10 Resort Marketing Tactics to Take Your Property to the Next Level
By Jordan Hollander
Last updated November 28, 2023
5 min read
Are you looking for new and fresh marketing strategies to take your resort to new heights? Searching for ways to generate incremental bookings and revenue? It can be difficult to know where to start, especially when there are so many potential marketing strategies to try. Which ones are going to move the needle for your property? Since you don’t want to throw money into a strategy with little payoff, the marketing tactics we discuss in this article can deliver real results for your resort. Even with minimal initial investment, you can unlock more bookings, higher revenue, and happier guests. So if you’re trying to reach new guests or reconnect with past guests, these 10 resort marketing tactics can help you reach your goals.
In this article we'll mention vendors that can help you succeed with these tactics - each vendor was selected by using the 'resorts' property type filter on HotelTechReport to identify the #1 solution for resorts in a given category.
1. Leverage a CRM to bring back old guests
Where’s your database of past guests? When was the last time you sent a personalized, targeted email to them? If your guest database lives in your property management system, it might be time to consider investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) system to more effectively nurture relationships with past guests through email marketing. The key to effective email marketing is to make your campaigns as personalized as possible. For hotels, CRM can unlock immense value because your PMS already collects so much information about your guests, and with the right integration, your PMS can pass all this data to your CRM. You know when they stayed, what room type they booked, where they came from, who they traveled with, and more – giving you all the inputs to craft a very relevant and personal email campaign. For example, maybe you see softness in occupancy for your suites in February. You can build a campaign that targets guests who stayed in that room category in February of last year and the year prior and invite them to come back. Rather than blasting your entire database with a campaign that might not be relevant for them, you can find more success by keeping your campaigns targeted.
2. Tap into demand from metasearch
Is your resort feeding rates to metasearch channels like Google and Tripadvisor? If not, then the only rates showing on metasearch for your property are the OTAs, which means that any potential guest using a metasearch channel is likely to book on a third-party channel. Using a metasearch connectivity vendor is a great way to get more visibility and more direct bookings. Not only can your resort benefit from the extra visibility, but you can also use metasearch to promote any direct booking benefits you offer, like loyalty rates or flexible cancellation policies, which helps your own website stand out from the third-parties.
3. Launch your profiles on emerging social channels
Resorts have a nice opportunity to find success on the new crop of highly visual social media channels thanks to their picturesque locations, plethora of amenities, and potential for user-generated content. TikTok and Youtube are great channels to showcase videos of your property that help potential guests picture what it would be like to stay there. If you don’t already have profiles on TikTok and Youtube, now is a great time to start. They’re totally free to set up, though you’ll want to invest in producing high-quality content or partnering with influencers who can create content for you.
4. Maintain your presence on old school social channels
Although TikTok and Youtube are all over the news, let’s not forget about the legacy social channels like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, which still see millions and millions of daily active users. Instagram and Facebook are great platforms to keep in touch with your past guests, and you can encourage current guests to post about their experiences and tag your resort’s profile or use your preferred hashtags. LinkedIn, on the other hand, can be a unique way to advertise to a corporate audience who may be looking for room blocks, meeting space, or negotiated rates.
5. Leverage sales management software
What does your sales process look like right now? If you’re still using file cabinets and paper contracts, then it’s probably time to upgrade to modern sales management software so your sales team can operate more efficiently. Not only does sales management software make it easier to send and follow up on RFPs and proposals, but you can automate many tasks that enable your team to secure more MICE business with the same bandwidth. These systems are packed with features that help with everything from task tracking to BEO creation.
6. Invest in search engine optimization
Everybody wants their website to appear at the top of the Google search results, but it’s easier said than done. Between competition from OTAs other properties in the area (or even other properties with similar names), your resort’s website might not always appear at the top even when users are searching for your property name. And it takes extra focus on search engine optimization to appear in searches for keywords related to your destination or property type (like “best resorts in Florida near the beach”). SEO has a lot of technical nuances, so it’s worthwhile to pay an expert or an agency to do a SEO audit and provide specific recommendations for your site, which might include content or formatting suggestions or more technical elements.
7. Refine your search engine marketing strategies
Going hand-in-hand with SEO, if you want to dominate the search results, is search engine marketing. Sometimes the most effective way to capture clicks is to pay your way to the top of the page, and these dollars can really pay off, especially if it means getting direct bookings instead of third-party bookings. Google is the most popular place to run pay-per-click ads, in which you pay roughly $1 to $5 per click on your ad, to be listed in one of the top placements on the page. Like SEO, search engine marketing (SEM) can be complicated for beginners to pick up; instead, partnering with a digital marketing agency or contractor well versed in SEM can be the best way to manage your ad campaigns.
8. Consider independent loyalty programs
It’s often more difficult for independent properties to build loyalty and offer compelling loyalty perks without the resources provided by a big brand. To fill this gap, independent loyalty programs can unlock value for independent hotels and resorts that want to offer loyalty benefits without starting a bespoke program from scratch. Some programs, like Stash and Preferred Hotels, are membership-based and require properties to meet certain criteria to join. In exchange for paying a membership fee, hotels can take advantage of the marketing efforts and loyalty perks Preferred provides all member hotels. Another option is to partner with a vendor, such as The Guestbook, which can give your guests perks like gift cards and cash back for booking your property.
9. Adopt a revenue management system
Implementing a revenue management system might not seem like a marketing tactic at first glance, but your rate strategy is directly tied to your marketing goals. Need to reach a certain segment of guests? Want to offer packages? What about upsells? All of these tactics have a rate strategy component, so a revenue management system can help you ensure your pricing is competitive in the market. Furthermore, using a revenue management system to set specific rate plans for different marketing initiatives can be very helpful when tracking performance. Don't forget to make sure that your new RMS integrates with your Hotel Management Software or you will likely not be able to get the most out of your new pricing tool.
10. Drive more revenue through guest experience apps
Once guests are on property, does the marketing stop? With a guest experience app, you can continue to promote upsell offers, F&B specials, spa deals, and more to guests who are already on-site or in the area. In addition to serving as a helpful guide for guests to learn about your resort’s facilities and policies, a guest experience app can be a fantastic marketing tool since you can notify guests about the most relevant and actionable offers. When you integrate your guest experience app with your PMS, you can even streamline billing, data sharing, and communications.
Which marketing tactic will you try first? Whether your goal is to generate demand, build loyalty, or increase revenue, these marketing tactics can bring real results to your resort.