Use free online tools, like Google Trends, to see what people in your area are searching for online. Use that information in the content on your website. Intertwine the most popular search terms related to your business in blogs, landing pages and your homepage content.
2. Create a social media outlet for your hotel or event
You will occasionally have an opportunity to develop a social media outlet beyond your standard Facebook or Twitter account. If your hotel, for example, is about to host a large conference hosting 800 business people from across the country, develop a hashtag, Facebook event page or specific Twitter handle that will target and engage those 800 people.
3. Verify your business on Google Places
Make sure when people search for your business online, Google Places offers them a map, address and phone of your business. All you have to do is verify your company on Google Places.
4. Develop special package offers for guests
Hotel guests love feeling like they’re receiving something for free, or at least a discounted rate. Develop special occasion packages – Valentine’s Day Package, Girl’s Weekend Package, and Guy’s Golf Trip Package – for hotel guests looking to book in your area. Often local businesses [restaurants, golf courses, shopping centers] are happy to offer coupons to hotels for guests. Pass on those savings to your guests in your promotional packages.
5. Use group buying platforms
Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial are a great way to offer your product or services to new customers at a discounted rate. You get the business, and with a great experience, guests will return.
6. Connect with other local businesses
Hotels and restaurants often work together to offer discounts to customers using both services. Perhaps you offer a 10 percent discount on dinner for restaurant guests who produce a key from a partnering hotel.
7. Write press releases and send them to local chambers and media outlets
Make sure people in your community are aware of your business. Develop well written press releases for upcoming events your business will host or be a part of. Include within your writing why the event matters to the community and how it would be a news worthy story for local media to cover. Distribute the press release to your local chamber of commerce and media outlets.
8. Develop an email marketing campaign
This does not have to be pricy or complex. Use a free system like MailChimp to develop a simple newsletter or discounts you can distribute through email.
9. Register with Yahoo! Local
As with Google Places, Yahoo! Local lists and maps businesses within its platform. Verify your company with Yahoo! Local.
10. Register with Microsoft’s Bing
While you’re confirming your business location with Google Places and Yahoo! Local, move on to the third platform for business verification –Microsoft’s Bing Business Portal.
11. Post creative, in house videos
Interactive content like short, interesting videos do great on social media. For restaurants and bars, consider short – think 60 seconds – videos that display your bartender explaining how to make the restaurant’s signature drink. Perhaps for hotels, grab a quick video of your complimentary breakfast offered to guests and include a link back to your booking site.
12. Donate your time or product in a local event
Communities often host events like festivals, cook-offs or running events. Get your business involved. Whether it’s having a couple of your chefs handing our samples of a new dish at your eatery, or your staff volunteering to hand out water cups to marathon runners, get your business name out in front of potential guests.
13. Take your menus or brochures to local chamber or medical offices
Restaurants and hotels often have boxes of unused menus, pamphlets, brochures or other printed marketing materials lying around the building. Break out that material and deliver it to your local chamber of commerce, medical offices or any other offices where reading material is made available to waiting guests.
14. Write local businesses great reviews
Businesses love getting great reviews online. From Facebook to TripAdvisor, great reviews and customer recommendations are the top ways to gain new business. Leaving a positive review, when deserved, for a business within your community will often draw new guests in to your place of business so they can return the favor.
15. Offer locals a discount
Offering a discount to locals is especially popular in tourist destination towns. What restaurants and hotels know is that once the peak season concludes, you rely heavily on the business of locals. Thanking them year-round by offering special discounts is a sure why to get their business in your off season.