Investing in the right technology mix is essential to improving engagement and conversions on your website. Hoteliers have the power to increase their direct online revenues and decrease their customer acquisition costs. All it takes is a renewed commitment to the direct online channel, an understanding that OTA commissions are not just the ‘cost of doing business’.
1. 2016 is shaping up to be a critical year for fully utilising digital technology.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the complete strategy behind it can be worth millions.
A hotel website’s success requires not just a great custom design, but it also requires an integrated online marketing strategy.
- Kay technology - fully responsive
- CMS for fresh content
- electronic footprint that drives visitors to website
- email signature
- social banners and video
- great photos and video
- email marketing
- pre and post stay emails
- fourth screen electronic compendium
- social media integration
- Google analytics integration
- regular SEO upgrades
- pay per click advertising
- landing pages
- content writing or blog strategy
- regular email newsletters
2. Outspend the OTA’s on your brand in pay per click
As a basic rule of thumb, if $1000 buys you approximately 1000 extra visitors, the OTA’s on average spend $300 per property (but on every property) and get less than 300 visitors, as they have to spend more on the same brand key words not being the actual property.
Many hotels spend upwardly of $7500 a month to drive the lions share of traffic their way.
You can also diversify on Facebook and youtube if you are active on these mediums with video, and remarking initiatives.
3. Have a robust ‘Book Direct’ strategy or loose more bookings to OTA’s
The OTA’s still play an important role in the grand mix, but as an individual property owner, you have lots of opportunities through your own website and technology. - book direct incentives, internally and for your guests with add on, great real people service, clearly show why it is better to book direct, best rate guarantee, loyalty programs with discount codes, pop ups, exclusive email data bases.
Where we focus our energy is where the energy flows
4. Have a clear online marketing budget
Where do you get clarity on where to best spend your marketing dollars?
Again, you can rely on technology to help you out. Check through your webstats, look at how you are performing against yourself year on tear and how you are performing against other similar properties.
5. Have a defined value proposition
People shopping around online and on travel sites are mainly focused on rate, it is difficult to perceive the real value of a property for individuals unless they actually visit the property website.
You have infinite ways of offering packages, showcase why you are unique and make it easy for people to understand what you offer when they are comparing properties.
Build trust and loyalty through all your electronic communications with your guests - every touch point is a brand opportunity.
Offer exclusive promotions, competitions, interesting content articles and stay in regular contact with all your past guests. Everyone loves to be reminded of their happy moments and it is our holidays that stand out each year more than everything else.
6. Have an omni channel approach
The travel consumer journey takes about 17 days and the average visitor goes through eight research sessions, 18 site visits, and six clicks before making a booking (Google).
Engaging customers at all touch points is critical to maximising online revenue.
A strategy would be to have 2-3 campaign themes that you can run through the year and ensure that this one consistent message gets displayed across all the different touch points, from website, email signature, social media, email marketing to post stay invitations.
7. Know that Google are continually shifting the SEO goal posts
At least 30% to 35% of hotel website revenues were generated as a direct result of organic search engine referrals to the hotel website (HeBS).
Yes, we know there are a lot of SEO companies touting their story and pushing everyone to pay for ongoing SEO. We see the real results a more comprehensive strategy can deliver that can be managed at a property level when there is a well defined online marketing strategy.
Where to from here? Give us a call if you would like to discuss further and make sure you get the most out of your online investment.