Everyone enjoys traveling, and the internet has made it easier to solve the typical tourist question of where to stay. Nowadays, brochures and travel prospects had been left aside. People use the internet for various operations, as it’s convenient and fast.
A hotel is a unique business that offers clients a second home for a certain period of time. Owners are frequently puzzled about how to improve suites, increase client loyalty, and promote their business. So, what does an online presence give you?
- Improved brand recognition.
People are used to googling everything they want to know. According to a Google report, 60% of travelers use search engines to plan their trips. Your hotel website, client accounts, presence on independent review sites, and social media will create a bridge between you and potential clients.
- Competitive advantage.
An online presence will give your hotel a list of options that you can use to stand out from the crowd of competitors. Creating a website, interacting on social media, and communicating effectively via the internet is key to getting ahead of your competitors. If you showcase your services in the best possible light to meet clients’ expectations, you will see your profit grow.
- Easier communication with customers.
Your social media and business website will help you build a trustful relationship with the client. Promptly reacting to negative reviews, negotiating arising questions, and directly communicating with your customers are effective ways to get closer to your clients.
- Help clients find your hotel.
People use the internet to find out more information about a certain business, compare prices, and get the best option. Your online presence will help the potential customer easily find all necessary information about your hotel and book a suite.
How can you make your online presence effective? We have prepared a list of suggestions you need to consider if you decide to represent your hotel online.
7 Conditions for Success in Promoting a Hotel Business Online
Some hotels have financial resources to develop an online marketing strategy, while small businesses have fewer possibilities. In any case, you can try out the following points depending on your budget:
Polishing your services.
Before launching any promotional activities and spending funds on your online presence, it’s crucial to make sure that your current clients are satisfied with your hotel. Service is the key to success in hotel industry. If most of your clients recommend your business to their friends and relatives, then you are half of the way to success. Pay attention to the following qualities:
- Improve cleaning standards. Everyone likes to live in a clean and fresh room. Even one word in a review about dirty rooms or a smelly toilet may negatively influence the hotel’s reputation. Pay great attention to the cleaning personnel and cleaning control. Cleaning every day, dusting every corner, changing the bed sheets regularly, and cleaning the bathroom should be your prerogative.
- Check the room equipment. Replacing damaged and worn-out furniture will contribute to the overall image of the hotel. It may cost money, but there is no need to buy pricey mahogany furniture. The main requirements are having uniform style, durability, and integrity with the interior.
- Develop a unique selling proposition. Even if your hotel is small, you still have to concentrate on a unique proposition that will make your hotel stand out from the competitors. If your hotel is placed in an attractive tourist area, you can share information about events that take place near your hotel and how tourists can spend their free time. If your unique offer is about the restaurant and wine list, you can organize thematic events and offers (e.g. wine tasting or a culinary master class). If your hotel is located in a natural area cut off from civilization, you can put emphasis on a healthy lifestyle and mindful retreat.
Registering on online booking platforms.
Don’t neglect the possibility of making a profile for your hotel on Booking, Airbnb, or Tripadvisor. According to a Google report, 94% of leisure travels and 98% of business travels are booked with an OTA (online travel agency). These websites already spend a lot of their budget on context advertising and promotion in various countries. If you have a good satisfaction rating and many positive reviews on one of these websites, you will gain the loyalty of your future customers.
Also, you need to consider that you will need some automated optimization if you want to be present on several platforms at a time. A lack of negotiation between booking may result in double-booking and having incorrect information.
Creating pages on social media.
Focus on social media as a powerful tool to build long-term relationships with your clients. Also, consider the fact that Facebook ads won’t be as powerful as having the correct attitude toward your target audience. Place a QR code on the reception with a link to your social media profile and ask managers to inform guests to follow the hotel’s account. Your guests will be the most valuable hotel fans.
For example, you can look through the Facebook pages of MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Seven Hotel in Paris. These hotels actively add quality content related to their hotel, cooperate with clients, and share special offers.
Also, we advise you to read the research on the influence of social media on a client’s choice of hotel on ResearchGate.
Creating and optimizing your own website
According to the study, users visit on average 4.4 websites before making the final decision about a hotel. The hotel’s official website is important, as a potential guest spends on average 29 minutes to explore a hotel’s website.
You can hire a professional or a company that will create and optimize your website. If you are tight on budget, you can always use services like WIX, Weebly, and others. Pay attention to the content, design, photos, and pricing.
Make sure that your website successfully runs on mobile devices, as more than a third of clients use smartphones and tablets to book hotels. Also, 80% of the last-minute deals are made from mobile devices. So, be sure that your online booking option is mobile friendly.
Also, to let users find your hotel in a Google search, you need to identify keywords related to your business which have enough frequency. Website builders may limit SEO optimization possibilities, but the available options should be enough to start.
Using quality visual content.
People are visual creatures and enjoy beautiful pictures. An effective promotion should contain high-quality photos and videos. No matter what content you use for your website or online hotel platforms, a well-crafted hotel gallery will give your visitors a general idea of your suites, as well as the available restaurants, the view from your windows, and the surrounding attractions. WMEO company representatives are confident that photos of additional services like weddings, conference halls, spas, and other additional services will lead to improved sales. Also, you can create 3D room tours to allow clients to have a better understanding of the hotel.
The best choice is to hire a professional interior photographer or barter with someone skilled enough in photography (if you are tight on a budget). Also, encourage your visitors to share photos on social media and other websites.
Running an email campaign.
According to CampaignMonitor, email marketing drives $44 for every $1 spent. Email newsletters are a great way to turn your guests into returning clients. You can use newsletter services like MailChimp, StampReady, or Mailfy to create and send newsletters to your clients. Define the mailing list, work on a newsletter template, plan the timetable, and create content to make emails work for you.
For example, you can use an email newsletter to ask clients who have already visited your hotel to leave a review on Booking and get a discount for the next reservation.
According to an Oracle study, 73% of hotel consumers like frequent rewards from brands. Offer discounts to returning customers and use thematic sales to boost the client’s interest.
Handle your online reputation with care.
Be ready to work with various reviews left both by clients and competitors on social media, Google Place, Trip Advisor, and other websites that allow reviews and ratings. According to BrightLocal statistics, 68% of consumers are more likely to use a business after reading a positive review.
The key to a good online reputation is maintaining control and management of negative reviews. Prompt and polite responses to negative reviews will show that your business cares about customer satisfaction. The same relates to positive reviews – they also shouldn’t be left without a response. Those hotels that respond both to positive and negative reviews gain respect from current and prospective clients.
Also, you can collaborate with bloggers, yoga teachers, and other specialists to spread information about your hotel and improve your brand awareness.
In the hotel business, online presence may dramatically increase your sales and brand awareness. While your visitors may come from various places, they rely on information that can be accessed online. People use search engines, check social media, read blogs, and look through offers and reviews on thematic websites. To win customers’ hearts, you need to give them adequate information about your hotel and services online and communicate with them effectively.
John Mcgill is a freelance writer from New York. He is interested in the field of academic writing, psychology and journalism.
He likes to share experience in his articles for sites and blogs.