Digital marketing, especially for hotels, is becoming increasingly complex. Hotels now have to consider exactly how that can compete for guests in new channels, at each and every stage of the booking journey.
The booking journey is comprised of five simple stages:
1. Dreaming: A total of 68% of business travellers watch travel-related online videos. They can view the guest rooms, and see what facilities are available, which is always a great help.
2. Planning: The average traveller visits around 22 travel-related sites over the course of an average of 10 research sessions before booking. They will end up choosing the option which is the most attractive prospect.
Around 37% of leisure travellers have reported that the internet prompted them to book, up from 28% two years ago. This just goes to show how much technology plays a part in persuading customers to book online.
4. Experiencing: 70% of leisure travellers check into their hotel or flights via their mobile phone. Almost a quarter of all hotel queries come from a mobile phone, as customers can use them on the go, regardless of location. Therefore, having a suitable app will stand you in good stead, giving you a distinct advantage over other similar guesthouses.
Roughly a third of business travellers have posted reviews online of places they have visited. They also make recommendations via word of mouth, so that fellow travellers know where to book if they need to travel to attend a conference or meeting.
Make sure your site is compatible with a range of devices
A hotel’s content has to look eye-catching and attractive on any device, and this can be somewhat confusing. For example, if you have a hotel website which is composed in Flash, then you are automatically excluding iPad users who will not be able to view your property, as Flash sites are not visible on Apple products.
The single biggest tip which hotels should follow is to thoroughly research hotel digital marketing
platforms and see which systems they should implement. They have been designed for ease of use, but also deliver capabilities which would have been beyond the reach of the majority of hotels just five years ago.
Cloud-based digital marketing systems are evolving and changing constantly, and are available on monthly subscriptions. Your content is optimised specifically for the device which is accessing it, be it through an app or via a desktop or mobile device, driving bookings through your most profitable and rewarding channel.
Within a period of 18 months, it is predicted that hoteliers will be able to manage their SEO, web presence, pay-per-click, reservations, analytics, channel management and CRM on one single cloud-based, easy-to-use app. And booking deliveries back into this system will be commission-free, saving valuable time and money.
The power of Social Media
Having a good presence across all social media channels is extremely important. Providing content and posts which are engaging to your customers will have a significant impact on your overall presence. Customers that are engaging directly with you can make suggestions to their network groups, and will ‘like’ and ‘share’ your page if it is well-presented and visually appealing.
Through popular social networking sites such as Twitter, Pinterest and, of course, Facebook, you can also enhance your overall online presence. An active Google+ page will help your SEO presence on Google so that rankings will improve radically. This is because Google has the power to insert certain pages right at the top of search results if someone else in your Google+ circle has liked your Google+ page.
Consequently, a more active page with interesting and informative content will ensure your property reaches the highest rankings possible on Google’s search pages.
Though pay-per-click will not work for all hotels, it is extremely important to evaluate whether or not these campaigns could get you, even more, bookings, or secure reservations which would otherwise have gone through an OTA at a much higher cost. The next few years will see some brand-new cloud-based services which will allow hoteliers to communicate with their guests directly.
They should embrace this innovation, as it will decrease the dependency on OTAs, which has to be a positive thing. If things keep on going the way they have been, then a stronger online presence is required if you want to make your hotel stand out from the crowd and become a force to reckoned with in the industry.