What you need to know about digital marketing for the hotel industry in 2016

08/09/16

Like any market, the hotel industry has its peculiarities and, therefore, its own marketing strategies. Pmweb has been working with solutions and strategies in digital marketing and technology for hotels for the last 20 years and this experience has brought some lessons that deserve being shared.

In the era of driven marketing data, we grouped the four main marketing strategies for hotels – merging with distribution – and their tactics, which aim to bring not only income, but also profit for the hotel.

HAVE A BOOKING ENGINE ON YOUR WEBSITE

The hotel’s website is the gateway to the experience. It may have been found via search engines, accessed directly through referral from a friend or by any other means, it does not matter. The site is the main reference when it comes to online presence and will set the tone of the communication, causing the first impression on anyone who accesses.

Therefore, it needs to be developed and designed with sound user experience principles, keeping in mind that a mobile version is no longer an option, but mandatory.

Mobile version: it can be responsive or just mobile, the important thing is to have good navigation, this also applies to the booking engine, also known as booking engine.

Booking engine: having a fast, simple, safe and conversion oriented tool is critical and can make the difference between purchase and abandonment. It also needs to have the hotel’s personality and to continue the communication that started on the site.

In addition, the technology should allow the traveler to have full control over the booking so hey can alter or cancel it according to brand policy.

It is also necessary to think about price from the guest point of view, offering them a rate shaped to their profile as a consumer. We are talking about individual pricing, which can be done through the integration between booking engine and CRM platform.

If the booking engine offers clarity of prices, the possibility of individual price, availability and security to the users so that they complete the booking, there is a chance they will book with you again. We prepared five simple tips to reduce booking abandonment that might help you.

Photos and videos: providing images, not only hotel photos and videos, but leaving room for content produced by users gives more credibility and reality to the facilities. It is important fo the hotel to display as much material as the OTAs (or more).

Content: Must be clear and explanatory about accommodations and promotions. Many users believe that hotel websites are not keeping up with online agencies in this aspect. Also there is no such thing as too much information.

INVEST IN DIRECT BOOKING

Investing in direct bookings is the most profitable way to sell accommodations. Online agencies are important sources of revenue, but they charge high fees to do it.

Seeing the direct channel as the protagonist in hotel distribution and investing on it is also investing in brand and data based technology. But how can I get people to the site and booking engine? There are activation means that need to be considered.

Search engine marketing: investing in search engine marketing is an efficient way to acquire customers.

Sponsored links are Google ads displayed on the search results and their payment mode is pay-per-click. In this case, the more relevant the ad, the better it will be positioned. So it’s important to have a specialized team organizing, optimizing and measuring the sponsored links strategies.

Another search engine marketing technique is SEO – search engine optimization – which consists in optimizing the online environment so the website can be found by search engines. The project involves a multidisciplinary team of SEO experts, developers and marketing.

 

CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization it is a set of optimization techniques that make the site a changing environment and adaptable to its public. If people are different, why show the same site to everyone? 

RAISE YOUR BET ON RELATIONSHIP

More important than bringing customers to the hotel is keeping them. With the use of data, you can extract information about the consumer, guided by navigation behavior, history and other preferences. If the guest is at the center of the marketing strategy, the relationship will flow smoothly and be relevant, improving the chances of them coming back to your hotel.

Email marketing: This marketing tool is cheap and effective when well-crafted and respects the consumer’s life cycle. E-mails related to the reserve are very effective when the shipping platform connects to the booking engine. For example: e-mail re-check-in, after check-out, destination tips, booking abandoned or refused payment.

Content marketing: having a blog and investing in social media are ways to attract customers and also to keep the conversation going in different channels. Being on social media is no longer an option. Content marketing is an inexpensive way to engage the public and may represent a differential in the hotel industry. With the competitiveness of some destinations, commoditization of prices and diversity of distribution channels, content marketing will serve to reinforce the sales channel.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION

Maintaining a good online reputation in hospitality means first of all to give the necessary attention to review and social media channels. Today, everyone can make themselves heard. A negative experience can take huge proportions and damage the brand’s image.

Summing it up, one can not ignore, delete or answer in an final or arrogant manner to comments, be them negative or positive. Showing to the customer that the brand cares about his opinion brings you closer and improves the relationship so they will come back..