your research where that online behavior leads you. But you can get more granular as well by including a customized coupon, code, or inquiry form to track customer engagement and inform what print marketing assets you give to your local affiliates in the future.
Driving Local Hotel Print Marketing Results
The world's largest distributed hotel brands have unlocked these brand management secrets to boost print marketing effectiveness. Print is an invaluable tool for franchised hotel brands and local marketers need to incorporate this collateral into their marketing playbook in order to remain competitive, attract new audiences, and retain valuable customers.
Many are leveraging the power of local marketing automation software to ensure compliance and standardization in print. Local marketing automation allows brands to achieve excellence in customization and personalization with print templates, integrations, and workflow options that empower affiliates to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Are you ready to deliver high-impact local print marketing to your franchisees? Download the Local Marketing Playbook: The Templates, Campaigns and Tools That Help Multi-Location Brands Become Local Marketing Champions