It's been a challenging couple of years for just about any business – but especially businesses within the hospitality sector. During lockdowns, people spent their time ordering food from home, washing their hands, and not much else. Certainly not travel. With restrictions lifting and life returning to normal, many companies are looking to bounce back in a big way. If your hotel could do with an injection of new business, specifically new and return guests, the solution is solid marketing promotions.

We’ve put together a list of some creative promotional hotel ideas designed to boost foot traffic and provide a significant return on investment while increasing business revenue year-round.

1. Add a karaoke room

For hotel owners looking to bring in new guests while maintaining steady revenue streams throughout the year, there really is no better option than cashing in on the latest surging trends in competitive socializing and eatertainment experiences. And one of the easiest ways to do so is by adding a karaoke room to your list of onsite amenities.

private karaoke room in a hotel
Karaoke room in Quality Hotel Panorama - Gothenburg 

Karaoke rooms are one of the most distinctive yet original add-on ideas for any business within the hospitality industry. The concept fits into the structure of just about any hotel layout while appealing to a wide audience of both guests and potential guests. By incorporating a karaoke space into your hotel, you are cultivating a year-round social destination, and audiences love these types of experiences. Especially local audiences who will bring their dollars to your business year-round.

Best of all, in doing so, you are setting your hotel up for engagement with a completely new customer base, including guests who love karaoke but might not necessarily need to stay in a hotel. BUT, if they ever do in the future, they’ll think of your venue first because of previous good times.

Beyond the initial investment in karaoke equipment you will need a karaoke software like Singa to get licensed music. You can read more on how to get started with a karaoke room here. Karaoke rooms are high-quality additions that add significant value to just about any business.

2. Revitalize your space

This is not to say that your hotel needs prettying up – maybe just a cosmetic upgrade or two. Nowadays, great rates and comfortable rooms just aren’t enough to stand out from the pack. Actioning a hotel revitalization plan every few years is always a good idea for drawing in new business while appealing to existing guests.

In addition to a karaoke room, consider other amenities that could make your hotel a year-round draw to locals: maybe it’s an ultra-chic lounge space or bar, or a renovated lobby with higher-end detailing. You can also consider offering additional competitive socializing activities at the bar such as darts, shuffleboard, or board games to encourage people to spend more time and buy more drinks and food.

man playing shuffleboard in hotel bar
Shuffleboard in Quality Hotel Panorama - Gothenburg

For the budget-conscious, simple aesthetic flourishes can make all the difference and turn your lobby into the new local hangout. Best of all, upgrades open yourself to visitors taking lots of photos and tagging your venue on social media – resulting in more exposure for your hard work. When you can WOW your local guests, their media sharing can ultimately increase bookings from abroad.

3. Stay visible on Google

It's not ALL about the glitzy side of social media. Sometimes you just need your business to stand out to the masses in the most direct, straightforward way possible. If you are a business owner, your business needs to be on Google My Business. And it’s not enough just to have a listing (which allows your hotel to pop up in the world’s #1 search engine results), you need to maintain the listing and keep it updated with all relevant business information. Even the slightest changes can mean the difference between a guest booking a room and a guest deciding “maybe next time”. Also, engage with customer reviews and feedback left on Google My Business as this gives your hotel a personality that lets you really shine.

Additionally you can experiment with the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your pages. This means using keywords in your landing pages to have them rank better on google. Think of how many people search "hotels in [your city here]". If your hotel ranks well in Google you have a great new source of visitors. There are some great videos on hotel SEO you can watch to learn more.

4. Try staging all-season promotions and contests

A popular strategy for just about any type of business is the promotion of contests and giveaways. What makes them so effective is the simple fact that everybody likes to save some money (especially in today's global economy), and they also like to be singled out when the payoff is some sort of reward.

If your hotel has social media channels (and your hotel should have social media channels), not only can you promote your contests, but you can keep visitors enthralled with your content until it’s time for them to book a stay. For example: if your business is in an area near hills, consider partnering with local ski clubs in the winter and post a “ski-and-stay giveaway” on your Instagram feed – a great tactic for online engagement. Or if you’ve got an onsite spa, couples’ massages are a great incentive for bringing in new visitors in the hopes that they’ll consider a future long-weekend stay – throw in a complimentary bottle of Prosecco to sweeten the deal! Be creative.

However, try not to get carried away. There is still a great amount of prestige associated with owning and operating a hotel and you might find that you alienate long-time guests and visitors by advertising discounts too often. You might also discover that hosting too many contests results in engagement with people who are only interested in winning contests, and not actually booking a stay at your space. Use seasonal promotions sparingly in order to get the best, most consistent bang for your marketing bucks.

5. Promote your employees

People love business transparency, so what better way to endear yourself to long-time guests, and attract new guests, than by hyping up your amazing staff members on social media? Including employees in your hotel marketing strategy is a great, no-cost way to highlight your brand while honestly demonstrating the fun your staff has when showing up to work. Spread the love by having members of your team use their own social channels to share videos of them interacting with guests or flexing their work muscles. This creates a solid bond between your business and a sea of potential new guests.

6. Let potential guests try before they buy

A solid, low-cost technique that works like a charm. Inviting people to “try before you buy” introduces your brand to a host of new business opportunities – like networking, only guests get something tangible out of it. These types of promotions are great at enticing people to try your services (or maybe products from your hotel amenities), thus planting the seed that encourages future stays.

For example, hosting a free, no-occasion outdoor BBQ in the summer (or inside during the winter) introduces your hotel’s bar/restaurant cuisine to potential guests which, in turn, encourages them to book a table later. Or provide free, introductory upgrades to first-time guests who have booked a stay based on your social posts (maybe include a “mention this code at check-in” in your captions).

hotel food spread for promotional event

Everybody loves free stuff. But they also love quality, so if your hotel checks that second box after the first, you’re golden!

There you have it! A handful of effective promotional ideas to increase business at your hotel. Once you’ve got these practices in place and implemented within daily operations, along with a solid commitment to monitoring and maintaining along the way, you’re sure to see some sizeable growth.