Running a successful hotel is quite difficult and complex process. Gone are the times when the saying ” Build it and they will come ” was true. In the face of intense competition, it is very important to write a marketing plan for your hotel. A marketing plan is different from the business plan. A business plan puts numbers into focus. But once you have a business plan, it is your responsibility to put down actionable steps into a marketing plan to help achieve the numbers you put out in the business plan.
If you make a yearly marketing plan you will also be able to share this with other team members in your hotel and they can all be aligned to the success of the hotel.
A typical marketing plan consists of the following element:
- Hotel positioning statement or vision
- Big picture goals, priority markets segments and source markets
- Competitors and their SWOT
- Your priority action points
- Yearly calendar with activities and budgets
- Success parameters to measure your performance
Thoroughly writing down your marketing plan gives you a much better understanding of your business and help you to focus on what needs to be achieved. Also writing down your plans also increase your chance of success. Having a marketing plan will also help you plan your budgets and expenses better.
In this article, I will show you how to write a marketing plan and also give you some tips along the way. To get started
Make sure your hotel has a clear positioning statement or vision
When you make your hotel positioning statement, make sure it is crisp and concise and truly represents your business. Identify who you are and what do you offer to the guest. Highlight the Unique selling proposition ( USP) . If you are an existing hotel and already had a vision, check to see if it is still valid or has your position changed. This is an opportunity to gain a better understanding of your hotel.
For e.g We strive to be the go to hotel for business travelers visiting the city
Know your Big Picture goals, priority market segments and source market
Although you may want your hotel to appeal to everyone, the truth is that some segments will love your place and some will not. One of the most important part of the marketing plan is to identity your big goals and what do you want to achieve during the year. Also a keen understanding of your top market segments and source market will help you to concentrate your marketing efforts in that region.
Continuing the example of targeting business travelers to the city the top market segments might be corporate travelers, guest booking on OTA or groups, Also the source market might be the place from where majority of your travelers book your hotel
Competitors and their SWOT
As long as your hotel is not a monopoly in your city, you will have competition who is trying to steal your business from you. While making marketing plans, you must spend a significant time understanding your competition and what are their strength and weakness. This will help you to be better prepared when you have to challenge them to get their business. Also knowledge of the competitors will help you to create action plans to provide a unique proposition to the guest. Your unique proposition might be based on price, service quality etc.
One point to note is that while comparing your competitors, make sure you are comparing with the right comp set. By being aspirational do not try to compete with someone who is out of your league. If your ARR is Rs. 5000 it will not make sense to have competitors who are in the Rs. 12000 bracket.
Your Yearly activities calendar with budgets
Once you identify your priorities for the year, it make sense to have a calendar for the year made so that you are planning in advance . It should also help you spread your budgets correctly so that you do not run out of budget for some key initiatives. Running out of money is one of the most common reason why a marketing activity fails. Consider all cost in planning so that you can achieve the result you wish to see. Consider social media and how you will integrate your marketing efforts there. Gone are the days when social media was free to use. Now you need to pay and the cost is increasing every month. .
Success parameters to measure your performance
Once you have made your plans and actions, you also need to spend time to consider what will success look like. How will you measure success. Increase in sales is an good metrics, but some goals might also be increased subscribers, increased engagement, reduced customer complaints etc. So define how you will measure your success.
If you have never made a marketing plan, it might seem like a big task and you might also feel it is unnecessary, but i promise you, it will keep you organised and make your life easy during the year.
Once your marketing plan is ready, you can proceed to make a hotel budget