Let’s start off by busting one of the biggest marketing myths: Great accommodation marketing requires a massive investment.
On the contrary.
Tons of FREE marketing tools have exploded onto the scene, streamlining every single marketing task you can think of. From creating eye-catching visuals, to deep diving into your competitive set’s methods, to monitoring every single social media mention.
These free tools make it easy for hotels with minuscule marketing budgets to compete with the big boys.
As we have said before, accommodation providers need to position themselves as the epicenter of their destination. To do this, they need to create content, blog posts, staff picks, etc. Here are a few free tools that make that effort much easier:
Even the smallest of mistakes in your hotel’s online presence can undermine a customer’s trust in you. So, catch them before you hit publish. Grammarly is a powerful tool that checks grammar and spelling for anything you write online, including emails, social media posts or comments, blogs, and even the content you create on your hotel vanity website. (Free, with paid premium options available)
Consumers today have minuscule attention spans, thanks to ever-streaming content online. Not only does every second count, but so does every word.
Whether it’s a monthly email you send to a targeted list or a blog post, the headline will ultimately determine the number of people who click.
Headline Analyzer scores your headline ideas and rates how effective they are. Use this to gauge how much your headlines and subjects will resonate with your guests. While offered by paid service CoSchedule, the Headline Analyzer is free to everyone.
A stunning photo is worth a thousand bookings. So, are any other visuals you create for your hotel marketing campaigns. Consider Canva as a virtual digital graphic designer. It offers thousands of fresh and modern templates for just about any type of visual marketing asset, such as brochures, posters, Facebook covers, email heads, and even infographics and PPT presentations. Customise with various fonts, colors, and your hotel images. (Free, with paid premium options available)
Piktochart offers free templates for eye-catching infographics that are meant to present facts and figures beautifully. Your sales team can create infographics to compare your offerings with the competitive set, whittle down the benefits of your meeting packages, or break down event costs. (Free, with paid premium options available)
While eye-catching design will make your hotel website more attractive to visitors, the way potential guests see your website is different to how search engines review it.
This free tool clears out all the style and visual extras and allows you to see what the search engines see.
You can see how relevant your hotel’s web pages are to specific search terms, based on external and internal links, META information and headings. (Free)
Keywords are the foundation of every marketing and SEO campaign. However, Google isn’t the only place to search for keyword terms. Keywordtool.io will show you variations of your keywords to help you build content. SEO professionals consider this tool the best alternative to searching on Google.(Free, with paid premium options available)
Check your hotel’s web domain and page authority using this free link analysis tool. It will check how many links your hotel’s website is getting and from which source. Plus, you’ll also discover your most linked-to pages. Even better is that this tool will also give you this same information on your competitive set’s website. (10 free queries a month)
Competitive Set Research
Facebook has one of the most robust collections of audience data around, including what people like, what they buy, where they live, who they’re friends with, etc.
This free tool will not only give you insight into your hotel’s audience, but also your competition’s audience.
Use this information to shape your messages and campaigns to target effectively. (Free; Facebook advertising is not required)
This amazing free tool uncovers all the digital ads that your competitive set has created. Not only will you see the actual digital creative, but also the dimensions, where the ad appeared, and when the campaign ran.
If a brand has purchased an interactive banner and rich media, those ads will animate right on the screen. Use this tool to see what creative your competitive set has out in the market and to get inspired by other brands. (Free, with paid premium options available)
Enter up to three competing providers’ URLs, and you’ll see how well their websites are performing based on several factors, including speed and search engine optimisation.
On top of this, the site will point out what your competitive set is doing wrong and what they need to do to increase search traffic, giving you rare insight into what your competition is NOT doing.
Obviously, you can deep dive into your own site’s issues. (Free)
This competitor analysis tool lets you research (and even download!) your comp set’s most profitable keywords. You’ll see both paid keywords the competition has invested in, plus keywords they’re targeting for organic search results. Leverage these details to enhance your hotel’s own market share and outrank the others. (Search for free, with paid premium options available)
Perfect for group sales managers who want to gather social intelligence on prospects, Clearbit Connect connects to your Gmail or Outlook account and shows the LinkedIn details and activity of prospects in an email sidebar. Even better, it will provide the company’s details too. Including address, the number of employees, funding, and social accounts. (Free)
This search engine is a straightforward method of discovering and monitoring your brand’s social mentions. Specify which social platforms you want to search, and see details including top keywords, top users and sentiment. Their exporting function helps with end-of-month reporting, too. (Free)
One of the largest, and most popular hotel social media management tools out there, Hootsuite is an all-in-one platform for creating, curating and scheduling content, run social media ads, measuring your hotel’s social ROI and monitoring multiple accounts and keywords. This is one of the preferred free tools of hotel social media managers responsible for overseeing accounts for the restaurant, spa, golf course or sister properties. (Free for up to three social media accounts and 30 scheduled messages)
Using Freshmail, you can create visually arresting hotel marketing emails that look similar to stunning product demo pages.
This free service offers an intuitive editor, streamlined templates and hundreds of fonts, media blocks, buttons, drag-and-drop content sections, images and more.
Other features include A/B testing, inbox inspector and real-time tracking. (Free for up to 2,000 emails and 500 contacts)
After spending hours collecting details and writing copy for your hotel’s next monthly newsletter or email marketing campaign, use PutsMail to see a functional, immediate preview of the email itself. This means you can skip sending countless test emails to yourself to scout out any edits. Just enter the email’s HTML and subject line and see a fully functional preview. (Free)
Want more insight into sending better marketing emails that get opened and convert? MailChimp’s Forever Free Plan offers a host of dynamic features, including rich contact profiles that track interactions with your hotel’s emails, and the ability to send email newsletters based on photos you captured on your phone.
One of the more popular and valuable services is the Subject Line Researcher. Type in phrases you’re considering as a subject line and you’ll see how well those keywords performed for other MailChimp users. (Free for up to 2,000 email subscribers)
Yes, even all-in-one marketing dashboards can be free!
Analytics is dire to the success of your hotel’s online marketing campaigns. Cyfe allows you to monitor and analyse up to five widgets showing social media accounts, SEO, email campaigns, blog, website and more from one dashboard. The large collection of available widgets include MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Google Adsense, Instagram, YouTube, WordPress, Highrise, Google Analytics and Moz. This streamlined solution will bring all marketing performance data under the same roof, with the convenience of a single log-in. (Free for up to 5 marketing widgets)
Ever wish you could spy on visitors to your website, mobile site or app?
Mixpanel will monitor your customers based on their actions and behaviours, not page views.
Your accommodation can monitor how visitors interact within your entire site or you can even just focus on one page or button.
Best part – they can do this without any techie programming, making it easy for the non-techie hotel marketers. (Free for up to 5 million data points per month and 3 team members)
Power your hotel’s email sign-up or RFP forms using Convertable, which analyses your web forms’ metadata to unveil crucial information on leads. Besides collecting the usual name and email address, Convertable will show the relevant keywords the visitor used to find your hotel, the visitor’s location, their operating system and device, which pages they visited (and how long they spent on that page), and how the visitor arrived at your hotel site (paid, organic, etc) in the first place.
This deep dive into the customer’s path will give you a better understanding of your audience and gauge the success of your marketing efforts. (Free)