Fact to be told, it doesn’t matter to which industry you belong, you’ll need a direct or indirect digital marketing strategy! The reason is quite simple- we see new brands and companies every day and we come to know about them via internet. With ever increasing cut-throat competition, every company want to rank on Google and to achieve this they have a digital marketing team that maybe in-house or outsourced.
For hotels, the strategies to attain better hospitality marketing is not always easy. Many marketing firms will simply try their hardest to sell you their service. They will often neglect to explain the steps involved or why each step is important to the positive outcome you are working toward as a company. But, let's face it, creating your own marketing plan is time-consuming and draining, but its mandatory!
Digital marketing for hotels has become increasingly complex. Now, every hotel managers need not only to service guests, manage rooms, availabilities and pricing, but now are also expected to compete for guests in new channels and digital communities that emerge every day. Hence, many hotel managers are asking themselves how can they improve their brand online while still having enough time to run their business.
The obvious choice will be to hire an additional staff, but this tactic is just a temporary solution, because demand for digital marketing is unstoppable and the problem will continue to grow. The breakthrough solution for this complex problem is a digital marketing architecture and tools that provide a consistent multi-channel experience to hotel guests and prepare hotels for future digital marketing demands. We have identified the following steps to be included in hotel digital marketing strategies to skyrocket your hotel bookings and revenue. Let’s have a look:
- You must optimize your website for the search engines: If you're new to the concept of SEO, here's a concise version of the explanation: search engine optimization involves making critical updates to your website's content, code, links, and occasionally layout to improve its likelihood of ranking in user searches. Essentially, it's the process by which you improve your hotel's website to make it more likely to show up when someone searches for something like "book a hotel in [your city]." (a general sample on how a user searches on Google or on any other platform)SEO can take a long time to learn, especially on your own, but it's one of the most important things that hotels can do to increase their online bookings. Research has shown that the top result in searches gets around 33% of clicks. This drops to 17% for the second result and 11% for the third. If you're on the second page, you're looking at about 1% or less. This is why SEO is crucial: if you're competing with two nearby hotels for the top position for "hotel in [your city]," improvising your position in search can result in a large increase in clicks to your site. Quite obviously, if visitors like what they see on your website, they are more likely to book a stay with you.
- Utilize social medium to target millennial travelers: According to Forrester, 60% of guests use one or more social networking platforms during their search, shop and buy process. Hence, it is critical to manage tripadvisor ratings, have a professional-looking presence on facebook, and allow guests to engage over twitter. And to use the social network to amplify your message, ensure that good experiences your guests write about are shared on the different digital communities. For photos we see the best results using Flickr and for videos a dedicated YouTube channel. And don’t ever forget email: it is still the most widely mechanism used to share itineraries and ideas of trips.
- Mobile-based strategy: Mobile traffic is the fastest growing category in digital marketing, and to no surprise also in travel. Google research states that 39% of all hotel searches are already executed on a mobile device. If you deployed a mobile solution in 2017, you will realize that mobile consumers have a much more utilitarian behavior – they are looking for the hotel’s address, phone number, or want to book a room for tonight or tomorrow night. Hence, the experience to conclude those tasks must be optimized in 2018. While success can be found using mobile as a stand-alone media, it provides the largest rewards when it is used as an integrated, multi-channel engagement platform. If you can provide consistent messages across web, social and mobile, while ensuring that the most relevant offers are prioritized then you truly have provided multi-channel digital marketing.
4. Build a definitive plan around local SEO: Have you noticed that searches for hotels in your area don't always return a regular list of search results? If you're seeing results below a list of locations with addresses, phone numbers, and photos, you are seeing the Google ‘My Business’ feature. Google My Business gives hotel managers a way to stand out in searches, offer quick information about their business, and make it easy for potential guests to get in touch with you. When you set up your My Business profile, you will be able to add the following information:
- Your location, contact information, and hours of operation
- Photos of your hotel
- A short description
- Links to other websites where you may be featured (like Yelp or TripAdvisor)
- Optionally, the cost and availability of your rooms
Also, setting up this profile will allow guests to review your hotel, and have their review featured right on the Google search results. Having this information available up front can provide enormous benefits for your hotel. If you neglect this strategy in your hotel Internet marketing plan, you will be sacrificing many potential guests. One study found that 40% of mobile searchers are looking for travel-related information, like hotels, are likely to place phone calls if the option is available. Setting up your Google My Business page can make that option available instantly!
5. Utilize content marketing strategies to educate your guests: If you are not living under a rock for the past several years, you may know that for better SEO adding informative, keyword-rich content to your website is one of the best ways to improve your ranking on search engines. An advanced form of this content addition that can help you reach more guests is called content marketing, and it can be an enormous benefit to your hotel.
Especially for hotels, the content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy that requires the creation of relevant content like blog posts, guides, or articles for your website to increase a visitor's interest in your brand or business. Although other industries typically use content marketing to educate visitors on a topic, hotels can use it to attract visitors who may be searching for information on highly relevant topics, making them more likely to become guests.
For example, if your hotel is located in Korea, there's a pretty good chance that your staff knows a great deal about the area—what restaurants are good, what tourist spots are worth visiting, and what shops are nearby. You can use this knowledge to create pages that directly answer questions that visitors to Korea might have while they are researching an upcoming trip.
6. Unleash the untapped potential of PPC (advertisement): Last, but not the least, internet marketing for hotels can be highly challenging if you operate in a city that is a popular vacation spot or tourist attraction. Although the four aforementioned strategies we've covered can be easily done for free, this final marketing method does require an investment of both time and money.
Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC, is another way that you can boost your hotel's visibility in search results. Searches on Google don't deliver just natural (also called "organic") results—they also deliver paid ads that have been placed there by companies or businesses. PPC advertising works like this: your hotel sets up ads around certain relevant keywords, like "hotel in [city][state]." You then bid a certain amount, usually suggested by Google, to have your ads appear at the top and along the sides of organic search results. You don't pay anything for your ads unless they are clicked—thus the name "pay-per-click." If your area is saturated with hotels and hospitality options, PPC can be a perfect way to gain attention and still earn clicks from search results.
A well-written PPC ad can attract a high number of clicks, and can help your website earn much-needed attention and interest from guests while you are still working to improve your SEO.
So, now you know what needs to be done to boost or kickstart your digital marketing efforts. This blog is also a succinct guide to know where you are on the curve and learn from it. Implement these tactics and feel the change in your business and watch it grow! So, what are you waiting for? It’s the high time to employ these techniques to beat all your contemporaries and rank successfully on various search engine platforms. So, let’s start and rock the boat in a good way!