Operating a hotel involves navigating a number of challenges and trends. As part of an industry constantly in flux, hotel owners and managers must continuously update the ways in which they market their venues. Keep reading to learn about six marketing strategies that hoteliers can use to increase bookings in 2018.
Attract Potential Guests with a Modern Website
Your hotel website needs to meet the needs of today’s traveler. For instance, while 9 out of 10 bookings still come via desktop computers, over half of smartphone owners conduct travel research on their mobile devices. Therefore, it is vital to have a website that is optimized for both smartphones and tablets.
Another key component of a modern website is video. Start by posting walk-throughs of your rooms, making sure to include balcony views and other notable features. Then, after thinking about what amenities make your property unique, create videos that take potential guests on a virtual tour of these areas. When doing so, try to take the extra step of showing guests enjoying your amenities.
Use a Strong Call-to-Action
Hoteliers realize that travelers who book through an online travel agency (OTA) bring in 30 percent less profit than those who do so through hotel websites. While many travelers will initially learn of your hotel through an OTA, they will then click through to your website. At this point, you should do everything you can to keep them there.
While video plays a key role in helping you to achieve this goal, so does an attention-grabbing call-to-action, which is designed to take users deeper into your website and toward your direct booking engine. Keep in mind that your hotel’s website should load fast and offer intuitive navigation. Visitors should only have to click a minimal number of times to book a stay.
Don’t Neglect Online Travel Agency Profiles
While your goal should be to get potential guests to transition from an OTA profile to your website, it’s important to remember that many will not make this move. For the majority of travelers who book exclusively through an OTA website, you should target them as much as possible.
Reaching this demographic means first taking the time to set up a profile on Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com, and other OTAs. You should keep the profiles up-to-date, ensuring that each lists your current inventory and rates. Other steps might include offering promotions for seasonal events and examining the rates of your competitors. You might also consider paying for advertising.
Managing your OTA profiles should also extend to monitoring customer reviews, which eight in 10 travelers consider when booking a hotel. You should try to ease the process of helping travelers to locate these reviews and learn about the wonderful time that other guests have had at your hotel.
Invest in Native Advertising
In order to reach potential guests, you should consider turning to native advertising. A type of advertising that resembles a publication’s editorial content, native advertising is not only expected to surpass traditional types of hotel advertising in 2018, but it is also expected to account for nearly three-quarters of all display advertising revenue in the United States by 2021.
More important to hoteliers, native advertising, which also includes in-stream placement on social media, has been shown to be a worthy investment. According to Inc., more than 50 percent of people who click on native advertisements intend to make a purchase.
Shore Up Your Search Engine Optimization Strategy
A well-designed website cannot be maximally effective if travelers have difficulty finding it. In order to ensure that your website appears high in search-engine results, learn which keywords have the most value to your hotel. Then, place those keywords into the content, headings, meta descriptions, and image alt tags of your website.
Specifically, consider incorporating phrases containing three words or more (known as longtail keywords). According to Leonardo Worldwide Corporation, a tech company that serves the hospitality industry, the use of these types of long, specific search terms can prove a cost-effective method of attracting high-quality traffic to your hotel’s website.
Provide Guests with a Personalized Experience
Most travelers expect a personalized experience during their hotel stay. You can provide this type of experience in different ways. For example, your hotel can use data collected from an OTA or from a direct booking engine to tailor services to the preferences of each guest.
At the very least, you should inquire as to the reasons why visitors are staying with you. Are they attending a local business conference? Are they on vacation with their families? Having access to this information will allow your employees to provide guests with individually tailored recommendations that will make their stay more comfortable and enjoyable.