Ideally, you want your guests to book with you instantly and directly. If they’re going to online travel agencies (OTAs) then you won’t make as much profit from the bookings.How do you do this though? Well, one of the top tools that you have is the content that you’re providing. TripAdvisor’s new chief financial officer Ernst Teunissen stated: “We want to know: Is there a good, full room description? Are there nice pictures? Is it clear if the reservation is cancelable, etc – all of which is an important factor for conversion”. While completing a tour of the investor forum circuit, he announced that TripAdvisor is applying renewed energy into getting accurate, complete descriptions of hotel attributes.
Hotels should now expect prompts from TripAdvisor to make sure their descriptions of their properties are as thorough and clear as possible, if they want to drive more direct bookings through the platform. Rather than being an OTA, TripAdvisor is an example of a global distribution system (GDS). This means that rather than the guest booking through TripAdvisor itself, the service connects directly to the hotel’s own booking system.
The review site is beginning to see users storing their credit card details for use when booking. Mr Teunissen said this is “a rapidly improving metric.”He said the average book value of trips reserved through direct Booking conversion is also going up. “In early days, users booked lower-risk properties, such as booking on one-night stay in a hotel. Now we see larger, multi-day bookings.”So, how can you look at improving the content, not only on your own website but on a GDS? Instead of just writing articles for the sake of it, think of creative ways to inspire guests to stay with you, rather than with your competitors.
You want your content marketing strategy to extend to your hotel’s website copy, GDSs, social media content and your blog, to ensure that your brand message is consistent across all channels and to make your content as transparent as possible for your consumers.When you’re creating the copy for your website and a GDS, you need to keep in mind that you’re not the only website a person will visit when they’re searching for a hotel. According to GFK Global, the average traveller visits 22 travel-related websites during the research and planning phase.So, you need to make sure that your website copy can grab the reader’s attention from the minute they land on your site. Images are still hugely important, but it’s the words that will really draw someone in and give them a sense of how you can accommodate their holiday needs and really add to their experience.Before you start writing, think about the tone you want to use. Are you targeting millennials or families? Your target audience should really make a difference to how you communicate. If you are only trying to attract younger visitors, then communicate with them in a way that they’ll respond to.You don’t want to sound generic, as your potential guests won’t respond to this. They’ve already read the same old spiel from every other hotel – what makes you different?
Also, make sure that you’re not being too vague. While you don’t want to inundate guests with reams of text, you need to be giving them enough information to make an informed decision. Try to include your hotel’s unique selling points and describe the experience that guests can have if they book with you.Once you’ve written the copy for your website, you have a base to create the content for other platforms.You can use all of the key points for a GDS, such as TripAdvisor.
For social media and your blog, you’ll want to break this down into bite size chunks and deliver it as part of a full strategy. As well as this, you need to put more depth into your content strategy for social media and your blog. Make sure that you’re including posts about local news and events that will be relevant to guests too, as this is the type of information that can really add to their stay.If you’re struggling, then look at your competitors for ideas. Don’t directly copy them, but if something is working for them, then the likelihood is that it will work for you too. Compile a list of topics that you think might interest potential guests. The list can include topics relating to big events in the area like festivals, concerts and sporting events, as well as local restaurants and attractions.Don’t forget that your content is easy to change. If you’ve written website copy that doesn’t seem to be effective, then you can always edit it.