Generating revenue from your hotel´s FREE WIFI will be key in 2017

Generating revenue from your hotel´s FREE WIFI will be key in 2017

For hotels and resorts over the last few years have always been faced with the same issue, which is the urgent need to improve their WIFI infrastructure so their guests can enjoy their favourite series on Netflix, upload and download photos or videos without waiting an age for the task to be completed.  Hotels, in general, have been extremely lax in providing quality of service, as the cost to improve the infrastructure could never be offset by the revenue it could generate.   Some hotels charge for the service which is not desirable, as according to Hotels.com who released a survey which stated that free WiFi was the most desired in-room amenity.  Also, from the moment of check-in, either you are giving a small piece of paper with a password on it, or written on your key card folder, or you are provided access without the need to introduce a password.  As we move forward into an era in which a guest will be able to check in, open their room door and pay their bill from their smartphone, interaction with your reception staff will become less and less especially in business hotels.

Bearing this all in mind then, how can a hotel generate revenue from their hotel’s FREE WIFI service?

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The answer is using Social WIFI technology.  So how does it work, let’s take it in 3 easy steps:-

Access

Providing simple and easy access to your FREE WIFI service is key.  By allowing your guest to sign in one time only to your service using their favourite social media channel which in the majority of cases will Facebook or just completing a simple form, whether a guest speaks with your reception staff of not, they will able to gain access quickly to your WIFI.  Clients will be encouraged as well to connect to your social media pages, which automatically increases your fan base and also provides increased visibility.  Guests will also be accustomed to connecting to WIFI using this method especially in Travel where this technology exists in the majority of airports across the world

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Analyse

Now, while your guest is enjoying your high-speed internet access, you are gaining an insight into your guests.  Demographics, guests interests, how long do your clients spend online and email addresses to name a few.  The statistics gleaned from your guests connecting to your WIFI service will allow you to be more targeted with marketing campaigns as well as design offers and services that suit more your guest requirements.  However data collection is only one part, you will also be able to see where in your hotel or resort guests are connecting to your service, how they move around your hotel which will allow you to correctly position marketing for promotions or events that will be taking place at your hotel or improve signage or layouts.  You will also be able to identify and collect data from conference attendees, Diners at your restaurant or spa users even if they are non-residents.  Again sourcing this information will allow you personalise your marketing campaigns.

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Action

So your guests are connected to your WIFI and you an understanding better your guest’s interests and requirements.  Now, it’s time to take action.  Here´s how.  Firstly, right from the sign-up page, you can promote any events or special promotions that your are currently offering.  By knowing at what time of day the majority of your guests are connected, you can also send via email and SMS personalised messages.   You can make them aware of what is going on at your hotel or just simply ask them to provide feedback on their stay which you can encourage them to share on Google, Facebook or Tripadvisor.  Another avenue to generate revenue is to allow companies that have products displays within your resort the ability to promote their offers via your WIFI.

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In summary, by using Social WIFI technology, not only are you making easier for your guests to connect, you are gaining a data capture & marketing tool that will allow you to understand your clients better as well improve your TrevPar revenue and direct bookings.  There is clear data to suggest that we are in the final days of rate parity across Europe, so it is imperative that any hotel or resort is wishing to build an extensive database of users to encourage them to book direct, Social WIFI should be an essential part of this.

If you would like to discuss with us how Social Wifi and generate revenue for your hotel, email info@hotelient.net.

 

 

Simple handy guide to help you prepare your hotel´s online marketing strategy for 2016

Simple handy guide to help you prepare your hotel´s online marketing strategy for 2016

About this time of year, most Director of Sales & General Managers are sitting down to finalize their Sales & Marketing budgets and plan for 2016………..Best time of the year,  right before the RFP season begins!

So to help you all, here is a handy guide for you to plan your online marketing strategy.

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Website – The most important part of any online strategy is your own website.  Key things to take in consideration or at least be asking your providers or technical team.

  • Is my website mobile optimized? –  Google now penalizes non-responsive websites on searches from a mobile phone
  • Do I promote Guest reviews? – Showing off your great guest reviews increases your online conversions.
  • Are my photos up to date – Photos are key for hotels.  If they are more than 3 years old, update them.
  • Have I got any videos to show?- Videos are key in the selling process, a great video about your hotel on your homepage is a great selling point……..and google loves it too!
  • Can my content be updated quickly –  If you are relying on 3rd parties to update your content, this is not the best idea when we are living in an era where content is king.  Updating your website should be a question of minutes.
  • Is my website in my guests language? – Numerous studies have shown that when a hotel´s website is in your guests local language, they are more likely to buy directly from you.
  • Can my website add Landing pages and pop-up windows? – These are great for data capture and client retention.

Booking engine

  • Is my booking engine easy to use from a client´s perspective?  Many booking engines are great for revenue managers but a minefield for clients.  Compare yours with booking.com and see how it stacks up
  • Add-ons or extras to be shown after initial reservation? – This is proven to increase your revenue against showing them during the initial process.  Does booking.com show extras or Add-Ons?  So why do you let your guest choose one, when they are more likely to be  looking to compare your prices with an OTA?
  • Create separate booking engines for unique offers – Putting your booking engine in more on more pages with only some of your great promotions is key to driving revenue.  Ask your provider whether they can create this for you

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Connectivity

  • Can my channel manager connect to Google/Tripadvisor /Trivago and other meta search agencies? –  If they cannot, look for alternative solutions.
  • Should my Channel Manager & Booking engine be separate? –  The success of your booking engine will depend on how much your provider is investing to keep up with the industry trends, so by separating them, will allow you to move between providers more freely without the hassle.

Advertising/SEO

  • If your hotel already investing in Adwords but not connected to Google HPA? If the answer is no then you need to get this sorted.  Also, Google RLSA has a better rate of conversion and could be a smarter investment.  Talk to your provider about RLSA or read this recent article.
  • Retargeting Ads are a worthwhile investment, as studies have shown clients visit about 20 web pages before deciding on where they are going to book.
  • Ensure your website has up to date Keywords, SEO Description and Titles on every page.
  • SEO is now not just about backlinks, Google users over 200 algorithms now so just doing one thing is not enough

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Reputation

  • Your reputation is key, not only from a point of monitoring but also to incentivise direct reservations.
  • Generate online feedback for your guests to complete and promote it across your social media, website and Videos.

Social Media

  • Is your Community manager or Social media manager just promoting offers and showing pictures and videos of your hotel?  If they are, tell them to stop or look to replace them.
  • Social media is all about telling stories, interaction, and conversation.  One golden rule, only 20% of your content should be your promotions, the rest should be about your destination, events, interesting stories, interviews etc.  Read this article on how to get the best out of your social media.
  • Building your youtube channel with videos of your hotel, interviews, guest reviews is also a great tool.  40% of all global searches are for videos which are set to rise to nearly 70% by 2018.

Other Technologies

  • Social WIFI – By getting you guests to connect to your FREE WIFI through their social media accounts should be a no brainer for hotels.  No only do they get more followers, you also get their email address, that can be added to your marketing database.
  • APPs- Concierge Apps should be a must by providing your guests information about your hotel including offers, events and much more.  According to recent surveys, 85% of smartphone users prefer apps to mobile websites.  They also reduce your printing cost on flyers and new guest directories!.

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I am sure there are many more ways you can all think of, however by doing the above is a great start.

According to a recent survey we conducted, over 70% of hotels receive less than 35% of their total online reservations directly.  Every point that I have written above, I have implemented and was able to achieve 60% of my online reservations directly in my previous roles within hotels.  It can be done and it also does not need to break your marketing budget in doing so.

Talk to your providers or your team today and see how you can implement these during 2016, or alternatively, allow Hotelient to provide you with a free review on your general online positioning to ensure you are checking all the boxes.  Email us for further information info@hotelient.net

I am passionate about direct sales for hotels and I have put into practice what I believe. We cannot live without OTA´s, but we can take advantage of the many great technologies to ensure the hotel that we work for is getting a fair share of direct reservations.

Avoiding negative SEO in order to Improve your Hotels visibility online

Avoiding negative SEO in order to Improve your Hotels visibility online

SEO, or search engine optimization, has become a necessary part of business, especially for hotels & resorts. It’s what helps companies get their websites in the top results from search engines like Google or Bing. Most hotels understand that it is now an essential item to include in their online marketing plans. They consistently use SEO best practices to drive traffic to their websites. But one of the most important things right now for marketing plans is to study up on negative SEO.

seo3Google has been more open about discussing this topic recently, even including a support page about link schemes in their Webmaster Tools. Some businesses have gone so far as to pay other companies to attach their links to less reputable sites just to generate more clicks. This might not sound like a bad idea on its surface, but when your links end up on sites that are associated with spam or shady practices, it can actually hurt your business by affecting rankings and traffic on your website. This is called negative SEO. In fact, there are now companies that offer services to businesses and individuals who are looking to use “black hat” tactics to sabotage their competition. The big problem is that these tactics violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Here are a few ways to identify if you’re a victim of negative SEO.

Create Relevant Content
The best way to drive traffic to your site and keep things fresh is to create relevant content that is valuable to others and can gain popularity among Internet users. If your content is something people feel that they or others can benefit from, they are more likely to share your content with friends and colleagues, which can drive traffic to your site. Those who use negative SEO tactics have been known to scrape, or copy, content from successful sites. This is a definite black hat tactic, as it’s basically plagiarism at its worst. Some people are just lazy and don’t want to take the time to create their own valuable content, so they use programs that go through sites to find content and publish it to their pages. (When Google comes across 2 pages that are exactly the same, Google will often times devalue both pages in their search rankings.) There are tools that can help you find out whether you’ve been a victim of content scraping, such as Copyscape.

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Find irrelevant keywords.
Google has several tools that are extremely helpful when it comes to SEO. Google Analytics, for example, can help you find out which keywords drive the most traffic to your site. It’s important to know which keywords generate the most traffic so you can use them in your shareable content. If you spot irrelevant keywords, do some research to figure out why those keywords have referred users to your site. (For example, if you see from Google Analytics you’re getting traffic for the keyword “pay day loans”) It could be that negative SEO is having an effect. When irrelevant keywords drive traffic to a site that has nothing to do with the search terms, that site automatically loses credibility with Internet users.

Associate your links with other quality websites.

Most negative SEO is done offline, on sites other than the one that is being attacked. Backlinking is the most common way to generate negative SEO for a site. This is where Google’s page about link schemes comes into play. According to Google’s Webmaster Tools Help, “Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google’s search results may be considered part of a link scheme.” Educate yourself about link spammers and other black hat strategists and then take action to stop and prevent it from happening further. There are programs and tools that can help you figure out where and when backlinking to your site has taken place. A graph will show spikes and dips. If there is an odd spike in the results, it is highly possible that spam links have been created for your site. Make sure to research where exactly these links have been posted. (A good backlink checking tool is www.opensiteexplorer.org. You will be able to see what sites are linking to you with the exact anchor text.) A fairly new tool that will help you avoid negative SEO through link schemes is Google’s advanced Disavow Links tool. If you have tried to get rid of spam links but your page rank is still low, then you can disavow certain links, and Google will not take them into account when it assesses your site. This tool should only be used if you have done all you can to try to remove spam and low-quality links.

Google yourself.
Google Alerts allows you to monitor web content based on specified search terms. Set one up with your personal or company name or other relevant terms that might cause your website to pop up. Knowing where your site has been mentioned each day will help you keep tabs on where traffic comes from and what sites have posted legitimate links to your website.

It is important to stay vigilant and be aware of what links are directing traffic to your website. Generating negative SEO will lower your rank in Google search results, practically invalidating your search engine optimization efforts. Don’t fall for shady schemes that promise more hits and higher search results rankings. Black hat strategies like the ones those companies might use will only hurt you in the long run.

If you need help with your SEO strategy, the contact us info@hotelient.net for further information

Smart Hotels are becoming their own “OTA”s with more traffic than booking.com, without paying commissions

Smart Hotels are becoming their own “OTA”s with more traffic than booking.com, without paying commissions

Google Hotel Finder has been around for a number of years mainly as an experiment, but over the last few months Google has started displaying Google Hotel results aggressively in SERPs (search engine result pages) in mainland Europe, making it important that your hotel is listed.

Google Hotel Finder is designed to be a one-stop-shop for accommodation planning. It is designed to display relevant information from many hotels that fit your search criteria, and then give you reservation options. I’ll get into further details after I explain how to get your hotel listed.

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How to List Your Hotel with Hotel Finder

Similar to how Google scans other websites to find information to display, Google Hotel Finder gathers hotel information from a variety of places. Here is what you need to do to get listed.

Step One – Create a Google Local Page
I am sure most of you have one already, but just in case you do not, Google gets a hotel’s marketing content, including descriptions, photos, videos and more, from your property’s Google Local listing. Thus, before you get listed, you need to create a Google Local profile. It is very easy to do, and you can get a basic one set up in just a few minutes.

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Step Two – Connect Your Booking Engine or channel manager to Google HPA
Google populates Google Hotel Finder with up-to-date information about your hotel’s inventory availability by tapping into OTA´s, your booking engine or channel manager. If your current supplier cannot provide you with connectivity to Google, then their are others that can. Contact us to help you achieve this.  We advise that you engage with an expert agency to help manage your setup and google campaigns as it is important that you a maximizing your ROI in the right areas with the best campaigns.  You can though get members of your team trained with some of the many courses currently available to enable you to manage this in-house.  Bear in mind, that if you are not connected and a future guest is looking to reserve a room in the area where your hotel or resort is located, Google HPA will show pricing for your hotel via a OTA that sells you, so it will be a missed opportunity to sell directly and save on commission payments!

Step Three – Update Your Content and incentivize customer reviews
Now that you have your Google Local listing set up and you’re connected to Google, you need to keep your hotel’s information updated.  Google Hotel Finder will keep your listing’s availability and rates up-to-date automatically.  To edit your listing’s marketing content, such as hotel descriptions, photos, addresses and so on, log-in to your Google Local page and make any changes you wish. These changes will be reflected on Google Hotel Finder eventually. It is also important to increase the reviews you receive from guests on google as this will help with provide your Hotel or Resort with increased visibility that will help you stand out from the crowd!

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Why Should You Bother?
Over the last few months, Google incorporated Hotel Finder listings into standard search queries. Google ‘madrid hotels’ and you find a Hotel Finder search box at the top of the list. This is valuable real estate in the SERP Google could be using to place more AdWords ads. It is clear that guests are starting to adopt Hotel Finder, so by having a prominent listing with many guest reviews will be important to stand out among the crowd for local queries.

If you need help in getting your hotel or Resort connected to Google, get in touch with us info@hotelient.net and we will get you up and running.

Is Your Hotel Website Mobile-Friendly? Google’s Next Algorithm Update is coming this month

Is Your Hotel Website Mobile-Friendly? Google’s Next Algorithm Update is coming this month

Do you remember the last time you landed on a site that wasn’t optimized for mobiles?  Frustrating isn´t it.  From zooming in to view content to trying to click on tiny links.  Most likely you just clicked off this website and carried on searching.

Well Google realized how frustrating this whole experience is and decided to change their algorithm accordingly, so when someone’s searching on a mobile device, Google will position first sites that are easy to read, make navigations and links easy to tap, have images appropriately sized for the device, and more generally, make information easy to find.

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At the moment, Google advises you which sites are mobile-friendly in their mobile search results however, from the 21st April, they’ll be actually rewarding and penalizing websites for their mobile experience.

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So how can you check that your website is not going to penalized from the 21st April?

Enter your website’s URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and it will tell you if you’ve got a mobile-friendly page or not. If the website you entered passes Google’s test, you will see a green banner indicating the website is mobile-friendly. If the website does not pass, Google will let you know the page is not mobile-friendly and give some reasons why.

Many of the common reasons why a website isn’t mobile-friendly is because:

  • The content is wider than the screen: This requires users to scroll side-to-side to read the page.
  • The text too small: This means the user must zoom to read text on the page.
  • The links too close together: On a smartphone, links should be easy to tap with your fingers — this means that the links should be big enough and in natural location to tap. Most smartphone users hold their phone in their right hand and tap links with their thumb.
  • The mobile viewport isn’t set: This is a little more on the technical side of things, but the mobile viewport controls the width of the page for the device. If your website displays a desktop landscape when smartphone visitors land on your page, then the viewport is not set for mobile on that page. This is an extra special case where responsive design comes in handy — responsive design will automatically adjust the viewport based on the device.

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If your website is not optimized, no worries.  Hotelient can provide your hotel or resort with a number of options to get you up and running quickly.

Email us at info@hotelient.net for more information.