“So, how’s your marketing?” is a common question when two hostel owners are exchanging ideas. While everyone knows the importance of having a good strategy and the best tools, most end up leaving that subject in the background or delegating to people who don’t have expertise in the subject. The result is scattered actions that can generate some immediate return, but lack continuity and the enough profit.
First you have to understand that you can’t just do your best. That cousin’s son who understands a bit of social networking of course can help. But if he does not have a marketing plan well done to guide himself, it will be like killing ant with cannonball, lots of energy spent and a small result.
Unplanned actions and lack of detail from the target audience end up frustrating small business owners and wasting money.
What is Marketing?
If you think the purpose of marketing is just to sell something, let’s take it easy that the thing is much more complex. First, we need to understand that we have several tools, techniques and practices that aim to add value to brands, products and – as in our case – services. Marketing involves identifying and meeting human and social needs.
“Marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a profitable target market. Marketing identifies unmet needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the potential for profit.”
Philip Kotler Marketing Management
Do you know who you’re talking to?
This is one of the first questions you have to ask yourself when you are beginning to think about your marketing strategy. Do you really know your target audience? Do you know who the persona is for who is producing their content and drawing actions? Although they appear to be the same thing, you need to understand these two basic concepts.
Target audience is a set of people, within some definitions of location, language, preferences, etc., that can be be interested in your service. This data can be raised by your customer base, followers on social networks, guest surveys, and other ways.
Your persona is a story about Maria Paula or Pedro Henrique, a representation of your typical guests: what they study, where they work, what they think about life and the things they enjoy. It is a fun and important exercise to sharpen your speech. You can have more than one persona drawn, but do not overdo it so you do not get lost.
What are the 4 Ps of marketing
Marketing evolves every day. Technology creates new tools, new media, new possibilities. However, there are some things that are the fundamentals of marketing that can be reviewed and updated but never cease to be at the heart of that work. One of the world’s leading scholars .
Philip Kotler was largely responsible in the 1960s for spreading the concept of 4 Ps of marketing around the world: price, square, product and promotion.
Although they seem self-explanatory, they keep pranks that can make any businessman skid and lose all efforts. I will present here, in a clear and summarized way, how each element can and should be used in the hostel market.
01. Price: How much do you wanna pay? How much you need to charge?
The price strategy will define, for example, whether your hostel will be the most economical or whether you will bet on a strategy to reach an audience willing to pay a little more. However, it should be aligned with your company’s financial strategy and be in line with the costing you have to offer the service.
02. Place: your showcase is not always physical
It’s deceptive for the hostel sector, thanks to the style of service and new technologies, to think the ‘P’ of Place refers to the city in which you have your business. Where is the sale made? Where is the product exposed and available to the customer?
In the case of hostels, it is in the virtual environment that almost all sales are converted, right? This is the square that must be analyzed, allied to the deep knowledge of your target guest and your buying habit.
Your city, your destination, also matters in this ‘P’. You need to understand your seasonality, attractions and know how to pass security by passing this information on to the future guest and to those in the house.
03. Product: what you’re selling is more complex than it seems
The ‘P’ of Product might seem the simplest, but it’s a trap to think so. Here we need to think about the most intangible aspects. Or do you still think your product is selling a bed in a bunk in a shared room? It’s much more than that!
You need to identify and define well the attributes of your brand, the user experience you want for your customer and that differentiates you from the competition. Now, we’re talking about a more robust product.
Always remember that the product you advertise has to match what you deliver when the person arrives at the hostel. One of the primary mistakes of marketing is to exaggerate to get attention and not deliver what was promised in the actions. Therefore, it is always necessary to make an analysis of how the experience is reaching the guest. Our product is, in fact, a service affected by the most diverse factors.
04. Promotion: how you speak is the message
We finally got to room ‘P’, that of Promotion. Remember Maria Paula and the Pedro Henrique? This is where you will have to create communication content that converses with these two people. Get them on the right social network at the right time. Content that answers your questions and satisfies desires.
In a way, after all the previous ‘Ps’ being analyzed the promotion is the way to make all this message reach people effectively. Here you will define the tone of your communication, the type of language you will use and the personality of your brand, for example. These are key factors in getting your message right to the type of guest you want to attract.
So, how do I develop my hostel’s marketing strategy?
I believe it is always advisable that you seek a qualified professional to develop all strategies and actions. In addition to reserving a budget for this, which if well applied will return in the volume of reserves, you will also need to understand that this work will require your time. Nobody better than you to give all the information for the creation of the public and persona, for example. This is critical, you will have something more in your scope of work.
In addition to selling, as already mentioned, a well-designed marketing strategy, supported by effective communication actions can, in addition to increasing sales, create strong bonds of the traveler with his brand, making him practically an ambassador of his hostel for where to go. Want to advertise better than that?
I will use this space more often to talk primarily about communication and how relatively simple actions can help your day-to-day operation. I want to exchange with you some communication ideas that go beyond texts, videos and media in general.
Do you have any questions about communication? Write to us that we can develop great content that helps other colleagues in the industry.