What market are we trying to attract? Are we targeting the right market for this property? Is the motel aiming for the high tariff traveller, the middle of the road traveller or the budget conscience, cheapest room available guest?
Due to the never ending offers of marketing opportunities available, incorporation of a clear strategy can help ensure sure that a motel business gets the best value for money from its marketing budget. The operator is often the best person to determine which market the property is suited to and how it is going to get to that market.
Marketing generally either goes one of two ways, success or failure! Rarely do you hear it said that a marketing initiative had an “average” result. It is either a raving success or a failure in the eyes of the person who spent the marketing dollars.
Determining the target market – What services does the property offer? If the motel room has a separate desk with executive chair, Internet access, and the property includes a licenced restaurant and meeting/conference facilities, it is more than likely suited to the business or corporate market. A large pool with playground facilities, larger or separate bedroom units with numerous beds and cooking facilities will be most suited to the family, sporting group or tourist traveller.
For example, a corporate traveller is more than likely not interested in the size of the pool but more so the ability to put a laptop on a separate desk with a comfortable chair. In many cases a motel will offer various room types and be able to attract different market segments for the different facilities available.
What standard is the property? If the property is a high standard with a quality fit out, the higher end and corporate traveller is the more likely target market. The budget conscience traveller will be dictated by the room rate as to where they stay, rather than the facilities available being their buying motive. In saying this guest expectations for their dollar (no matter what the level) are forever growing.
What are the room rates being charged? Higher room rates will attract the higher end market with the expectation of a higher standard of presentation and high level of ancillary services available that suit that particular traveller and satisfy their individual requirements.
Answering the questions can assist in determining the target market and a marketing strategy can be focused on getting directly to who is most likely to stay at the motel, and thereby state a case for why a potential guest will be satisfied staying at that particular motel. In other words, offering the particular products and services that will satisfy guest needs.
Getting to the target market – What are the best media available to get to the target market? A few options depending on the particular target market are:
• Internet – What websites will suit best? A motel’s own website offers the opportunity to sell the property directly to the market with extensive information selling the features and benefits of what the motel offers to the guest. Online room inventory and rate management are terms that are often heard in regards to sites/programs that offer access to numerous booking sites in order to maximise a motel’s online exposure.
• Social media – Directly accessing the target market via social media such as Facebook, Twitter and others is a cost effective method of directly communicating with the target market. Many may already be familiar with the property’s products and services however it offers good opportunity to promote the features and benefits and any new services or specials available to attract future stays.
• Print publications – There are many options available as far as print media goes. Publications to the industry offer direct access to those potential guests within the industry (who can help to sell your product to travellers via a mutually beneficial referral basis) and to potential guests who access the publication from other accommodation properties during a stay or from other sources.
• Street and highway signage – The use of highway and street signage has been in use for a very long time and is still a popular medium for accommodation providers to access the travelling market. If the target market is the drive market and not the fly in market it does go direct to the drive market yet to book accommodation or that require it in the future.
• Chain affiliation – The assistance provided by chain affiliation in regards to marketing is often out of the individual operator’s control apart from being a member. Brand awareness is important and this is an area where chain affiliation can be effective. Brand awareness can provide immediate acceptance by a target market of a certain level of accommodation and services without it needing to be further sold to a potential guest.
• Local tourism bodies/industry memberships/referrers – Accommodation industry memberships can be very effective from a customer referral point of view and provides a cost effective method of marketing directly to the traveller. Membership to particular bodies will suit some motels better than others, so again choosing the ones that will be of most benefit is important.
• Local business/industries – Local rotary organisations and other community groups who may attend meetings or conferences at the property and who will recommend the complex to family, friends and business associates for accommodation and a night out for dinner perhaps. The income derived directly from these meetings may not be the most profitable but their constant referrals can result in a very profitable long term outcome.
It is very easy to spend a lot of money on marketing for little result. This is why target marketing is so important, especially from a small/medium business point of view. Many motels are still family owner operation and throwing money at every marketing opportunity presented (rather than the most effective) can result in a very bad investment at the end of the financial year.