Hotel promotions are marketing tactics that will inform your potential guests about something they can take advantage of or incentivise them to take an action. For example, Get 10% off for today only. Book now!

Hotel room promotions can be used for a range of purposes, like the short-term incentives we just mentioned or bigger initiatives such as focusing a promotion on particular events, seasons, or amenities.

Hotel promotions are a great way to boost bookings at your small property, since they can often generate excitement for travellers, offer great value for money, and promise amazing experiences.This blog will give you a number of helpful hotel promotion ideas to get more bookings and revenue at your accommodation business. But first, you might be asking if there’s a difference between promotions and marketing and the answer is yes. Let’s first quickly look at what they are.

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Hotel promotions vs marketing: What’s the difference?

A hotel promotion is a type of marketing but a promotion is used to create positive awareness or interest in a particular offering.

On the other hand marketing encompasses a whole range of activities that start from identifying customer needs and continues all the way through to selling and even after the purchase.

Why is it important to use hotel room promotions at your property?

Promotions are important because they are a great way for you to boost occupancy and revenue quickly when you’re experiencing a low period or want to take full advantage of a peak period.

A good hotel promotion idea will increase trust from your customers by offering them awareness, value, and excitement.

6 things that all the best hotel promotions share

What do good hotel promotion ideas look like? Well, the best hotel promotions share a few things in common, including:

1. Value to guests

The aim of hotel promotions is to attract more guests, so you need to ensure yours are alluring to guests – enticing enough to spur action.

2. Clear terms and conditions

Many hotels and businesses have learnt the value of thorough Ts & Cs the hard way. Ensure creative guests can’t use your hotel room promotion against you, by doing things like piling discount upon discount or booking low rates at peak times.

3. Relevance

When considering ideas for hotel promotion, ensure that they speak to your target market. Hotel promotion examples for five-star escapes, family resorts and backpacker hostels will all look very different.

4. Simplicity

Your hotel promotion idea should be easy to understand and easy to redeem. If the deal is complicated, or there are too many steps involved in taking it up, it’s likely to fail.

5. Analytics

Speaking of success and failure, you should use technology to carefully track your promotion, monitoring whether it’s having the desired effect. If take-up is too slow, you should consider enhancing the offer. If take-up is particularly fast, maybe the offer is a little too good.

6. Exclusivity

You want your guests to feel like they’ve got a real deal – something that they’re lucky to secure, and ideally something that not everyone could secure. By making your deal exclusive – to members, subscribers, return customers – you make it all the more enticing.

Top hotel promotion ideas and examples to try

Hotel promotions allow you to get creative with how you sell your hotel and what you can offer guests to win them over.

Here are some of the best ways to get started:

1. Seasonal promotions

Low season can make it tough to drive business, so why not offer some hot deals to increase your chances of winning bookings? You could try a promotion that gives guests a free meal on their first night, special rates for travellers on business or couples looking to getaway, or a free upgrade upon booking.

In peak season when your occupancy and rates are likely to be higher, your room promotions can revolve more around discounting some of your premium extras or upsells to encourage more purchases. You could also create last minute deals to sell your final rooms, knowing you can make a profit from your food and beverage services.

Remember to use promotions that you know will work best on your regular guest types, and use the right channels to get the word out. For example, is the perfect place to promote last-minute deals. Along the same lines you could also try ‘early-bird’ promotions for travellers wanting to secure their accommodation well ahead of time.

Make it easy to connect and manage extra channels with a hotel channel manager.

2. Themed promotions

Themed promotions are an easy way to attract particular guest segments, and can be based around events, times of year, or special occasions.

Here are some examples of themes you can use to create promotions:

  • Travellers enjoying a honeymoon
  • Couples celebrating an anniversary
  • Halloween
  • A sports event
  • A famous musician or celebrity is in town
  • Christmas or Easter
  • Valentine’s Day

What you decide to offer is ultimately going to depend on your specific property but it might include package deals, food and beverage offerings, value-added experiences, or local business partnerships.

3. Partnership promotions

That brings us to our next idea; teaming up with other businesses in your destination. It’s likely you aren’t the only ones in town looking to capitalise on visiting travellers, so why not team up to offer exciting packages, discounts, tours, or activities?

Partnerships will help you save money and reach more people, and even introduce you to a new market which you haven’t sold to before.

Common partnerships you might consider include those with theme parks, tour guides, restaurants and cinemas, museums and galleries, sporting arenas, or other local attractions like zoos.

4. Hashtag promotions

Social media is one of the most powerful ways to promote your small hotel, because 76% of social media users will post photos of their vacations and 52% of travellers say friends’ travel posts inspired their own trips.

Increase your Instagram and Facebook visibility by creating a unique hashtag for your hotel and encourage guests to use it when they post about you.

Keep your hashtag short – it should not be more than three words long – and remember that spaces and punctuation break up the hashtag. Consider using uppercase letters to break up the phrase: #TravelAustralia instead of #travelaustralia.

Use simple, generic hashtags on your posts, such as #bedandbreakfast or #localhotels, to improve your exposure.

Incorporate hashtags that promote your local region, such as #PureMichigan or #VisitWales. This helps you connect with travellers who are in that region, and also other local businesses.

5. Trend promotions

Leverage popular culture to attract customers, like certain brands did during the Pokemon Go trend. 

At the height of the Pokemon Go trend in 2016, a survey of Millenials found 79% planned to play Pokemon Go while travelling and 48% were considering choosing their next destination based on the game.

In response, TripAdvisor and Yelp added Pokemon Go filters, allowing users to search for restaurants, hotels and attractions with PokeStops and Pokemon nearby. This in turn saw nearby hospitality businesses, including hotels, attempt to capitalise on the foot traffic by:

  • Adding high-speed Wi-Fi access and phone charging stations.
  • Offering players a place to eat, drink and take a break.
  • Creating promotions that encouraged people to play Pokemon Go at the hotel, such as coupons and discounts.

6. Extended stays promotions  

Many hotel operators struggle to drive bookings for extended weekend and midweek stays, particularly in areas that are considered to be weekend destinations. Rather than setting low room rates in hope of attracting guests and driving demand, you should apply your standard room pricing but add more value for guests who may be interested in staying during these low-traffic periods.

These are a few of the best ways to attract more extended weekend and midweek stays at your hotel:

Create weekday events

Many people travel to a specific destination because of an event or festival in the area. If you are looking to drive weekday bookings at your property without lowering your room rates, plan an event that will generate buzz and will interest your target market. Concerts with local musicians, book signings, holiday events and themed gatherings are a few examples of events that you could host at your hotel. 

By promoting these events within your local community as well as on social media, you’ll be able to attract the attention of visitors who will be motivated to book a room at your hotel to fully enjoy the event.

Design packages to encourage bookings

If you are struggling to get guests to book during the week or to extend their weekend stays, chances are there are other local businesses in your area dealing with the same issue. Confront the problem together, and start offering packages that will add value and encourage people to stay longer in your destination. 

You may be able to create a dining plan option with local restaurants that is only available during the week, or you could create a package that offers discount tours with the local tour company on weekdays.

Offer promotion codes

One of the best ways to encourage your weekend visitors to stay longer is to send them a promo code shortly after they have booked their rooms to let them know about your great deal. You can give them a small discount if they decide to extend their stay into the week. Sometimes, this incentive is all it takes for guests to decide to transform their weekend visit into an extended stay in your destination. 

Use automated email features through your property management system to deliver these deals to your customers immediately after they have booked directly through your B&B website.

Setting an effective room pricing strategy that drives hotel revenue at your property is easier than ever when you use a business solution designed specifically for small accommodations providers.

7. Sporting promotions

With sporting events like the Football World Cup amassing thousands of fans from across the globe, there is always plenty of late bookings and extended stays as many fans will wait to see if their team makes it through each stage.  

Ensure you’re discoverable on Google by using long tail keywords like “B&B accommodation for the World Cup” and trending keywords like “World Cup B&B”.  

Start putting together and advertising your packages to ensure you are involved in the online discussion. Show your guests you are as excited as they are for the games!

Attract more fans who are already travelling during this time by advertising that you will be screening the game live and offering ‘too good to miss’ food and beverage specials.

Online travel agents will be doing their own advertising around the big games, so it’s important that you are efficiently managing your different online distribution channels so your revenue is maximised in all the right places.

8. Destination promotions

The overwhelming majority of travellers choose their destination before their accommodation, so consider creating a promotion campaign based on your destination.

By promoting your destination in addition to your property, you’ll help boost the entire local economy!

Strategy for hotel promotion that includes your destination 

There are many ways to create a destination promotion strategy that can help your property:

Create content

Write blogs that focus on your area. Post about fun and unique things to do or highlight awesome local businesses. Be strategic in trying to convert web visitors into real visitors.

Partner with local businesses & DMOs

If your area has a destination marketing organisation, work with them to create promo materials and deals that will entice travellers to visit your region.

Generate newsworthy buzz

Send out press releases to local, national and international media organisations about cool things that are happening in your region, such as major local events. This can see the media promoting your destination for you.

9. Geo-targeting promotions

In terms of promoting the rooms at your small property, you probably know which cities your best guests come from – or at least, where you would like them to come from. But how do you target these specific locations?

Here are three clever ways small accommodation providers can start geo-targeting marketing promotions to attract the right guests.

Paid ads

Online advertising platforms allow you to sell your rooms to specific locations for a relatively small cost.

Using geo-targeting, you can make sure your advertising dollars aren’t being wasted on markets you know don’t work for you.

First, decide on a bunch of locations you want to target. Then, use similar budgets for 3 months. Check which location is giving you the most reservations, and double your spend there. 

For locations that get you lots of clicks but no actual reservations, you can decide to drop them or to lower the spend.

  • Include your regional terms in your ads eg. “hunter valley b&b”.
  • Personalise your ads to the location. for example, if you know it’s winter over there and it’s summer where you are, you can say “get away from the cold!”.
  • Enable location and call extensions in local ads so that your guests are only a click away from making a phone call (learn more about ad extensions here).

Marketing emails

Your PMS system should allow you to collect each guests’ location. Take this data, and further segment your guests by type of traveller segment (eg. family, romance, business, millennial).

To build your lists, why not ask guests at the end of their feedback survey if they would like to receive promotions and offers for their future stay? You can also add a subscription form to your website, and even leave a physical sign up card in their rooms.

Once you have your lists, you can send targeted promotions to your database! Remember to consider location as well as traveller segment.

  • Keep your subject lines and emails short and sweet.
  • Send emails consistently (at least once per month).
  • Share interesting information as well as promotions (eg. attractions, events).
  • See which locations work the best by looking at which clicks turn into actual bookings.

Key tips when using events as part of your hotel promotion

For a short period of time, large events, such as sporting events, will bring in record-breaking crowds to your region.

While you can’t take in more guests at this time – you only have a finite number of rooms – you can attract guests from new target markets as well as improve your revenue management strategy to increase your profits at this time.

Your competition is going to be increasing their rates for this in-demand event, so you should do the same. Here are some of our top tips that will help set your small property apart from the other local hotels that are likely to take advantage as well.

Have a landing page

Optimise your web content for the upcoming events. Create a landing page specifically for the event, and add valuable information about the events as well as nearby attractions that guests can incorporate into their stay.

Use this page to prove why guests should choose your property, and incorporate the best SEO techniques to increase your visibility to this market.

Target online ads

Invest in targeted online advertising designed to drive direct bookings. Targeted online ads will reach the interested travellers who are most likely to stay at your property during the big event.

Many social networking platforms offer these advertising options, and they are a worthwhile investment for your B&B.

Personalised packages

Create packages aimed at this new market segment that will be arriving in your destination. You could design a package filled with extras geared towards sports enthusiasts.

Options to consider include transportation to and from the event, as well as baskets of local snacks and treats that they can enjoy during their stay.

Your packages should prove that your property is the most convenient as well as the most valuable accommodation for their upcoming stay, and also should set your bed and breakfast apart from other local hotels that are competing for the same guests.

Hotel promotion examples for social media 

Social media is a powerful and cost-effective way to interact with your target audience. Facebook and Instagram in particular are thriving hubs that millions of people around the world use to browse travel related content. Sometimes they even make their decision to book with you while visiting your Facebook page, so make sure you have an online booking engine ready to process their reservation.

Some of the best ways to promote your property on Facebook and Instagram include:

  • Requesting guests to tag you in their photos
  • Posting on your profiles about any specials or deals you have running
  • Running polls to engage your followers
  • Running competitions to get people to share your page and attract more followers
  • Hosting giveaways to get people talking about you to their friends and family
  • Working with influencers, reviewers, or bloggers to broaden your reach
  • Research and use popular hashtags to catch the eye of potential guests

It’s also important that you promote your local area on your public social media profiles and your website too. Guests are not just looking for accommodation, they are looking for experiences, so you need to make your destination stand out.

One way to do this is to write ‘listicle’ articles and share them to your social media pages. For example, 10 of the best things to do in and around Miami.

Other hotel promotion ideas for your small property

Yes, there’s more! Promoting your property can become a very diverse and creative undertaking and you can promote it in many ways at the same time, increasing your chances of winning bookings.

Here are some more ideas which will help you reach more guests and earn revenue:

  • Opening your doors to the community – Even if your property isn’t large, you can still run mini-events like eating competitions, fitness challenges, exercise classes, cooking classes etc.
  • Setting up a loyalty program – Loyalty programs really can work, especially in smaller properties that may have many return guests. The more loyal guests you can reward, the more likely you are to receive positive reviews and free word of mouth.
  • Creating itinerary bundles – Guests will jump at the chance to have a personalised experience bundle ready and waiting for them with their booking. For example, a family bundle that includes local experiences and dinner set out for them during their stay.
  • Write content about your passions or products – If your property has its own wine cellar, orchard, or vegetable patch, use your blog to talk about your amazing produce and attract visitors to your website.
  • Be a local expert – People will often use discussion boards like Quora or Reddit and others to seek information about your local area. Help them out and promote your property at the same time by providing answers.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).