Back in 2011, Google acquired Zagat and also experimented with Hotel Finder in the same year. This was back in the days when Marissa Mayer was an integral part of their workforce. Two years later (in 2013) they then introduced instant booking onto the market and also expanded the Hotel Ads programme in 2015.
In September of last year Google Trips (their very own travel planning app) sprang into action. Google has had a long and interesting history, culminating in them now being known as the one-stop shop for travellers who want to consider their options before making an informed decision. They are involved in every stage of the buying cycle, and have amassed an impressive customer base due to this constant communication with consumers.
They start from the very top of the funnel audience, who want to research and get motivated to plan a trip with precision and care, and then they start to view venue options, compare hotel prices, read hotel reviews and then eventually book a venue. Afterwards, they publish detailed feedback in the form of Reviews and Ratings.
There are some challenges for hotels when it comes to earning positive reviews and generating organic visibility, but these obstacles can be overcome.
For example, irrelevant and fake hotel reviews can potentially damage any business, and these reviews can come from people who have never even visited a guesthouse. Due to the fact that competition is so fierce, some well-known places have hundreds of ratings which are not altogether genuine, so you need to read feedback from people who have experienced a stay first-hand and have positive things to say about their vacation.
You cannot buy reviews, as Google policy prohibits all hotels and companies offering services or cash in return for a positive review, but this is not the right way to go about things. If their hospitality and customer care is excellent and cannot be faulted, then this should speak volumes. Attempting to convince and coerce guests into supplying positive reviews does not reflect positively on your business as a whole.
Review management is complex in its nature, and cannot be simplified by simple regulations such as “Pets are not allowed anywhere in our hotel.” Any single attempt to cut negative sentiments about a business online might potentially backfire and you could end up losing trade. Focus on the positives, and then this will make your hotel stand out for all the right reasons. Also, it is important to support other businesses rather than seeing them as rivals. If you make good contacts then this will most certainly work in your favour.
Over 3.5 billion searches occur every day on Google, so it has really become an undisputed channel of opportunity for any business across every industry. If guests have been searching on Google, it is highly likely they would discover Google’s Review and Rating local pack of three just below some paid results, both in desktop and in mobile. Effectively managing all hotel reviews should play a significant role in any overall hotel business strategy.
If you are looking to maximise profits and manage revenue as efficiently as possible, hotels should monitor their competition on an ongoing basis. In order to attract new business and maintain relations with existing guests they must differentiate themselves accordingly. It also has to keep tabs on how its competition is constantly evolving and developing. And if people are searching on Google for the best hotels in the area then your name will come up straightaway.
For example, one hotel chain could seem like a threat to business during the warmer summer months, especially if it has a large outdoor area, but then during the winter it could experience quiet spells. Other hotels could come up with innovative strategies and technologies and have more creative and pro-active employees who help lead to extra profits and increased market shares. By using Google search engines you are able to track how popular another guesthouse is with customers, even at specific periods.
By typing in ‘best summer hotel’ or ‘best winter hotel’ the results could vary significantly. Once the seasons change, people will be looking for something completely different, as they cannot relax, unwind and soak up the sun in autumn or winter, and they just want an open fire, a hot drink and the guarantee of comfort and warmth. Therefore, hotels have to consider these factors and take them into consideration if they want to remain popular all year round.
Guesthouses with successful hotel revenue management systems seek to determine the best practices of local and regional competitors in order to improve and enhance their individual practices. If you follow these procedures then you are guaranteed to see a huge boost in turnover.
In order to ensure that its own revenue management strategy is the very best it can be, a hotel has to continuously monitor the general effect of its revenue management practices. It is not enough to merely amass data concerning room prices, historical performance and sales ratios. In addition to this, hotels should set up evaluation processes and metrics which will help to break down this data.
Once all of this data is analysed and understood by everyone, measures can then be taken in order to improve activities. In the future, the hotel may know how to respond to fluctuations and changes in the supply or demand of rooms during a specific season, day of the year or weekend. Ultimately, a hotel has to continuously improve its revenue management strategies in order to cover its expenses and reach the dizzy heights of financial security and success.
Hotels have to have an impressive ranking on Google if they want to make a splash in the industry, as it is the first site which people use if they are looking for somewhere to stay. And right at the top of the list should be the most established, reputable establishment in the region, with five-star ratings across the board. If customers are planning a weekend break away, or need to secure a reservation for business purposes then hotels need to make sure that they offer a complete range of services which cater for all requirements and take any bespoke requests into account.
As an industry, hotels can be typically slow on the uptake when it comes to adopting new technologies, but they have to move with the times in order to keep up with the competition. Guests, especially younger travellers, are extremely keen when it comes to the latest technological developments, and want to make sure that they have decent WI-FI access in their rooms. If you offer complimentary WI-FI then this will definitely attract more custom.
Having a mobile app is another fantastic way in which to position your property as a technologically-advanced establishment. Mobile apps allow for a painless, hassle-free booking experience, remote check-in and check-out, two-way interaction with guests and many other key features. Guests will undoubtedly appreciate the ease and convenience which a guesthouse provides them with, and your hotel will definitely stand out in their minds. Considering they searched on Google in order to find your property in the first instance, your ranking will surely improve.
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