Awareness Marketing Tactics for Luxury Hotels Targeting Three Top Guest Types

Everyone knows these three guest archetypes – especially the luxury hotels courting them. Here, we share tactics for marketing to them at the top of the funnel.

The “dreaming” stage of the traveler’s journey at the very top of the funnel, when the traveler is passively thinking about taking a trip without a particular destination or even timeframe in mind, may be particularly valuable to luxury hotel marketers. Catch his or her attention with some of the stunning photos your resort or hotel offers, or the amazing programming on-site that a lower-tier hotel can’t hold a candle to, and your potential guest may fly through the remaining stages of the traveler journey, right to your booking engine.

With that in mind, we’ve zeroed in on that particular niche – marketing during the dreaming phase for luxury independent hotels (that tends to be our niche as well, as a marketing agency within the hospitality industry) – and three common guest personas. We then present a sample marketing tactic for each of three media silos: paid, earned, and owned. The result is a quick cross-section of some of the tactics luxury hotel marketers may want to make sure they have nailed down in 2018.

1.) The Lacrosse Mom

The Lacrosse Mom is an upper-middle-class, trend-following leader in her family. She wants a vacation that’ll be fun and engaging for the kids, but still culturally interesting enough for her and her partner.

Marketing Tactics to Optimize
Paid – Influencer Marketing: If influencer marketing brings to mind Millennials and Generation Z – not the Lacrosse Mom (LM) and her friends – you’ve got it all wrong. The LM lives for scrolling Pinterest and swiping through Instagram. There are tastemakers – like these “Influencer Moms” – in their 30s and 40s with large followings who are a perfect partner for reaching the LM.

Earned – Online reviews: Make sure your presence is updated on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Expedia, and the like, and constantly scan for new reviews. The LM wants to know that she’s not just going on any old vacation – she did her homework and is staying at a resort with “amazing reviews,” she could tell her friends. Address any negative reviews promptly and effectively, and promote the ones that speak glowingly of your resort on your social channels.

Owned – Email Marketing: Because she likely booked the trip and is the contact between your hotel and her family, the LM’s email address is very valuable. Build and maintain segmented email lists of guests who stay with you and encourage them to return at strategic times.

2.) The Jet-Setting Baby Boomer

Whether retirement has hit or not, the Jet-Setting Baby Boomer (JSBB) has a good sense of what he’d like to do on his getaway and will conduct some careful research. Having money doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate a good deal, but he’s willing to splurge for bucket list–type activities and luxurious accommodations.

Marketing Tactics to Optimize
Paid – Pay Per Click: The JSBB’s research will largely take place on Google, so, considering his willingness to click search ads over members of more skeptical younger generations (who will scroll down to organic listings instead), a strong PPC campaign is a key ingredient for capturing the JSBB’s attention.

Earned – PR: Legacy publications are still a trusted source of information for the JSBB – think magazines, both national and regional. Maintain a good relationship with journalists and publications. You could help them by being a source, for example. You never know when they could feature you in their next story.

Owned – Content Marketing: Going hand in hand with the aforementioned SEM strategy, building and maintaining a robust content strategy pays dividends well into the future. The obvious place for you to produce your own content is on a blog, but it can also be elsewhere on your website. Having a trove of informative, interesting stories will keep the JSBB on your site for longer periods of time, increasing your chance of conversion.

3.) The Rising Corporate Star

The Rising Corporate Star (RCS) does everything fast, from her morning routine to climbing the corporate ladder to, yes, booking vacations. She’s not the corporate warrior of old – this 30- or 40-something absolutely values her time away from the office on vacation. She doesn’t need to meticulously review her options, she doesn’t need to penny pinch, and she doesn’t hem and haw: She pulls the trigger when met with an offer that’s sufficiently easy and attractive.

Marketing Tactics to Optimize
Paid – Retargeting: Get your message (with a clear CTA) in front of the RCS enough times, and eventually, her impulsivity could take over – especially if she’s already visited your website.

Earned – Social Mentions: If the RCS has a vacation in the back of her mind and she sees a friend mention or like something regarding her own fabulous stay at XYZ Resort, it could be just the nudge she needs to book. Give your guests a reason (gorgeous visuals) to follow you on social media after (or in anticipation of) their stay.

Owned – Mobile Website: As we established above, time is precious to the RCS. Those few minutes of downtime on a commute or even waiting for the elevator could be when your luxury hotel catches her eye. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile and she just happens to be browsing options on her phone, she’ll just bounce to the next option. Be ready.

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