How to leverage events in hotel marketingNewsBy Viewpoints | July 19, 2013Share This article was originally published on NB: This is a viewpoint from Dumitru Brinzan, founder of Hermes Themes. Not so long ago, in November 2011 Google announced a significant addition to their ranking algorithms: freshness. Basically, it meant that fresh content would rank more favorably than older, theoretically more "stale" content. This put a significant dent in the concept of "evergreen" content that would keep search engines happy in perpetuity. Google's shift meant that search results need to be rethought. Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent, as relevancy on certain types of content diminishes with time. Thus a new problem for hotel owners was born: hotels don't have much to write about on their websites, so this new freshness factor is not in their favor. Some have started their own blogs, but content ideas quickly dry up, as does having the time and patience to execute a well-planned content strategy. There is however one category of content that almost never dries up: events. Events take place all around the world, all year round, in cities big and small. No matter where you are located, something is bound to take place somewhere near. This could be something as small as a trivia night to something as large as a multi-day music festival. A good hotel manager always knows all the events taking place in his area and will try to benefit from this knowledge as much as possible. This knowledge can be shared with guests looking for activities during their stay, and then easily repurposed into a blog. It also showcases a vibrant, alive and ultimately interesting place to travel to for potential guests. Writing about upcoming events on your hotel website is a great way to constantly have fresh content on your website. Create pages with extensive information about important events and people will love you for it. And if people love your website, so will search engines. Win/Win! Sporting events: matches, marathons, yearly competitions, etc.;Concerts, festivals & trade fairs;Conferences & seminars;Natural phenomena: solar/lunar eclipse, aurora borealis, etc. But there is much more you can do with events, something obvious but very underutilized by hoteliers all around the world. Let's review a real-life example For the sake of this example, let's assume that we manage a hotel in Northern Italy, somewhere in the Lake Como region. It was announced recently that the famous band called 30 Seconds to Mars will hold a Live performance on November 2nd, 2013 in Milan, Italy. Good for Milan, right? Well, this is good for everybody around Milan as well, including our fictional hotel. Fans of the band would love to come and attend the show, they would travel a thousand miles for just 1 amazing night. But why travel just for 1 night, when fans can combine the concert with a short 2-3 day vacation in Italy? Wouldn't it be great if we could speak directly to fans of 30 Seconds to Mars and offer them a short vacation at our hotel? Well, we can do that right now. Introducing Facebook audience targeting Facebook currently has over 1.1 billion registered accounts (as per March 2013 stats), all ready to hear what you have to say. Facebook advertising helps you connect with the people who are the right fit for your business. If used correctly, Facebook's pay-per-click program is an incredibly powerful tool that in some aspects is better than Google's AdWords. We can create a new ad on the Facebook Advertising page (a Facebook account is obviously required). We will create an ad that redirects every click to our own website, to a special page created specifically for this event. This is where it gets more interesting: Choose Your Audience We start by setting the Precise Interests of our target audience: 30 Seconds to Mars. Now, who is more likely to travel to Italy for this concert? Probably fans from neighboring countries, such as Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, etc. We immediately get to see the amount of people that will potentially see our ad: 880.000 people. After choosing the target audience all that is left to do is set a budget for our ad. I recommend that you start small, don't throw vast amounts of money hoping for a miracle - play it safe. Start with a daily budget of $5-$10. Depending on CPC, that should be enough to provide you with 10-40 daily visitors. Monitor the activity of these new visitors on your website, analyze their actions after getting to your landing page. If your bounce rate is higher than 90% then proceed with caution. Bounce rate (sometimes confused with exit rate) is an Internet marketing term used in web traffic analysis. It represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and "bounce" (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site.Share this quote A low bounce rate will mean that your visitors are interested in your offer and are looking for additional information about your establishment. A high bounce rate means that the targeting may be a bit off, the ad text is not optimized, and/or the landing page offer is not sticky enough. Analyze and define your audience Before you jump up and start throwing money at Facebook, the most important thing you can do is define your audience. You absolutely MUST define the profile of your average customer. Who are your customers?Where are they coming from?What's their age?What's the purpose of their trip: business or leisure?What are their main interests? These are just some of the questions that should never take you by surprise: you need to have this information at all times. Bonus tip: analyze separately the profile of your satisfied and unsatisfied guests. Are youngsters more likely to leave a negative review and there is just nothing you can do about it? Start focusing on attracting mature customers instead. Review your hotel's website Before starting out with Facebook PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, make sure that your website is ready to convert your visitors into customers. There is no point in driving traffic to your website if it is outdated, doesn't offer easy booking options and doesn't have engaging content to bring life to the property. NB1: This is a viewpoint from Dumitru Brinzan, founder of Hermes Themes. NB2: Concert image courtesy Shutterstock.