Welcome Everyone: Inclusive Marketing for the Holidays

by | November 6, 2020

The holiday season is busy for everyone, but especially for hoteliers trying to capture business to make up for the lull from the early fall. However, the holidays also tend to sneak up on us, and establishing a solid marketing plan for the holiday season is imperative to success. One element of your strategy this year that you cannot overlook is familiar to every business: diversity and inclusion.

As two significant efforts in every industry, you should incorporate diversity and inclusion into every level of your holiday marketing campaign. Starting with how you advertise your business and going all the way to following through with who you hire, it’s crucial to be as diverse as possible. There are a few key ways you can make your hotel better at the business of belonging.

Send the Right Signals

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Businesses send signals every time they share a piece of marketing, interpreted in two different ways to their audience: either “you belong here” or “this isn’t for you.” In the hospitality industry, expanding your marketing to send a “you belong here” signal as frequently as possible is the goal – if a guest feels they would fit in at your hotel, they’re more likely to book. This sentiment even applies to your most niche guests, as well. Showing guests that they matter can easily encourage the start of a robust and long-lasting relationship.

The question is: how can you send the right signals? On social media, the signals you send come from two areas: the media you’re sharing and the caption you put with it. By ensuring your captions have inclusive language and pairing them with images that showcase diverse representation, you can send the “you belong here” signal to a far wider range of guests.

While many businesses create inclusive posts during months like Pride Month and Black History Month, you’re not limited to uplifting those stories during specific months. These months make excellent beginnings, but hoteliers have more to consider on the path to more inclusive marketing habits. For example, you can include differently-abled guests in images on social media. You can also showcase different types of families celebrating the holidays, like single parents or LGBT+ family dynamics.

Diversify Your Circle of Influence

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A circle of influence is composed of everyone you interact with: your colleagues, the people you follow online, and anyone whose experiences are shared with you. Often, we exist in echo chambers surrounded by like-minded peers, which severely limits our perspective. Diversifying the circle of influence through following individuals with different life experiences and opinions to our own can help positively influence your marketing strategy. Being exposed to more diversity changes the way you’ll prepare content for your social media platforms.

After exposing yourself to new stories and experiences, you’ll be able to re-evaluate your buyer personas more effectively. Buyer personas are the people that come to mind when you think of the type of guest you want to stay at your hotel. Hoteliers should avoid using narrow definitions of a buyer persona, or else large groups may be left out entirely. Utilizing psycho- and demographic information, you can make a more diverse list of buyer personas. With a wider list of potential guests at hand, you can be more intentional about who you’re serving. That intention can come across in a simple way, such as adding another language to your posts. You can also respond to reviews in the same language they were written in initially.

Prioritize Proper and Respectful Representation

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Representation matters in all industries – your potential guests need to see themselves reflected in your posts to feel comfortable booking a stay with you. However, proper representation calls for research and a commitment to cultural intelligence. Be aware of the tone of your comments and captions while posting. Many brands reach out to represent and have a superficial understanding of the community they’re aiming to represent, which leads too often to mistakes. You risk coming across as tone-deaf, and your audience will seek out somewhere else to take their business. Your future guests – especially those in Gen Z – will notice if your attitude online is superficial. Honesty is best when representing your hotel, who you are, and what you do.

Don’t forget to audit your customer experiences regularly. Using data to learn which of your social media posts perform best can become your roadmap for future posts and advertising campaigns. Frequent auditing should become natural to you and your team, since customer dynamics are always shifting, and just because a technique worked once doesn’t mean it’s always going to succeed.

Committing to creating honest, thoughtful, diverse posts to market your hotel’s accommodations for the holidays will help increase your pool of potential guests. Helping all kinds of people feel welcome and included is what the holiday season is all about. So when your hotel accepts the social responsibility of creating diverse and inclusive marketing habits, everyone benefits.

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