Content Marketing, Hospitality Marketing 14 mins read

Get More Bookings: Hospitality Content Marketing Strategy

Handling hospitality content marketing can feel like a daunting task, especially when you have a lean team. 

Consider these scenarios:

  • You are a fantastic chef who has won many awards, but customers can’t find anything about your restaurant besides Yelp reviews.
  • Your boutique hotel has just gone through an intensive redesign, but prospective bookers are only seeing old images on TripAdvisor.
  • Your boat tour company offers the best trips, but your competitors’ website pops up first when tourists search for charter options in your region.

It’s a lot to ask chefs, hoteliers, and boat captains to create digital content that is optimized to rank in search engine results, but we created this guide to make the process a little more understandable.

The bottom line is, in today’s age, success in the hospitality industry relies heavily on implementing digital tactics such as SEO and content marketing. Let’s dive into why that is.

Understanding the Hospitality Industry Booking Process

A woman looks out over a canal while on vacation

The types of content hospitality brands distribute should be influenced by the typical “buyer process” for hotel, restaurant, and tourism visitors. 

Hospitality brands have the added responsibility of making someone feel like the extra money they spent traveling outside of their comfort zone was worth it. For this reason, the hospitality buyer process can be longer than those of other industries.

Let’s breakdown the hospitality buyer process into digestible steps:


  • Building Awareness. This is the moment someone decides to take a vacation, go out to dinner, or embark on an adventure. Maybe there is a milestone such as an anniversary or birthday coming up, or a school break is on the horizon.
  • Researching. After deciding to do something, the person begins to research different options. This step is when they would compare different options, learn about amenities, services, pricing, location, and customer reviews.
  • Considering. During the consideration phase, the guest narrows down their choices to a few options that they think align best with their needs and preferences. They might dig deeper into these options by reading different reviews, scrolling through their blogs, or viewing social media location tags.
  • Decision-making. The guest decides which hospitality option is best for them. They haven’t locked it in yet, but they’re no longer considering other options.
  • Booking or Making a Reservation. After the decision is made, the buyer will lock in their decision by making a reservation or booking. This could be directly on the company’s website, reaching out via phone or email, or using third-party booking platforms.


  • Pre-Arrival Planning. The guest continues looking through their selection’s content to make sure they know what to expect and to identify aspects of their experience that they do not want to miss out on. For example, they may review the menu and decide what they want to order, or see an excursion offered through the hotel they will want to participate in. 
  • Experiencing. This is when the guest actively visits the hospitality site or service, such as staying at the hotel, dining at the restaurant, or enjoying a travel experience.
  • Post-Experience Feedback. When the experience or trip is over, the guest may provide feedback through surveys, reviews, or by sharing their experience on social media. Positive feedback is the goal, though negative feedback will offer opportunities for improvement.
  • Advocacy. If the guest had a positive experience, they may develop brand loyalty. This is demonstrated by repeat bookings, restaurant recommendations, and positive social media posts, leading to word-of-mouth referrals and new customers.


Graphic depicting the booking journey as a trailmap

The typical buyer process in the hospitality industry varies depending on the specific sector within hospitality and the type of guest (e.g., individual travelers, corporate clients, event planners). However, these are the most common stages that customers go through when making decisions in the hospitality industry.

What Should Hospitality Industry Content Include?

Hospitality brand content should focus on capturing guests at each stage of the decision process that we outlined above. This will help guide guests to make decisions that speed up the process and encourage positive feedback.

Conduct keyword research and audience analysis to understand what questions prospective visitors are asking at each stage of their journey.

Examples of hospitality industry content at each stage of the buyer journey:

Hospitality Content that Builds Awareness

In the awareness phase of the hospitality buyer process, your goal is to align your brand with an occasion. 

Examples of content strategies for restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions that achieve this are:

  • Best restaurants to celebrate anniversaries in Charlotte
  • Spend your 21st birthday aboard San Diego’s most exclusive sailboat
  • Skip the cabin and stay at a cozy boutique hotel this holiday season

Each of these pieces would link an occasion with a hospitality destination, influencing future guests to begin making those associations. These pieces of content wouldn’t cause a person to book a reservation, but they could inspire them to think something like, “I should celebrate my birthday on a boat this year.”

A group of people cheers with champagne glasses on a yacht, exemplifying effective travel content marketing imagery.

Content to Capture Customers Researching Hospitality Options

The research phase of the hospitality buyer’s journey is all about making sure your brand shows up during their initial searches. Content at this phase will be greatly influenced by findings from keyword research. Understanding what prospective buyers are searching for and where (through which channels) will inform your content formats.

Examples of restaurant and travel content marketing that achieves this include:

  • Pinterest pay-per-click ads targeting the search query ‘San Diego summer vacation’
  • Blog post listicle titled “Top 5 Romantic Occasion Restaurants in Charlotte”
  • An influencer’s Instagram Reel with the caption “POV: check into my boutique hotel with me”

Each of these examples would be found in searches on Google and social media related to the research phase of planning a trip or hospitality experience.

Content That Motivates Customers “Considering” a Visit

Now that the prospective visitor has narrowed down their choices, your content should motivate them to choose your option over competitors. Comparative content pieces and paid search ads targeting your competitors’ names would benefit hospitality brands targeting these people.

Examples of content that might motivate someone to go with your brand’s property include:

  • A blog post titled “Boutique Hotel vs. National Chain: Why You Should Choose the Locally-Owned Option”
  • Instagram Reel comparing different types of charter boats available to rent
  • YouTube video titled “Why [restaurant name] is the most romantic Italian spot in Charlotte” 

When approaching comparison pieces and general pieces that are obviously sales-focused, it’s important to be tactical with language. Never bad-mouth a competitor and instead focus on what makes your brand more special than others.

Content Related to Booking or Making a Reservation

After they’re satisfied with their choice, they need content that will push them to make the final booking reservation. This content should both confirm to the customer that they will have an enjoyable experience and provide incentives to take action.

An example of a destination content marketing coupon that creates booking urgency. 20% off only this week for a hypothetical hotel + spa brand

Examples of hospitality content marketing that would motivate a booking decision include:

  • Email newsletter with a “10% off discount if you book in the next 24 hours”
  • Social media share with a new added benefit (i.e. Now you can rent bikes for free!)
  • Instagram Story with a countdown for a dinner that includes a special wine pairing

Content that gives prospective guests the idea of added value will inspire them to make their booking official and add it to their calendar.

Hospitality Content to Solidify Customers’ Choices After They Decide

Now that the buyer knows they want to go with your brand, it’s time to serve them content that reassures them that they made the right decision. This is especially important in destination content marketing when the guest or group has spent a lot of money to make their reservation.

This content should be positive and show real experiences from former customers, tapping into a concept called social proof. Make them even more excited about their upcoming reservation.

Examples include:

  • Reposting Instagram Stories from people dining at the restaurant
  • Influencer marketing collaboration from someone who stays at the boutique hotel
  • Social media post graphic featuring a real and positive customer testimonial.

The buyer should walk away from this content thinking I know I’ve made the right choice.

Examples of content strategy for restaurants that demonstrates what the experience will be like at 3 different restaurants

Hospitality Content for Pre-Arrival Planning 

Leading up to their experience at your hospitality destination, people want to be reassured that their experience will be enjoyable and also feel like they know what they’re getting themselves into. 

Examples of content that accurately reflects the customer experience include:

  • Reposting UGC from a group that recently chartered a boat
  • Email newsletter with the subject line “We hope you’re getting excited!” and photos of the room that the buyer booked
  • Social media posts showing items from the current menu

No one likes to arrive at an event or place not knowing what to expect, and it’s especially true in situations where a person is spending extra cash to have a good time. This content will reassure your visitors so they go into an experience with your brand excited and ready.

Hospitality Content Marketing That Encourages Post-Experience Feedback for Hospitality Brands

When your content has done its job, and your guests have enjoyed their experience with your brand, there is value in presenting them with additional content that will inspire post-experience feedback, generate user-produced content for your brand to reshare, and influence word-of-mouth promotion.

Content at this stage should inspire people to share the experience they had. Examples include:

  • Social media post asking people to share what they enjoyed the most on the menu in the comments below
  • Email follow-up newsletters with links to Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google to write reviews
  • Case studies or testimonials published on the website

This content will not only encourage customers to leave feedback, but will also give your brand additional content to share in the future, attracting new customers in the early stages of their decision making.

Using SEO to Get Your Content Seen

Even if the content you distribute is fantastic, without intentional search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, it might not increase brand visibility the way it should. SEO earns more awareness for your brand through the content on its website and other digital channels. When your content becomes more visible in search results, it will increase organic traffic and ultimately lead to more bookings.

Hospitality SEO tactics should focus on in-depth keyword research related to your target audience and improving E-E-A-T rating, an important ranking factor for Google results. You can improve hospitality E-E-A-T by demonstrating expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in the content on your blog and web pages. 

Graphic depicting the overlap of Google's E-E-A-T rating scale for Authority, Experience, Expertise, and Trust.

Importance of Multiple Digital Touchpoints

In the examples above, we stress the importance of a hospitality content marketing strategy that distributes content through a variety of digital touchpoints. Content can reach your target audience from your website, email newsletters, and social media channels.

The channels that you choose to distribute content through should be chosen specifically based on the preferences of your target audience; there are also content tactics to avoid. It’s not necessary to use all social media platforms and all types of digital advertising. Audience development and keyword research will help you focus your hospitality content marketing efforts. 

Content should be repurposed across channels and should demonstrate a consistent brand tone at each customer touchpoint. 

Measuring Success and Tracking ROI

How can you measure success for your hospitality content marketing efforts? It’s not a very straightforward process to calculate content ROI. In fact, we recommend you don’t even try. 

Think of each piece of distributed content as a motivator that pushes prospective customers down that long buyer’s journey we talked about above. No, they aren’t going to read a blog post and immediately make a reservation, but they might read it and then remember what they learned when they need to think of an activity or a restaurant, or a place to stay for some random event down the road.

All well-made content adds value and is imperative for each step of the hospitality guest’s booking journey. A successful content strategy needs to be customized for your brand – templatized tactics will fall flat and leave your calendar with vacancies. Contact our team today for a free content marketing consultation.


Frequently Asked Questions

How does digital marketing help in hospitality tourism?

Digital marketing plays a vital role in the hospitality tourism industry by increasing online visibility through SEO and online advertising. Hospitality digital marketing efforts drive direct bookings via targeted marketing campaigns, engage with customers through social media and email marketing, showcase services and experiences, and manage online reputation and reviews. Additionally, it can be used to analyze customer data for better insights, target specific audiences, and improve the buyer journey with personalized content, for increased bookings, revenue, and brand loyalty.

How do blogs lead to conversions?

Blogs are just one piece of a comprehensive digital brand presence that can influence a prospective customer to convert. For example, they might read a blog on your website, then view social media content, then read Yelp reviews, then see an ad, then decide to book. Blogs contribute to this process and may help speed it up while improving the brand’s visibility in search engine results.

How do hotels use digital marketing?

Hotels use digital marketing via blog content, email marketing, social media marketing, paid ads, and with informative websites that allow bookings. There are many opportunities for hotels to excel at digital marketing and quality content sets hotels ahead of competitors in search results.

How to optimize restaurant SEO?

Optimizing SEO for a restaurant requires examining the keywords and search queries being used by the restaurant’s target audience. Once that is understood, content can be crafted that fits the intent of the audience and is relevant to the brand. It’s important to optimize both on-page and off-page SEO.

Photo of Allie Gibson
About the author