Why smart marketers are going ‘old school’

As we sit on uncomfortable chairs watching our kids, nephews, nieces or grand kids graduate…we can’t help think back to the good old days of our own high school experiences.

Yet, the more our school days fade away in the rear view mirror of life, the further we get from some of the critical lessons we learned back in the day.

No matter how much on-the-job experience you’ve amassed over the years, successful hotel marketers still need to crush the subjects they learned in high school.

Here are a few courses we can all use a refresher on:

1. English

One of the most vital weapons in any marketer’s arsenal – and a skill that’s often sorely lacking in the business world – is having a strong command of the English language, including a talent for narrative writing.

Successful hotel marketing efforts begin with simply having a compelling story to tell and being able to tell it cleanly and professionally.

Whether you are crafting a newsletter, press release, blog, advertisement or website copy, all efforts hinge on your language skills. Not to mention the countless emails, phone calls and meetings happening in the background, where your language skills will also need to shine.

And that’s not all:

Marketers who excel in English may possess strong analytical abilities (used for picking apart all those words) and are usually great at empathising, since appreciating literature (and its many characters) hinges upon this core ability.

That translates well into understanding customers, who require marketers’ empathy, in order to truly understand their wants, needs, dreams and pain points.

An interesting Study from Grammarly concluded that better writers make more money.

2. Maths

Now more than ever, it is hard, quantifiable numbers that drive marketing, especially when it comes to harnessing analytics and data for smarter campaigns and management/ROI reporting.

You don’t need to be a trained mathematician, but you do need to view numbers as your friend and embrace them, in order to develop effective marketing plans, analyse results and craft meaningful reports.

And unlike other subjects, maths is definitive.

You either know the answer or you don’t.

Similarly, hotel owners demand solid math skills from their management teams… they expect their sales and marketing leaders to contribute to revenue in a measurable way, communicate in number-speak and be accountable for tangible results.

There may have been a time in the past when hotel marketers could get by with sub-par maths skills, but all of that changed with the advent of Google Analytics, which has made numbers the new boss.

3. Psychology

Consumer behaviour has always been driven by psychology, and now even more so in the digital age, where competition is intense and trust from customers is minimal.

In order to drive business, it’s essential to get into the heads of customers, understanding their desires, pains and fears, and then address those psychological factors with relevant marketing efforts and frictionless e-commerce.

Buying behaviour also strongly hinges upon emotion, so tapping into those consumer emotions can pay huge dividends when properly applied.

Your sales will suffer if you fail to foster trust with your visitors and give them a psychological motivation to buy.

According to a recent Western University study discussed in the Harvard Business Review, that begins with understanding the methods of reasoning customers use when making online purchases, depending on the level of risk involved with that decision.

This is the kind of psychological sensitivity that can make the difference between a successful and failed marketing campaign.

4. History

It may not be ancient Rome we’re talking about, but having an appreciation and mind for history will carry you far in your day-to-day marketing efforts.

Your property’s past results also provide valuable lessons for the future. If every weekend in December and January has been slow for the past four years, it’s easy to see that this coming year will be the same unless you do something to fix it. If every weekend is busy, but you don’t adjust your rates to maximise your yield, you lose out on potential income.

History is also your friend when it comes to knowing guests’ habits, past purchase behaviours, the demographics of your area, annual events and demand drivers.

Part of this effort can be enabled with technology – a good customer relationship management system and data mining process will help you amass customer histories you can utilise in the future. In the era of big data, understanding history and its value can help marketers cut through the clutter and target the things that count.

Finally, if possible, make history work for you.

Is your hotel housed within a historic building? Utilise that in your marketing message. Or, if it has an interesting/rich history, leverage that in all messaging.

And don’t underestimate the power of nearby historical attractions; make sure to know all about those that are located near your accommodation, and how you can convince the history buffs visiting those places to stay with you.

5. Economics

A firm grasp of economics is yet another hotel marketing essential, which often works directly in tandem with maths-related functions like data analytics. Unless you understand the trending economics of the industry, your competition and region, it will be tough to make sense of your property’s performance.

The more you analyse relevant economic stats, the better you will be at forecasting future trends and providing context to management/ownership about your property’s results.

Economics, like psychology, also plays a key role in driving consumer behaviours, particularly with regard to pricing, booking pathways and reservation abandonment.

Successful hotels are reaping direct bookings because they learned how to tap into the psychology behind buying behaviours and can encourage them by implementing psychology and human behavioural insight into their hotel website design.

Time to do your homework.

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