Boutique hotels have a specific set of challenges. Marshall Alan provides tips on hiring the perfect director of marketing for these smaller, luxury properties, with a focus on how to make your boutique hotel create an exceptional appeal.
Owners and managers of small hotels should be taking full advantage of digital marketing, promotion and distribution. Reaching both business and leisure guests and encouraging as many direct bookings as possible is the goal. While legacy channels such as magazine ads, print brochures and other forms of marketing are still valid, the power of the web cannot be denied. A marketing director looking for a position in the boutique hotel niche should be able to recognize the advantages for each advertising vertical and be able to effectively use each one.
When you interview a marketing director, ask them what they think are the benefits of boutique hotels over larger chains, and how to exploit those benefits for marketing purposes. They should know that boutique properties have a competitive advantage in that they can always rely on exemplary service to stand out from the crowd. Using social media and an onsite blog as well as review sites can help marketers keep a thumb on the pulse of what people are saying about their property, and action can be taken to reflect guest feedback.
Your marketer should know that just recommending changes based on customer feedback isn’t enough – they should follow up after the changes are made to announce them and to show the world you listen and act based on what guests want. This can increase your bookings as guests see their needs are put first.
A marketing director for a boutique hotel should be creative and able to find segments of the population that can be better served in order to target them. Pet friendly hotels, LGBT friendly hotels and hotels willing to accommodate anime or sci-fi conventions make their guests feel comfortable and welcome at all times, but if these people don’t know they have better options, they will book at traditional chains instead. A savvy marketing director connects with these audiences and makes them a priority.
A great example is the Bella Sky Hotel in Copenhagen, which devoted an entire floor to women only, with luxury bathrooms and services designed specifically for the traveling business woman to provide a feeling of security, safety in a pampering environment. The marketing team that came up with that idea was brilliant.
One of the biggest marketing challenges for small hotel owners/managers is finding a marketing director with PR experience who can handle their social marketing and any reputation issues that could arise. Reputation management is mandatory for small hotels building an online strategy; it is crucial to be able to respond rapidly to both bad and good reviews.
Ask your marketing director prospects about their ideas on incentivizing, both at the guest level and at the employee level. Having long term employees who are happy with their job increases the enjoyment of repeat guests who will tend to book where they know customer service is excellent. A talented marketer will be able to both acquire this type of feedback and put it to good use.
Boutique hotels can become exceptional with the right leadership and marketing! Marshal Alan regularly places talented marketing directors in the boutique industry, and can help you find the perfect match for your boutique hotel.