January 15

What to include in your hotel marketing plan in 2020



For many marketers, the hotel marketing plan can be more of a token than a useful tool, simply created for the sake of it.

Sound familiar?

Rather than gearing up for another busy year with only a light marketing plan behind you, take the day to check out of the hotel day-to-day, and start working on a hotel marketing plan that will see you through 2020.

As our hotel guests use new channels and expect more from their chosen brands, there’s never been a better time to enrol in my Social Media Workshop Course and start your social marketing plan on the right foot.

Activity specific to channels

Simply plotting ‘Australian Open’ into your hotel marketing plan for January, does not spell a strategy. It also doesn’t indicate how this event will be rolled out across your channels, and how you can mould that message or event to different audience types.

Try to split your marketing plan into 3 key channels PAID, EARNED & OWNED

When you are thinking about activations you should include the following:

  1. Planned organic social media activity 

  2. Paid Ads activity

  3. Email marketing 

  4. Landing pages for promotions 

  5. Blogs or purpose-built content landing pages 

  6. Partnership or influencer activity

  7. Point of sale/signage (keycards, posters in lobby lifts etc)

Sure, a lot of this is common knowledge to the seasoned hotel marketer, but you need to be thinking about how your message will roll out on these different channels.

Your blog could be a round-up of all the events happening at the Australian Open and how to get there from the hotel, whereas your social media could be teasing the event with some tennis paraphernalia around the hotels or in the guest rooms.

Don’t just tick one channel box, use them all for greater engagement. 

A balance of tactical and brand messages

I don’t care how good your summer sale is or what the special is at the bar – I can assure you you’re audience have seen it all before!

Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t pepper some tactical messages into your marketing plan, but they should be used sparingly and be secondary to branding messages and storytelling.

The risk of too many offers is that you fatigue your audience, and they come to expect these empty interactions and no longer think of your brand as someone who adds value… but someone offering a quick bargain.

Next time you push a tactical message on social, email or any channel, ask yourself this:

  • How many times has the hotel communicated an offer this quarter?

  • Is there a way I can communicate this offer through storytelling?

  • Is there a better message I can be pushing, with the tactical offer as a footnote instead?

If you want more ideas for Social Media check out this blog – 6 Social Media Content Ideas

Incorporate rooms, C&E and F&B

The priority split of rooms, C&E and F&B is never equal, and why would it be when your rooms generate the most revenue? But that doesn’t mean C&E and F&B should be ignored, and deserve their own marketing strategy.

Task your C&E and F&B staff with letting you know when they set up an incredible event, or do tastings for a new menu concept. This content will serve you in the quieter months, and it is much more compelling than an empty event room or bar lounge. Tailor some F&B menu items to align with seasonal events and holidays, as this will resonate with inhouse guests.

If you have a knock-out wedding planned or a special menu for a restaurant booking, see if you can get a photographer to shoot the incredible set-up ahead of the event to use in your marketing activity throughout the year.

User-generated content

You can’t be everywhere at all times, and certainly not luxuriating like your guests! The truth is, you don’t need to be.

Guests do a great job of marketing your hotel, and it’s up to you to capture these images, reviews and experiences and leverage them.

User-generated content also shows your audience how your hotel is used and enjoyed by guests, and a lot more ‘put yourself here’ than a pristinely made bed in a bare room. If you’re not sure where to get started or how you can use them, here are some ideas:

  • Use the images your guest’s post to Facebook and Instagram for future social posting 

  • Turn great TripAdvisor reviews into quote cards using Canva

  • Leave a warm welcome card in your special guest’s room, and prompt them to check-in and use your hotel #hashtag

  • Keep an eye on C&E bookings and see if these companies post photos and event summaries on their channels for great blog content

Once you get into a rhythm with this exercise, it will start to become a part of your marketing activity and the creativity will really flow. Feeling inspired yet? A quick reminder to always ask permission before reposting guest content.


With the plan in place, it’s important that you are accountable to the goals you hope to achieve with these plans.

Now, the hotel industry is an unpredictable one – I get it! But without goals in place, you can’t improve on the month or year before, and you can’t attribute this activity to revenue, room or restaurant booking uplift.

Here are some goals that you can include in your marketing plan:

  • Increase in email marketing open rate

  • X number of new social media followers per month

  • X% more web traffic year on year

  • Greater engagement on social posts

  • More conversions on paid activity at a lower conversion rate

  • Increase of direct bookings over OTA’s

  • Loyalty sign-ups (if applicable)

If measuring and reporting on all these goals is a little daunting, you can start by implementing one or a few at a time.

You might even want to get a handle on one channel, and then include all of them. Data not only validates your activity, but it can inform your future activity, so pay attention!

Well, I hope that has fuelled some creative and strategic thinking for your hotel!  

If you want to get your marketing plan off to the right start in quarter one, be sure to enrol and sign up to my mailing list below for more hotel marketing goodness.

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marketing, planning

Katie Hokin

About the author

Hello, I'm Katie Hokin, A self-professed hotel and digital nerd, servicing a number of hotels and resorts across the country with all things digital and branding. In addition to managing the performance of my hotel portfolio, I offer online courses that hone in on areas that hoteliers are not leveraging to their full potential.

Katie Hokin

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Obsessed with Hotels, Digital Marketing, Branding & Planning

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