5 reasons hotel chains should practice content marketingLast updated on 02/28/2020 at 02:13 PM.
There’s a lot of movement in the hotel market. At least, that’s what the specialist magazine for the hotel and catering industry, Allgemeine Hotel- und Gastronomie-Zeitung, concluded when publishing the most recent hotel ranking in Germany. So while the hotel market is fiercely competitive, it’s not gridlocked. Is content marketing an opportunity for hotel chains to get a bigger slice of the pie? We examine ten companies to see the status content marketing currently holds for hotel chains in Germany and the potential this type of marketing offers.
Some international hotel companies operate several hotel chains. Accor also includes Novotel and Mercure. InterContinental Hotels Group incorporates its own brand under the same name and Holiday Inn. Starwood Hotels and Resorts also includes Westin and Sheraton. In order to evaluate their content marketing, we analyse the specific brands, rather than the parent companies. Together with a look at Best Western, Maritim and Steigenberger, we will achieve an overview of the hotel groups with the highest sales figures in Germany. We will complement our analysis with the individual hotel – not part of a chain – that records the highest sales in Germany – the Estrel Berlin.
Who practices content marketing?
Blogs are a popular content marketing tool. They allow companies to provide their target group with content without much restriction in regards to design and arrangement. Amongst the hotels examined, Best Western is the only chain that has its own blogs, containing insider tips for Munich and Hamburg. While this puts the company ahead of the competition, it’s not the greatest achievement. If a hotel chain proposes city breaks, why not use a blog to introduce these cities and provide holiday tips? None of the companies realise this potential – neither through a blog, nor with the help of a digital magazine.
Marriott shows what content marketing might look like for hotel chains with its brand Renaissance Hotels. Rather than running a blog, the company operates the platform Navigators. Navigators are local experts who provide holiday tips and restaurant recommendations and help people discover new experiences. The platform collects this information for each hotel location. If you’re searching for a location, you’ll find relevant information in an appealing format – which is equally interesting even if you’re not actually booking a room.
Content marketing via social networks
Social networks show that hotel chains are not utilising the available content marketing tools; only half of these companies even have a German Facebook page. The rest of them only provide English pages or profiles of individual hotels; the Mercure Hotel Berlin, for instance. However, these pages are not a substitute; each individual hotel shares content with respect to its location. If the user reaches this page when planning his holiday and decides to book a hotel in another city, the search starts all over again. Thus, a German Facebook page is crucial for any hotel chain. They should spark an interest with general and useful content and lead potential customers to their website.
Moreover, hotel chains neglect image-heavy social networks – as do German tour operators. Only half of them have an Instagram account and even fewer a Pinterest profile. Sorya Gaulin, Head of Corporate PR for Four Seasons, explains the importance of these networks: Pinterest is a source of inspiration for users when they are planning a holiday, and Instagram is used by travellers who love to share and learn from others. Hotel chains are wasting potential by failing to be active here.
Let’s take a look at the ten most recent Facebook posts to see how important content marketing is to the hotel chains in our analysis. The coloured bars speak for themselves; content marketing only plays a minor role. Almost all companies tend to refer to offers, promotions or discounts, rather than content.
5 arguments for hotel chains to practice content marketing
This analysis shows that hotel chains in Germany neglect content marketing. The following reasons call for an increased focus on this tool:
1. Content marketing is not yet pursued by the competition.
The early bird catches the worm. A sound content marketing strategy also ensures sustainable and profound benefits. Hotel groups that pursue content marketing now will find it easy to position themselves in the social web – with blogs, in image-heavy social networks or with video content.
2. Internet users’ tolerance towards advertising is falling.
The analysis showed that hotel groups still focus on advertising. Yet, a balanced marketing mix with useful and relevant content is more likely to be a success than a primarily advertisement-focused internet presence.
3. Content marketing creates better search engine rankings.
Blogs are a great method for placing keywords. In particular, they make it easy to incorporate long tail keywords. And these are becoming increasingly important, especially on Google.
4. Content marketing creates trust.
Only half of the hotel groups have a German profile on the social networks. Yet, keeping a German profile creates a feeling of familiarity and promotes trust and confidence. A content marketing strategy with German content can highlight this added bonus compared to the competition.
5. The target group assumes some of the content marketing efforts.
Most hotel guests will have a smartphone these days and they tend to share their experiences with others and sometimes with the rest of the world. The target group is providing content. Now the hotel group only needs to utilise and organise this content. One way of doing this is to ask hotel guests to use a hashtag for their holiday and hotel photos on Instagram.
The situation for tour operators is very similar; while the hotel market is fiercely competitive, the fight for the best content in Germany hasn’t even started yet. It’s time to develop a content marketing strategy – or to hand this task over to external experts.
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Gerrit Grunert is the founder and CEO of Crispy Content®. In 2019, he published his book "Methodical Content Marketing" published by Springer Gabler, as well as the series of online courses "Making Content." In his free time, Gerrit is a passionate guitar collector, likes reading books by Stefan Zweig, and listening to music from the day before yesterday.