All hotels today are advised to have a good digital marketing strategy in place if they want to succeed with boosting online bookings. After all, there is such a potentially huge audience out there browsing on such a range of devices that it would be foolish not to try and capitalise on that pool of potential guests.
According to Statistic Brain, some 148 million travel bookings are made online each year – that’s 57 per cent of all travel reservations. And with the ever-increasing reach of mobile devices, that figure is likely to continue to grow in the future. But once you’ve mastered the basics and have implemented a hotel online marketing strategy, how can you ensure you stand out among all the other properties doing exactly the same thing, particular your competitors in the near vicinity? It can be hard to achieve a voice that stands out amid all the other noise, but there are some tricks and techniques that can be employed to help you and hopefully, boost your bottom line in the long run.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of them and you can see if they apply to your property. Perhaps you could apply them for the remainder of 2017 and analyse the results.
1. Be Multi-Channel
Not all of your audience will be looking in one place online, so it’s vital to have a presence across a variety of different channels. For example, you might want to offer your rooms on online travel agent portals (although remember that you will get more money with direct bookings) to ensure fuller capacity during quiet periods. You could also consider partnering up with an affiliate network, as this is an increasingly popular trend in marketing and can easily improve your word-of-mouth advertising without you having to fork out financially – often, the reward for a review from a blogger, for example, might just be a free night’s stay. There is also social media that has to be considered. Google rewards social interaction in its search listings these days, so chatting to would-be guests on sites like Twitter or Instagram can boost your search engine optimisation as well as assisting with engagement and establishing yourself as a thought leader.
2. Audit Your Website
If you regularly audit your website, it will help you to gain insight into why you might be losing business and where your least popular pages are. Once you have established this, you can overhaul them with the aim of reducing your bounce rate and improving reader engagement. On the flip side, it can also show which are your most popular website areas, which can help you learn more about your audiences and content that’s working for them. Always take a look at your traditional site and your mobile web pages separately, as they should both be optimised for maximum performance; we’ve got plenty more information on this in our past articles, so do take a look if you need assistance here. Don’t forget to take a look at your competitors for this part, as you can see how they are interacting effectively with their guests and how you might emulate them to do the same.
3. Always Remember Branding
You probably know that you should be consistent with your brand message throughout all of your promotional material, but are you ensuring that everything you put out is based around your unique selling points? If you have something special about your property, then you should be making the most of it because it will elevate you above all of the other hotels that are only offering a room and a roof.
4. Make It Personal
Holidaymakers today are looking for an experience as much as a break and thanks to the instant gratification provided by the internet, they expect their needs to be anticipated and catered for. Thankfully, this isn’t as difficult as it sounds if you make the most of the information you collect about your guests and therefore your future target audience. Ensure your ask questions subtly at check-in and to your email recipients and you can improve the guest experience going forward. For example, if you know previous residents have commented that they arrived on the nearest mass transit service, consider providing coupons ahead of the next guest’s stay. It should really be appreciated and remembered.
5. Consider Pay-Per-Click
There are various advantages to and drawbacks of pay-per-click advertising, which we have covered on these pages before and will no doubt return to again as new trends arise and further research is carried out. It may be that you just don’t have the budget, but it is an avenue worth keeping in mind if you have a timely campaign you feel could benefit from additional promotion. Remember that PPC needn’t be as expensive as you might imagine – indeed, it can start from just a few pounds per month – and can really make a difference in bringing traffic to you that might not otherwise have come across your brand. It’s important to carefully consider your strategy and choose keywords that are niche and relevant to you though, as focusing a paid campaign on very generic terms like ‘hotels’ is unlikely to be an effective method.
6.Think About Outsourcing
Hotel marketing can appear daunting and although it’s undoubtedly simpler than it looks, having the time to draw up and then implement a good strategy might seem out of reach for some hotels. That’s why you might want to consider outsourcing at least part of your strategy to a good hotel digital marketing agency, which will be able to guide you through various techniques that should improve your online reach significantly. Do seek out quotes and work out a cost/benefit analysis before selecting representation of this kind, but it might be that your property can really benefit from outside expertise that gives you more time to focus on the hospitality side. There are plenty more digital marketing techniques that we haven’t the space to cover here, but it could be worth taking a look at some of the above ideas. And if you need extra help, do reach out to us at World Hotel Marketing.