The luxury hotel market is experiencing an upward growth in 2022, thanks in no small way to the continuing restart of the travel industry. According to recent data reported by Bloomberg, the luxury hotel sector was worth an estimated $174 billion in 2020 and anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 4.3 percent to hit a global valuation of $115 billion by 2025.
These promising figures don’t tell us that competition in the luxury hotel and resort market is cut-throat. More than ever, marketers in this hospitality niche must be able to craft and implement robust, actionable, and innovative marketing strategies to ensure their properties stand out in a sea of plenty of accommodations. They must target particular clientele that sees travel and hotel stays from a unique perspective, luxury.
Well-heeled travelers want everything five-star and demand nothing short of top-notch anticipatory concierge service. It’s no surprise that luxury hotel marketing comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities that marketers must identify and optimize to enhance their hotel’s brand, increase engagement, and ultimately boost booking conversion rates.
This article will guide you through vital insights into luxury hotel marketing.
What Really Constitutes a Luxury Hotel?
At their core, luxury hotels are properties that provide their guests with luxury accommodations, along with opulent amenities and great experiences. While they are not supposed to meet specific industry standards, such as room sizes and star rating, some general attributes constitute what a luxury hotel is, including:
- Top-notch, concierge-level customer service
- Personalized booking experience
- A 4-star rating or higher
- At least one fine dining option
- High-tech facilities and specialty services like concierge, valet parking, salon, and spa treatments
- Spacious rooms or suites with plush furnishings, lavish décor, and much more.
- Virtually no wait times for assistance or service
Travelers ofter regard these luxury properties as upscale destinations in their own right and expect them to offer unique experiences. They usually focus on a specific class of clientele and are designed to generate the ambiance and environment that these cash-rich guests desire.
Apples and Oranges: Luxury Hotel Marketing vs. Basic Hotel Marketing
Boutique hotels, motels, hotels, inns, large chain hotels like Marriott, and luxury hotels share one thing; they’re there to offer accommodation to guests. From there, they diverge, most notably in terms of the room rates and quality of amenities and service. The same is true of luxury hotel marketing and traditional hotel marketing.
Regular hotels are interested in booking anyone willing and able to pay for their rooms, so their marketers create strategies for capturing a large, diverse audience. Their brand marketing strategies are typically less targeted and more generalized because they aim to meet the needs of everyone. Meanwhile, luxury hotel marketers focus on a specific clientele, the luxury traveler.
The brand website of a regular hotel might highlight best-selling points like the location, being family-friendly, or offering a complimentary buffet breakfast for all guests. Luxury hotel marketers tailor their message to a more unique and specific audience. They will highlight the state of the art pools, minibars, en suite rooms, marble-floor bathrooms, and lavish décor to entice luxury-seeking guests.
Luxury hotel marketers usually craft hyper-targeted and personalized marketing strategies to get the attention of their target audience. By monitoring their web activity, past guest records, and other pieces of information, they can know their potential guests better, figure out what they want, and how their booking behavior may change in the future. These granular customizations allow marketers to tailor their marketing to be relevant to their clientele’s personality and individual interests, tastes, and financial situations.
Luxury Hotel Marketing Done Right
It all starts with your hotel website.
It’s a well-known fact that a solid online presence is a vital component of any successful luxury hotel marketing. Luxury travelers love exclusivity, and they want to see this right from the first point of call: your hotel website.
But how can you make your luxury hotel website different and stand out from the rest? Remember, luxury guests value exclusivity, but a pleasant browsing experience is also necessary. For this reason, your hotel website should:
- Have super-fast page speeds.
- Offer a responsive and user-friendly experience on both desktop and mobile.
- Provide clear avenues for personalized communication with hotel staff.
- Link to up-to-date social media pages and review websites.
- Show off the best-selling features and amenities of the rooms and hotel itself.
- Make the booking and reservation process easy, seamless, and appealing.
- Highlight the hotel’s rich history and unique personality.
- Focus on promising experiences, exquisite services, and offer cost savings.
- Provide clear information and outline available services for potential visitors.
- Have web pages that look and feel lavish and mirror the hotel’s personality and theme.
Gen-Zers and millennials make up an increasing chunk of luxury hotel guests. What’s more, studies have shown that these guests are interested in a combination of offline and online experiences, and they’re willing to work with a brand they can interact with on the web.
Add value instead of slicing prices.
Budget hotels can battle it out on the pricing front without hurting their reputation. The more deals they offer, the higher the guests perceive them. But the other way around is true for luxury hotels. They can suffer inadvertent reputation damage and brand degradation if they start slicing their room rates and offering regular discounts out of the blue.
Money is usually not a significant factor for luxury travelers and won’t respond positively to a price-cutting hotel marketing strategy. They might recoil from your property and opt for a more expensive hotel instead.
Rather than reducing the room price, you can add value to the experience in the form of pampering and free luxury perks, such as late check-outs, unique gifts, fine dining credits, or additional concierge services. More importantly, introduce more bonuses intended to appeal to luxury-seeking guests.
Craft a personalized, targeted marketing strategy.
Luxury hotel marketers are a group of marketing experts who often appreciate the power of personalization. Given the size of their customer base, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Data also show that more than half of travelers say they’re likely to ditch a hotel if they think the brand does not invest enough effort into personalizing their guest experiences and communications.
Today’s guests, let alone luxury travelers, want to feel appreciated and get the sense that their needs are understood. In this way, they can rest assured that the hotel will meet their expectations and requirements, which is understandable given the expense of staying at a lavish hotel.
Let the pride in your luxury hotel and its offerings show.
Regarding luxury hotel marketing, you shouldn’t be afraid to flaunt the swanky features, elegant rooms, and upscale amenities to your potential guests. It’s what they’re after, so sell your hotel’s luxury brand, exclusive services, and prime location.
The best luxury hotel marketers often promote their property’s high-end facilities and lavish lifestyles. It’s not a marketing sin to detail the ultra-expensive services you provide, the top-notch products you offer, or even boast about your hotel brand. Your brand has a reputation for opulent indulgence and decadent luxury, don’t be afraid to let it shine.
Publish informative, engaging, and educational content.
Most luxury hotels have already incorporated content into their digital marketing, and it’s a brilliant strategy that’ll pay off long after other tactics have gone stale. Why create content when your target audience is made up of affluent clientele?
Glad you ask. You see, the most successful and moneyed people are avid readers who like to stay on top of things. They want to learn and educate themselves on an ongoing basis. Get this: roughly 86 percent of high-wage-earners and wealthy people say they love reading, according to Business Insider.
Using blogs, email blasts, or other content avenues to support your luxury hotel marketing, is your golden opportunity to wow some of the most ardent readers with good writing. The content should be relevant, engaging, and informative.
Instead of pushing sales pitches down their throats, provide luxury travelers with content they’re likely to find helpful. Think videos, posts, and articles about self-improvement, hidden tourist gems, fitness, health, investment, and even how to navigate international travel. Remember, this literate demographic won’t entertain generic writing.
Instagram currently has well over two billion active monthly users, as reported by CNBC. Around seven out of ten of active Instagrammers flaunt their holiday getaway videos and photos on the platform for their friends and followers to see and covet.
Additionally, millennials, along with gen-zers, top the list of the most frequent luxury travelers, as they vacation for an average of five weeks annually. And because they’re career-driven, millennials prioritize relaxation at a luxury destination when they vacation.
Their love for experiences and expressing their scenic getaways through social media creates a prime opportunity for luxury hotels. As noted by Digital Authority Partners, there are at least a couple of primary ways luxury hotel marketers can take advantage of this fact when creating their Instagram strategies.
First, you can use Instagram to craft a compelling digital experience with ads and posts. See to it that you showcase your luxurious rooms, amenities, and excellent customer service. Tap into their emotions by making everything feel relaxing, extravagant, and beautiful. Every aspect of your marketing campaign should be on brand and entice your audience to book a room the next second.
Secondly, encourage past and present guests to post their stay and experiences on Instagram. Find a way to incentivize them to tag your social media handles and pages in their videos, photos, and posts. You’ll soon see bookings and inquiries roll in.
While luxury properties can employ general hotel marketing strategies, they should take things to the next level. They should research their VIP guests, figure out what they want in their stay, and how their desires may change in the future. It’s all about offering value over pricing and making the audience understand what makes your hotel stand out.