You’re the proud owner of a Caribbean lodging business, whether it’s Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius or Saba in the Dutch Caribbean. When you got into the business, did you think it would be easy since the Caribbean is such a popular destination that takes in millions of visitors every year? If so, then you also quickly discovered how far from reality that dream was. The competition with other establishments is downright fierce, and keeping your place filled up with guests takes a lot more work than you thought it would. You’re not a marketing expert so it feels like you’re probably not doing enough or doing it right, all of which distracts you from what you’re supposed to doing, which is managing the business. Here are some things to focus on:
- Know your audience. Study your audience and learn as much about your lodgers as possible. That way you’ll be able to tailor your marketing messages in ways that attract, retain, and engage them.
- Build a top-notch website. If you don’t have the skills to make it happen, then hire it out to competent team of professionals because this is the foundation upon which you’ll build the rest of your marketing strategy and plans.
- Online content. Create and manage a constant, steady flow of online marketing content across multiple channels that will pull people in, convert them into customers, and then further convert them in long-term loyal fans.
- Get listed. Take the time to make sure your business is listed in as many places as it should be, including as many OTA (online travel agency) sites as make sense (keeping in mind they take a 15-25% commission on each booking, which adds up quickly). Always have a good deal running to draw people in. Encourage your guests to write online reviews of their stay.
- Offer a unique experience. Most hotels are very focused on their features and amenities. You can stand out by offering a unique and enticing experience. Again, keep your target audience and mind and write your content to match their needs and interests. Focus on feelings and motivations.
- Unleash your email. If you’re not building an email list and using it for your Caribbean lodging business, you’re really missing out. It’s a great way to keep previous customers engaged and coming back year after year. When your guests are with you, ask them to opt in with their email address. You can also entice people to sign up for your e-newsletter by raffling off a free week-long stay to everyone who signs up within a certain window of time (and keeps the subscription active for a good six months or longer).
- Retarget visitors. A surprising number of people visit your site once and never return for whatever reason. But you can capture enough information from their visit to retarget them for ads on social media platforms such as Facebook. These can be surprisingly successful.
- Create a blog. You’d be surprised how many previous guests of a Caribbean lodging business will follow a blog if you’re willing to put the time and effort in on it – it’s a great way to retain customers. It also does a lot for your online visibility and search engine awareness as well. And each blog post gives you a piece of content to use in social media postings.
If the above list leaves you feeling more overwhelmed than ever when it comes to marketing your Caribbean lodging business, this may be a sign that it’s time to enlist a professional team of inbound marketers with lodging industry expertise. At JZ Marketing and Communications we work with several condominium rental sites on Aruba and bring solid expertise and experience to the table.