Hospitality establishments have two ways to attract guests – direct selling and advertising.
Direct selling is the backbone of the industry although advertising has proved to be more important.
Hospitality Industry Advertising creates awareness of the property before making a sales call.
These days, advertising is becoming more widely used. Managers must understand all the intricacies of advertising in order to make favourable decisions leading to profitability.
There are several types of advertising – outdoor advertising, displays, collateral materials, print advertising, direct mail, broadcast, and social media (Facebook, Tweeter, Linkedin are a just a few). Each type has strengths that can be capitalized on for generating name recognition..
Outdoor advertising includes the property’s sign, and off property billboards on highways and streets. In some jurisdictions, high way billboards are prohibited except at a minimum distance to the property.
The property sign must commensurate with the level of luxury of the establishment, and be appropriately maintained. An illuminated sign missing several letters fails to evoke confidence in potential guests.
Displays, i.e brochures, folders, post cards, posters of the property in transportation terminals, and trade shows can generate awareness and in some cases, attract guests.
In developed countries, such displays may be of limited value, as most travellers arriving will have hotel reservations. In developing countries, displays may have some commercial value.
Collateral materials such as posters, tent cards, fact sheets, and promotional products (i,e key chains, match boxes, pens, letter openers embossed with the name, address, telephone number, and web site) have proven to be effective. Printing collateral material requires long lead times to produce, is expensive if quantities involved happen to be small.
Print advertising is widely read by locals, and in several major cities if the newspaper is distributed widely i.e new York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Time magazine just to name a few.
These days, millions read local newspaper on line, even in remote locations (Torontonians may read several newspapers all over the world on-line along with advertising). Print advertising is target able (circulation and disposable income of readers are known).
Magazine advertising attracts more readers per copy than newspaper. Magazines remain in circulation longer than newspapers and specialized magazines are read by special interest segments of the population. If you want to appeal to naturalists, select a specialized magazine to achieve best results. On the negative side, magazine advertising is more expensive than newspaper on circulation basis.
Directory advertising in yellow Pages, telephone directories and specialized directories have proved to be effective, as millions of consumers refer to them daily. However, today the Internet is becoming the most frequently used reference (especially search engines such as Google, and other specialized web sites).
Direct mail advertising is effective within the immediate neighbourhood (up to a radius of five kilometres). Material can be produced quickly and distributed either by bulk-mail (postal walk) or specialized companies. Some people (at least in North America) consider direct mail jail mail and discard immediately.
Broadcast advertising includes radio, TV, and video. Radio advertising is available 24/7 and can be cost-justifiable if time slots are chosen wisely. Commuters listen to radio advertising. Radio stations maintain in-depth information about circulation on a per day, per hour, disposable income of their listeners.
TV advertising is much more expensive than radio, and print, but if the station is national it can be very effective and per view basis less expensive. Only very large national companies can afford national advertising (i.e multinational hotel chains, or restaurants)
Video advertising companies develop tapes (four to six minutes in length) and include them into their packages of printed brochures that go to travel agents and other distribution channels.
Both IT and social networks (i.e Facebook, Twitter, and others) have become effective ways to advertise in a different way to all of the above.
Social media is multilevel and interactive, but any company that decides to advertise in this channel must make every effort to responds to all questions and evolutions immediately.
The costs of production of any advertising in print, radio, TV and social media must be borne by the advertiser. In many developed countries, especially in North America, managers regard advertising as the lifeblood of their business and spend significant amounts on it.
Before you start Hospitality Industry Advertising, develop a plan, establish a budget, and then consider production costs and selection of medium.