20 Mar 2017
The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing for Resorts
If you’re looking to boost awareness and drive more bookings for your property this year, you’ll need to be willing to invest in online marketing strategies. Today more than ever, travelers are turning to the internet to learn about new destinations, plan trips, get recommendations from friends and strangers, and, of course, make reservations.
As a property manager, it’s your job to make sure that your potential guests are not only able to find you when they go searching online, but that they also understand who you are, what makes you unique, and why they should stay with you and not the other place down the road.
That’s where content marketing comes into play. When done right, content marketing can help you differentiate from competition, become a well-known and trusted resource in your local area, and convince more people to incorporate your property into their future vacation plans.
So the question is, how do you get started?
This introductory guide will give you the tips, tools, and resources you’ll need to start investing in content marketing at your resort.
What is Content Marketing?
Before you dive too deep into creating and publishing blog posts for your resort, it’s important to first understand what content marketing is, and what it isn’t.
So, what is it?
Put plainly, content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating and publishing original content about a specific topic for a particular audience. The general purpose of content marketing is to boost awareness, drive website traffic, capture and nurture leads, and convince people to ultimately buy your service or offering.
With that in mind, here are some statements that can help you better understand what content marketing isn’t:
- Content marketing isn’t blogging. There’s more to content marketing than just writing and publishing new blog posts each week. To get any sort of ROI from your efforts, you have to think about how the blog post you publish will ultimately impact the success of your business. Content marketing requires you to think more about strategy, metrics, audience, and goals.
- Content marketing isn’t about spam. The purpose of content marketing isn’t to sell—the purpose is to convince your audience that your service is worth buying. In other words, you shouldn’t spend all your time blogging about how great your resort is. Instead, you should spend your time blogging about topics that your prospective guests actually care about (more on that later). Content marketing isn’t an infomercial for your resort. It’s supposed to be about providing real value to people who land on your website.
- Content marketing isn’t about fluff. Gone are the days when you can lazily put together a 200 or 500-word blog post, publish it on your blog, and call it a day. A lot of businesses are blogging these days, and as a result, online consumers can often recognize fluffy blog posts vs. blog posts that actually contain real value.
- Content marketing isn’t about you. Instead, you need to think about who your customers are, what questions they have, and how you can position yourself as a resource or a partner in the minds of the people you’re trying to convince to book a stay at your resort.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “OK, so what’s in it for me? Blogging regularly week after week seems like a lot of work, and I’m already strapped for time…what can content marketing actually do for my resort?”
Why Should Resorts Invest In Content Marketing?
Although investing in content marketing does take a considerable amount of time and energy, there are a number of good reasons why resorts should be doing it. Here are a few worth noting:
Reason #1: The playing field is leveled. I’ve mentioned it before: the internet has leveled the playing field in the hospitality industry. These days, the big guys aren’t just competing with the big guys, and the little guys aren’t just competing with the little guys—everyone is in the same boat. As a result, competition is fiercer than ever. In order to drive more bookings, you have to give people a reason to choose your property over the other place. Content marketing can help you differentiate, and ultimately make it easier for you to attract and keep the attention of potential guests.
Reason #2: Outbound marketing can be expensive. It’s also not always as effective in driving conversions. According to the Content Marketing Institute, “content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, it generates more than three times as many leads.” That’s a big opportunity that you could be missing out on right now.
Reason #3: People talk to each other more than ever before. Thanks to apps and websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, it’s never been easier for people to communicate with one another. When you create compelling blog posts for past guests to share and prospective guests to read, you’re able to control part of the conversation by giving everyone something interesting and specific to talk about.
Reason #4: Google is the go-to tool everyone turns to when they need help. Everyone turns to Google when they have a question or need help finding information. When done correctly, content marketing can help ensure that your resort shows up in the results when your prospective guests are looking for the help and solutions that you can provide.
By now you might be starting to understand the value, but for a lot of people, the following question still remains:
What Should Resorts Be Blogging About?
There’s a lot that goes into developing an effective content marketing strategy (to get started, I strongly recommend you spend some time going through this great resource from Buffer), but one of the key components that takes the most time and becomes the most intimidating is coming up with ideas.
If you like the idea of creating a blog and implementing a content marketing strategy for your resort, but you have absolutely no idea what you would blog about, you’re probably not alone. Coming up with good ideas is hard for most people.
To come up with the right ideas, it’s important to remember who you are writing for (people who might be interested in staying at your resort or visiting your city) and why (to get them excited enough about traveling to your destination to ultimately book a reservation with you).
Remember: your blog should focus on providing value and selling people on experiences, as opposed to selling people on the features of your resort.
Asking the following questions can help you form a good list of initial blog post ideas for your audience:
- Who are your guests?
- What do they care most about?
- Why do they come visit your area?
- What do you know about your area that you can share with prospective guests?
- How can you get people excited to come stay with you?
- What unique information or knowledge can you provide to people who land on your blog?
- What makes your resort or property different than all the others around you?
- What is your city or community known for most, and can you position yourself as an expert on that topic?
- What questions do your guests ask you most often when they stay with you, and can you turn any of those topics into blog posts?
If you’re still not sure where to start, here is a list of 10 ideas that you can borrow or adapt for your resort blog:
- The top attractions in your area that anyone visiting should know about.
- The top annual events throughout the year that happen close to your resort – you can even separate them by category (fitness, food, business, art, etc.).
- The history of your resort, your city, and the surrounding area.
- Outline everything that someone should remember to pack when visiting your city or state.
- Maps for different hiking trails, biking trails, or other types of tours guests can take while staying at your resort.
- Photos and stories from former guests who were willing to send you some details and feedback about their stay.
- The importance or relaxation, or fitness, or swimming (coinciding with the unique amenities you offer and the amenities that guests love the most)
- A List of the best food in your area and how to find it.
- Virtual tours or video summaries of daytrips that could be taken from your resort.
- A checklist that travelers can use throughout their entire vacation (things to pack, things to do, places to see, food to try, etc.).
Your ultimate goal is to leverage yourself as a resource and build trust with people who want to know more about the area they might be traveling to. If you can provide the value through your blog content, the bookings will follow.
What Tools Can You Use to Ensure Success?
If you’re just getting started with content marketing at your resort, consider using some or all of the following tools to boost productivity and success:
Tool #1: Resorts and Lodges for Business – To get started, work with the team at ResortsandLodges.com to create original content for your audience. The goal is to keep your blog regularly updated with fresh content that you can use to attract new visitors and differentiate from competition.
Tool #2: Trello – Use Trello to build your editorial calendar and plan your blog post ideas. Trello is a kanban-style project management tool that makes it easy to create cards and illustrate progress on projects. I like to use it to show which blog post ideas are on deck, which are in progress, and which are ready to go live.
Tool #3: Buzzsumo – Use Buzzsumo to get blog post ideas and to connect with audiences and influencers who might appreciate your blog content. Buzzsumo is a content discovery tool that will show you top content based on a keyword or specific site you search for. You can also use it to find people and influencers who would be most likely to engage with your content on social media sites.
Tool #4: Sumo – Use Sumo to collect email addresses on your blog. It’s important that you’re not just driving people to your blog posts, but that you’re also getting them to subscribe to your email list so that you can work on nurturing them down your funnel. I would recommend starting off by implementing the Welcome Mat or List Builder tool on your blog.
Tool #5: Canva – Use Canva to create beautiful images and graphics for your blog posts. Don’t use the same old stock photos that everyone else uses on their blogs. Your audience is already tired of seeing them. Instead, create your own original graphics. Canva makes it incredibly easy to create compelling graphics, even if you don’t have any design experience.
Where Can You Go to Learn More?
This is a beginner’s guide that was intended to give you a taste of what you’ll need to know in order to start investing in content marketing at your resort. If, however, you’d like to dig a little deeper on the subject, spend some time exploring these resources:
- How to Plan a Content Marketing Strategy: A Start-to-Finish Guide from Buffer
- The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing from Quick Sprout
- 42 Quick Content Marketing Ideas for Resorts and Hotels from Copyrise
Over to You
Are you investing in content marketing to drive website traffic and bookings at your resort? What has been working best for you? Tell me in the comments below.