It’s vital to have a fantastic hotel that guests love to return to year after year if you want to build up a good reputation. However, it’s also essential that people know such a property exists in the first place – if you don’t market your accommodation, you can never really expand your bookings past those from your local area. Hopefully, as a hotel marketer, you have already taken some steps towards this by having a website, creating content and coming up with promotional strategies that will help to get your name out there.But if you’re running short on ideas on how to really extend this reach to the max and boost your revenues from worldwide customers, what else can be done? Here are a few additional methods that might help you in your online distribution efforts.
1.Seek out new distribution channels You’ve no doubt got a reliable marketing network in place, but it’s always wise to seek out new ones that may have arisen through new developments in technology. For example, you could gain exposure by partnering up with online travel agents such as Booking.com – although remember that your ultimate goal should always be direct bookings. There is also potential in Global Distribution Systems, which we have covered extensively in past articles (although they are not, of course, new). Finally, you really should be making the most of social media communication as a distribution channel, as its reach is now all-encompassing and covers an array of different age ranges.
2.Consider meta search channels Metasearch channels are still quite controversial in the hospitality industry, but they do have their plus points. They are sites such as Trivago, which bring together prices in one place and allow travellers to see at-a-glance comparisons. Leaving aside disadvantages such as high cancellation rates, they do drive high volumes of traffic and can attract people who are very interested in making a reservation, rather than simply browsing and dreaming.They are popular because they offer real-time information about rates and facilities, so it will be up to you to ensure those details are correct for metasearch sites to draw upon.
3.Be mobile-friendly This is a point that crops up time and again in our articles because it is so relevant in today’s industry. With mobile web traffic having overtaken that from PCs last year, it’s more important than ever for hotel owners and marketers to ensure their websites will work on all sorts of devices and have content tailored specifically for things like tablets and smartphones. This may mean seeking the advice of an expert – but with eMarketer having revealed there were 2.16 billion smartphone users in the world last year, it’s not something you can really ignore.
4.Consider live chat facilities Most hotels will have some sort of ‘contact us’ button on their website in case would-be guests have questions that aren’t covered, but it’s becoming increasingly common for this service to be expanded in the form of live chat facilities. All sorts of service providers are putting them in place and it means people can simply type in a query and have someone answer it right there and then. The benefits are numerous, including potentially boosted conversions and better engagement if browsers perceive you as more trustworthy.
You can also tempt them in the live chat with one-day only coupon codes if they decide to make a reservation during that visit.For more help and advice on hotel distribution systems, check out World Hotel Marketing.