Sincerely, BLLA

Top 45 Tips to Effectively Market a Boutique Hotel

It’s essential that your boutique hotel marketing strategy is as unique as your property. All marketing channels are not created equal, and it’s impo...

It’s essential that your boutique hotel marketing strategy is as unique as your property. All marketing channels are not created equal, and it’s important to allocate your marketing budget to the right ones in order to maximize your return on investment. From online searches and first impressions, to targeted content and public reputation, to direct bookings and guest connection, look below to see the top online marketing and design strategies for boutique hotels.

Search Engine Optimization

A picture containing indoor, floor, room, window

Description automatically generatedMelbourne Beach, Florida Boutique Hotel

There is no online channel more important than Google organic. Doing well in Google organic brings in more revenue than any other channel by a significant margin. Having a sound marketing strategy centered around search engine optimization is critical for maximizing revenue. 

  • Boutique hotels must launch a sound local marketing campaign. The Google organic referrer in Google Analytics includes Google My Business traffic and Google organic results.
  • Make sure your website is fully optimized by a professional with proven results you can duplicate with your own searches.
  • Strategize an effective blogging or content building campaign. 
  • Integrate a proper on-page and off-page SEO strategy. 
  • Initiate an effective link-building campaign with targeted search terms.
  • Audit your competition on a regular basis. 

Paid Search Marketing

A picture containing indoor, floor, bed, wall

Description automatically generatedChatham Inn Relais & Châteaux Hotel

Paid search marketing should be one of the top three referrers producing online bookings for boutique hotels in Google Analytics, only behind Google organic and direct bookings. A well-managed paid search campaign is not a cost, it is an investment. Boutique hotels can and should calculate out the value of the dollar. It’s easy to allocate more of the budget towards certain paid search accounts when you can see proof that each $1 turns into $8.

  • Launch paid search campaign in Google Ads, Bing Ads, TripConnect and Google Hotel Ads. 
  • Hire a professional to run your campaigns so you don’t waste money on ineffective tactics. 
  • Integrate strategic campaigns throughout the year such as: seasonal highlights, elopements, weddings, restaurants, major nearby towns, drive-in destinations, staycations, romantic getaways and more. 
  • Make sure to properly track in Google Analytics so you give proper exposure to your top converting keywords, and don’t waste money.
  • Track unique RFP forms for wedding and business retreat campaigns. 
  • Track when people sign up to receive emails. 
  • Choose a booking engine that allows for revenue tracking within Google Analytics. 

Not tracking revenue in Google Analytics is like turning in your homework and not having it graded. Fuel yourself with the knowledge of what is converting for your boutique hotel. 

Website Design 

A picture containing text, nature, outdoor, sunset

Description automatically generated

Maine Bed & Breakfast and Restaurant

The value of a stunning and well optimized website cannot be understated. The dramatic before-and-after results from a professional website design is the gift that keeps on giving for years to come. Oftentimes boutique hotels skimp on the budget for their most important asset. To save money, inn owners will allow a family member or “local expert” to craft their site. Or worse, they feel they can create a website themselves with a free or inexpensive website builder. Below are a few considerations for your next website design, which is essentially the guest’s first impression of your business.

  • The room layout should be easy to skim to help visitors easily find lodging suited to their needs. It should be beautiful, include many photos of the accommodations, and encourage people to book online. 

Graphical user interface, website

Description automatically generated

Your website should include niches that can bring more revenue such a pet friendly page, weddings and elopements, restaurants (which may be best as its own website), spa services and more.

Graphical user interface, website

Description automatically generatedNorthern California Wedding Venue

Add a blog and attraction pages that can bring in people to the website who might not have found you otherwise. These pages can convert at a high rate and also be useful for unique paid search campaigns. 

A landscape with hills and trees

Description automatically generated with low confidenceNew Hampshire Boutique Hotel

Other tips: 

  • Include strategic SEO on the website. 
  • Use impactful video throughout your website. 
  • Hire a professional photographer and videographer.
  • Make sure your website is responsive so it functions seamlessly from mobile to desktop.
  • Promote upsell items like roses, romance packages, pet friendly fees, food & drink, early check-in and late check-out, spa services and more. 
  • Include a “Stay Small, Stay Safe” type page where you explain and highlight your professional  cleaning protocols and safety measures.
  • Encourage visitors to sign up for emails for future marketing opportunities.
  • Provide a branded skin to your booking engine for a seamless transition to instill trust.
  • Make sure your website is ADA and GDPR compliant to avoid lawsuits.
  • Continually analyze your website speed. 
  • Own your website rather than rent or pay a monthly fee to avoid high overall costs or abrupt abandonment. Your website is your most important asset, keep control of it!

Email Marketing

A picture containing grass, tree, outdoor, sky

Description automatically generatedHot Springs, Arkansas Luxury Hotel

Email marketing is a wonderful way to keep in touch with your guests and generate more revenue throughout the year. However, email marketing is only successful if you have a quality email list and follow these important email marketing tips.

  • Actively encourage people to sign up for emails throughout the year.
  • Make sure your emails are branded and as beautiful as your website. 
  • Do not oversaturate your list with too many email blasts too often. 
  • Include specials, packages, upcoming events and more. 
  • Incorporate proper tracking to see what’s working and what your audience respond to best.
  • Sign up for your competitor’s emails so you can make sure yours are always better. 
  • Use beautiful photos to enhance your email, while keeping the content short and sweet.
  • Think mobile-first, with linked photos and clear buttons that are easy to click with a finger.
  • Test, test and test some more to see what type of information and layout gets the most clicks.

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

Social Media Marketing

A living room with a fireplace

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceSavannah, Georgia Boutique Hotel

Many companies allocate a significant budget and effort towards social media marketing simply because it is what they know how to do themselves. The fact is social media is not the lead producer online and results are often underwhelming. That said, boutique hotels do need to have an active presence on social media and there are important strategies to employ.

  • Make sure you are branded across social channels with the same handle. 
  • Include stunning graphics throughout all channels.
  • Launch strategic ad campaigns while targeting custom audiences.
  • Integrate custom URLs for proper tracking in Google Analytics. 
  • Consider remarketing campaigns to different groups depending on pages they view on your website. 
  • Test video and graphic campaigns. 
  • Engage with your loyal followers that are taking the time to comment in your social channels.
  • Encourage people to follow you on social media with unique contests – but be aware of legal limitations and rules of specific social media channels.  
  • Focus on specific channels for your audience. For instance, if you provide weddings then Pinterest is an essential platform.

While there is much more to online marketing and design than is included in this list, we hope this gives you a solid start to evaluating and improving your own boutique hotel marketing strategies.

The author of this thought leadership commentary, White Stone Marketing, is a premier partner member of BLLA – view more details here!

You might like these too

Maximizing Room Profitability, Minimizing Environmental Impact

Avendra’s Commodity Market Update for Q1 2024 rings in some good news for your budget and guest experience. Inflation appears to be stabilizing, and ...

The Culture Conundrum

Anyone who has ever worked for any organization has heard how important “culture” is to the operating environment. Because the word is used so loosel...