Developing, implementing, and managing the right marketing strategies to increase inquiries and bookings at your property is crucial.
With the last two years of COVID upheaval, the standard approach to hotel and resort marketing has, by necessity, been revised and adapted to target returning guests.
Most marketing strategies are applicable at any time, but this unprecedented shutdown has resulted in the customer moving even further towards online research and bookings.
As a result, hospitality marketers need to determine if they are losing client bookings they didn’t even know were available?
Today’s technology-savvy traveler will conduct their research online. However, what happens if your property is not visible via a Google search to a website, social media, YouTube video or other content platforms? You will lose the potential booking without knowing that the valuable guest has elected to stay elsewhere.
If you manage a hotel or resort you need to be visible online – wherever your potential guests are searching.
The main starting point is, of course, your website.
1 Review your website for 2022
Any website review should be focused on your potential site visitors and not a vanity approach to looking good.
Several questions you need to ask yourself:
- If you search your location or nearby events, attractions, places to visit etc., do you find your website or your competitors? That may be an indicator of your site’s search engine authority.
- Does your website provide a clear, concise and straightforward layout that will lead your site visitor to a booking enquiry?
- Is your site content all about you or what you can provide for the potential guest?
- Have you analysed your audience demographic and designed the site/on-site content to complement their requirements? For example, do you fully understand your typical guest and what they are looking for?
- Do you have clearly named images or video content that is easy to view?
- Is your site mobile friendly?
- Does your site include words and phrases that your potential guests type into search engines?
- Do you include content to inspire post-Covid confidence in health, safety and hygiene?
IHS Note: We always recommend a specialist review of your website to audit the technical aspects of the site where, often, many quick-win improvements can be identified and implemented.
2 Is your website visible on search engines?
You may have the best website available, but it is effectively invisible if no one visits the site.
Most travelers will utilize a search engine to find a hotel/resort in their chosen destination.
Search engines have drastically evolved over the last two years with a greater focus on:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – The technical configuration of a website to determine search ranking and visibility.
- Mobile-friendly design to accommodate the continually rising trend of smartphone and tablet searches above desktop devices.
- The ‘page speed’ or how fast your site loads (becomes visible) on the search device. Large images or embedded video files can slow your site and impact your search engine ranking/visibility.
- There is also more focus on the USER Experience – Can the site visitor find what they are looking for and interact with your site or do they visit one page and leave?
3 Do you check your site analytics/visitor statistics?
The use of analytics is all-too-often an underused goldmine. The data provided can provide critical insights and direction for your ongoing marketing activity.
- Do you use analytics to check booking demographics and devices they use to find your site?
- Do you know the main reason WHY guests chose you over your competition?
- Is there a week of the month, a day of the week, a time of the day where you get most site visits?
- Is your social media activity driving site visitors?
- Do you monitor social media platform analytics to measure direct enquiries?
4 Content, Content, Content
Content is King. We all know that content is king and content is the lifeblood of on-site and social media activity. Content comes in many forms: words, images and video, infographics, tables, forms and even UGC – User Generated Content.
Video is and has been for several years, the fastest growing and most viewed form of content online via your website, social media channels and YouTube.
The increased use of smartphones and tablets has only made video an essential part of your content marketing strategy.
Video explainers, video promotions, video welcome on booking, virtual tours and more can enhance the guest experience and add shareable content across all your content channels.
- UGC Content
UGC is excellent for brand promotion as reviews, comments, and mentions can positively impact your online authority status.
- Can you partner with local businesses, attractions, places to visit?
- Do you implement quality customer service BEFORE your valued guest arrives?
Communication is vital, and the guest experience starts from the minute they visit your site or social media channels, from when they enquire or book to when they finally arrive.
IHS Note: Make sure you continually monitor reviews and comments and ensure that you respond to all, good or bad. This activity will further improve the positive perception of your customer service approach.
5 Do you use PAID ads via Google or Social Media platforms?
- Time to review your ad spend?
Ads on Google or social media must not be “set and forget”. You must continually review your target audience, target words and phrases, budget spend and click-through rates!
- Do you use remarketing?
Ok, you have an interested potential guest who starts to book online and then stops and does not complete the booking.
That’s where remarketing comes in. Yes, it involves paying for ads. However, these ads will be viewed by those very potential guests that have recently visited your site.
A tempting offer or incentive to book via the ad may entice guests to complete the booking.
6 Review the OTA’s
OTA’s and travel brokers can be an essential part of your marketing strategy.
Again, a “set and forget” approach is not advised, and a regular review of their impact is strongly recommended.
- Do you have partnership relationships with OTA’s or travel brokers?
- What site or enquiry or bookings do they provide?
- Have you reviewed their value versus direct booking enquiries?
- Is your visible listing up-to-date and enticing?
In closing, there are many platforms, actions and audits that you should regularly review to maximise your direct booking potential.
IHS can help you to identify quick-wins, additions or improvements that can be made to your:
- Website: technical audits and analysis
- Content: on-site and on social media platforms, including editorial calendar planning
- Social media: content focus on views, shares, mentions, likes and followers
- Video: specific analysis of your video content potential
- Marketing strategy development: both on and off-site recommendations.
To find out more about the services provided by Inside Hospitality Solutions and our providers, contact us at email@example.com.
Written by John Heffernan, RedLive Media.
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