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Even luxury brands are having trouble moving with the times. What is certain is that the static brochure style website featuring a photoshoped image of an infinity pool is dead.

Luxury hotels, like every industry, are having to be more imaginative and rethink their marketing strategy.

The first rule in content marketing is that content needs a purpose: to stimulate, engage, convert and build a buzz around a brand. It’s got to be useful, visible, desirable, engaging and provide a platform to position the hotel as a socially-connected brand.

Why is content so powerful? It’s is the modern day convergence of PR, social, SEO and good old-fashioned storytelling.

Building a hotel’s reach in this way, with existing and potential customer base, is a valuable way of staying fresh. In the competitive online world it gives people a reason (new content) to go back to a hotel's website - it makes a site a place to go for interesting reading rather than just regurgitating hotel-centric information.

When the content’s good it will be shared and sourced by others, building a community for the customer.

The clientele of these luxury hotels want more for their dollar. They want to feel special, like a VIP and have their views and custom valued. That goes without saying, but they also want a little extra.

In same way that the young millennials are thrill seeking and experiential in their demands from brands, so too are the lux customers (they just have more cash in their pockets to spend).

Here's a seven-step easy-to-implement action plan that is focused on increasing a hotel’s direct bookings, that sells the dream of it being special place to stay and builds a community with the fans and followers. Here's a sneek preview of our plan.

1. Create a glossy social magazine-style blog

This style of blog will enable the hotel brand to become a publisher. A beautifully crafted, customised blog will mean an in-house team can create, customise and publish engaging editorial that’s attractive to search engines and ultimately brings in new customers.

We love the ones created by Flockler. They're social, optimised for mobile and tablets and increase the customer reach.

2. Fresh content for the blog

The blog should cover stories that your customers will be interested in. We love the COMO hotel group's blog as an example. It's a classic in-bound marketing technique applied in a B2C world.

From the “Mind, Body & Spirit” column teaching you how to do yoga at home to  “Tales from the front desk” column it gives its customers a reason to come back for more.  

It promises "inside access to exclusive stories" happening in its hotels around the world and secret tips from all the locations where its hotels are.  

3. A blogging outreach programme

The blog should have multiple authors and voices. By indentifying influential bloggers and inviting them to a “VIP bloggers evening” will give them an experience, a reason to write for you and about you on their popular blog.

The Standard Hotels group in the States does this well. Its Standard Culture blog is filled with guest posts and unique behehind the scenes footage and collaborations with brands collaborations such as Warby Parker further cementing it into popular culture.

4. Engaging with the audience

Earned media (social, blogging) is a high-growth area. Consumers trust word-of mouth recommendations and reviews are 80% more trusted traditional marketing and paid for media.

Hotels that tap into this market and facilitate user generated content have a double win. Fairmont Hotels New York Plaza's recent "The Great Gatsby Getaway Contest" was a good example of how this can work.

The hotel asked people to submit a photo that evoked the 1920s or of a wannabe guest standing in front of The Plaza hotel tagged with the hashtag #ThePlazaPremiere to win a night's stay at the hotel and entrance to a premier screening of the Great Gatsby Film.

The contest was a fantastic way to promote both the hotels name, its rich history and provided the winner with an unforgettable experience. The #hashtag is still out there. Give it a search on Instagram and look at some of the amazing entries.

5. Creating an app

Build an easy-to-use simple app that acts as a guide to what’s on in the hotel, but also beyond (best restaurants, local & time specific concerts, sight-seeing tours etc). The app would be available to buy in the app store for non-guests but guests get an access code to download it free on check-in.

The idea is that people can socialize everything they do in-app and share with their social networks, as well as continue to communicate with the hotel during and after their stay (via push notifications).

The app could also easily be developed to pre-order room service, other hotel services and eventually act as a payment card for contactless payment.

6. Remember the good old fashioned email

Incentivise your customers and those visiting your site for the first time to sign up to your weekly/monthly mobile optimised email. Give exclusive deals and promotions only available to those on your list.

Showcase the latest news from your blog and provide something ‘exclusive’ such as “pop-up” events at the hotel. 

7. Think beyond the hotel

Take the publishing mantle further and create up-to-date themed 'Beyond the Hotel' online mini guides to exploring your region.

This would give your potential guests a flavour of the entire destination and what to expect when they arrive. The Standard Hotel's Culture blog does this brilliantly. It's become a destination for hotel guests and locals alike to celebrate their love for travel, discerning taste and modern culture.

Readers can digest all sorts of articles and original content on the latest buzz in Miami, Los Angeles and New York City and hear about upcoming, exciting events. 

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Published 17 July, 2013 by Juliet Stott

Juliet Stott is a freelance journalist, content creator and a contributor to Econsultancy.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter

19 more posts from this author

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Crystal

Absolutely love this piece!

I visited the Plaza Hotel back in April and it was in full Gatsby swing! Between the costumes and props from the film displayed throughout the hotel lobby and corridors, to the Gatsby-inspired drink and food menus and Gatsby brunch in the Palm Court; it certainly created not only a unique experience for the guest but an exciting one as well.

about 3 years ago

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Andrew Healey

Goof post, Juliet. From my experience in the tourism industry, I have found that blogs about the attractions and activities in a region are fantastic subject matter for a blog. When people plan their holiday, of course, they want to plan things to do. If a hotel has a blog with this kind of information as part of their website, the people they attract will be well qualified.

about 3 years ago

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Tangerine Digital

Hi Juliet! Great Work! The way you have portrayed the main guiding points in achieving Content Marketing is certainly insightful. Even, we at Tangerine Digital (www.tangerinedigital.com) work upon the depths and insights of Content Marketing for our clients, and surely understand the importance to it in the Digital World.

Thank you so much for the same.

Team Tangerine Digital

(www.tangerinedigital.com)

about 3 years ago

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Dave Spector

Interesting post Juliet.
Sorry to be a wet blanket, but after working with hoteliers of all sizes for 25 years, we've realized that most hotels do not have the resources of The Standard or The Plaza to tackle advanced marketing concepts like content marketing.

To do it right, as you note, takes an investment of time, creativity and money. Sadly, most hotel marketing staffs are always under the gun to produce results NOW. And the lack of immediately measurable ROI from content marketing makes it a hard sell to management.

Content marketing can be a great way to create kinship with consumers... but often best handled by outsourced firms with deeper resources.

Dave Spector
Partner
Tambourine: Digital Marketing for Hotels/Tourism
New York City • Fort Lauderdale
www.Tambourine.com

about 3 years ago

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Find cheap hotels online

Great post for everyone including me. I am a also a stroller person. I visit a lot of famous places in the world. I always search to new place to visit. Internet is best option to search places and Online booking of hotels is also a good option. It is very time consuming sytem to decide your vacation.

almost 3 years ago

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Samantha William, SeEx pert at Seminative Media

If one wants to expande his hotle business then he should follow above given tips .These are quite informative and one can adopt to expand their hotel business.
http://www.abviwestmonroe.com/

almost 3 years ago

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Edward Nicoloson, Manager at www.boutiquehotelawards.com

I always read blogs on Boutique Hotels and select one of the best hotel for our holidays. I am fond of visiting new places for a memorable experience. Thanks for sharing the list of new hotels.

11 months ago

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