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For hostel owners, hostel marketing is a way to ensure their property stands out from the crowd. From optimizing your website to leveraging social media and working with online travel agencies (OTAs), we'll cover a range of tactics that drive more traffic to your property and boost occupancy rates.
Whether you're a new hostel owner or an established property looking to gain a competitive edge, you'll benefit from these marketing strategies. Want to achieve business goals while also building a loyal customer base? Keep reading.
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The most effective marketing strategies for hostels
Gone are the days of traveling with a backpack and a travel guide. Modern hostel guests travel with a laptop and a smartphone. Here's where marketing strategies shine, enabling hostel owners to grab the attention of their target audience and attract new guests.
Are you using social media to promote your brand? Social media can boost bookings and influence travelers’ decisions, especially for younger audiences such as Millennials and GenZ, who tend to stay at hostels due to budget constraints. You'll learn how to leverage social media to drive bookings to your hostel.
Sell the experience and the destination
The most effective way to market your hostel on social media is to sell the destination and the experience rather than the hostel itself. Paint your property as the “place to be” by making it instagrammable, and showcase the experiences rather than promoting your rooms and services. This leads to more interactions and visibility on social media, which can help drive bookings.
Here are some ideas: conduct interviews with your staff, give your property a social media personality and post regular playlists. Publish photos of people having a good time while hanging by the pool or on a pub crawl. Showing the community attracts travelers looking for genuine connections instead of just a place to rest their heads.
Create a community
The next step is to create an online community of loyal hostel guests – a great marketing tool to drive engagement. You could also get involved with your local community by hosting events and get-togethers that bring together hostel guests and the locals.
People are more likely to recommend your hostel if they have had direct experience with it, so get them involved. The more interwoven your community is, the more returning guests your hostel will have.
OTAs or online tour agencies are an excellent marketing tool for boosting online visibility. Firstly, being listed on other websites is good for SEO, which we'll cover next. Secondly, smaller properties can enhance their online visibility by taking advantage of the OTAs' marketing budgets. And once you're on the guest radar, promoting direct bookings gets easier. Discover the 10 best OTAs.
SEO is one of the most prominent marketing strategies. To improve search engine optimization, you must have a fast, mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized website with optimized, high-quality content. User experience on your website and high-quality links pointing to your site are all crucial SEO ranking factors to keep in mind when optimizing your website.
Why should you care about having an SEO-optimized website? Because an SEO-optimized website ranks better and eventually leads to more direct bookings. This cuts down on your commissions and improves profitability. You can also leverage local SEO through Google My Business listing and drive conversions from maps, a popular place for users to search for a last-minute place to stay.
Invest in paid ads
You can't only rely on SEO to drive bookings – investing in paid ads is another necessary marketing tactic. Paying for ads can also indirectly boost your website's organic ranking. The best approach is to utilize paid and organic search to position your hostel better and reduce reliance on third-party sites. Find out how to boost direct bookings.
Manage your online reputation
Your online reputation can make or break you, so stay on top of what people say about you on social media and review sites. Don't be afraid to respond to bad reviews – thank guests for their feedback and explain how you're fixing errors.
User-generated feedback and reviews can prove a highly effective marketing strategy. Consider using them as proof points to convince other guests to stay at your hostel.
Target digital nomads
As location-independent travelers who travel year-round regardless of seasonality, digital nomads often stay in hostels. Target them with attractive offers during the low season. Remember: they need a desk, a reliable internet connection and a place to plug in their laptops. If your hostel has a meeting or conference room, digital nomads are going to love you.
Marketing is essential for any business to succeed, and hostels are no exception. By implementing the 8 tips we've covered, hostel owners can be sure to increase their bookings and attract more guests. Whether it's optimizing your website for search engines (SEO), leveraging social media, or working with OTAs, these effective tactics will help your hostel stand out in a competitive market.
Don't forget that effective marketing requires not only a strategic approach but also consistency over time. Hostel owners must keep track of industry trends while exploring new creative practices to reach their target audience. That's the best way to grow, achieve maximum profitability and provide an unparalleled guest experience.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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