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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.