There are a couple resources out there that hotels should be taking advantage of in order to increase their sales and stand out among the crowds. These tools can help hotels bring in guests that might not otherwise stay there or even be aware of their properties. One tool is pretty intuitive but is so far a missed opportunity among the hospitality niche. Another resource is a relatively new and budding startup that has turned the tables on online bidding and has the potential to be very impactful in the travel-booking space.
Unique Keyword Monitoring
At this point, many hotels have cross-platform social media presences and some even use keyword monitoring tools to keep an eye on mentions of their properties in the digital space. If your property isn’t monitoring its mentions, you can set up streams on Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, or use SocialMention, among others, that will keep track of any keywords you enter. If your property doesn’t have a social media presence, well, that’s another story!
As far as keyword monitoring, however, there is huge opportunity in watching for select phrases and hashtags beyond your property’s name. Many travelers post on Twitter or other social networks before booking any travel. They are looking for suggestions from friends or perhaps even for a brand to get in contact with them. Sometimes people tweet looking for discounts, but not always. If you look for people posting on social networks that they are “looking for a #hotel in #LA,” reach out to them! Let them know if you have a special going on or if you have availability. You could offer them a social media discount, but you don’t have to. Monitor your city’s hashtag and any other hashtags you think are relevant. This can be a great way to reach out to a new savvy customer base, not to mention it can be very impressive to see that a hotel is successfully utilizing this targeted listening.
A recent web startup company called BackBid actually allows hotels to bid on their guests. Travelers post their hotel reservations for free on the website and hotels then bid for their business, offering competitive prices for rooms. Unlike Priceline or Hotwire, travelers know which hotels are bidding and they can easily compare hotels by rates, star ratings, amenities, etc. The idea is that travelers would cancel their current hotel reservations (assuming the policy at the hotel allows for cancellations) and then book with these new prices that the bidding hotels offer. While there may be a few minor shortcomings currently, such as it is possible to receive no bids and the service is only available in the US, this innovative idea has the potential to drastically change the online travel industry.
Monitoring certain keywords or phrases and using websites like Backbid are simple and something that can easily be implemented into any hotel’s digital marketing plan. Your property will attract new tech-savvy customers and garner a great reputation in the digital space. Remember, these same people that frequently use Twitter for travel recommendations and utilize websites like Backbid are typically the same people that use Twitter and other review sites to talk about their great experiences at your hotel. Reaching out to these potential guests via new social media channels is a terrific way to ensure their experiences are perfect right from the start!