Increasing digital, direct bookings sits high on the priority list for all hotels in 2017, whether you’re running a five star resort and spa or a boutique B&B. Though OTAs like Expedia and Booking.com still remain dominant within the industry, hoteliers are now using sophisticated digital marketing strategies and campaigns to help them to increase their share of direct bookings and, as a knock-on effect of that, enjoy increased revenues.
Here are some of the most effective digital marketing strategies that hoteliers can implement today, to increase their direct bookings:
With a multitude of exciting changes coming to Google AdWords this year, there’s never been a better time to dive into PPC. Many hotels are wary about paid advertising – especially those with smaller marketing budgets – but when PPC campaigns are managed and optimised to their highest potential, they can prove incredibly effective. Using techniques like demographic bidding, conversion tracking and sophisticated competitor analysis, it’s possible to put together an impactful PPC campaign which will bring in a greater number of direct bookings, while reducing cost per acquisition.
A user-friendly website
You can’t possibly increase the number of direct bookings you receive through your website if your website is putting off potential guests. Mobile readiness is one of the most important facets of digital marketing for hotels, given the predominance of mobile search behavior amongst travelers. It’s vital to build a website that is not only user-friendly and attractive, but also filled with captivating copy and beautiful images. The site must also be functional and easy-to-use, no matter which device it’s being viewed on. We all know how important mobile is and will continue to be in the world of marketing, so it’s never been more important to ensure that your hotel’s website is optimised for use on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. You’ll see a greater number of direct bookings purely because fewer users are dropping out of your sales funnel.
Social media and reputation management
Social media has been hailed as a way for businesses to cut out the middleman and communicate directly with their customers – and it’s even more useful for hotels who are also trying to cut out the middlemen OTAs and encourage customers to book with them directly. A good social media strategy will not only increase your property’s online presence, it will also open up new channels of communication with potential customers. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow hotels to attract a highly targeted audience, as well as capitalizing on conversations that are being had about the brand online, through social listening and engagement.
Reputation management is also an essential part of social media marketing – how your brand is perceived online will be a crucial factor in persuading potential guests to book with you. An enhanced reputation in the digital realm will mean more confident customers, who are more likely to place a direct booking rather than shopping around to find a hotel with a better reputation.