With a new year comes new priorities. If you haven’t done so already, begin strategizing for 2015 and start an action plan for your goals. As hoteliers, we can agree that every year the end goal will ultimately be the same, which is to increase direct bookings that would in turn drive top-line revenue. However, every year is different in the sense that we have to establish new strategies to meet the needs of the ever-changing web and evolving modern day traveler. As we begin 2015, let’s focus on managing your overall online presence and optimize for ongoing success. Be in touch with the next wave of technology while you think about how your hotel can gain a wider reach with travel consumers. Here are a few focal points to implement into your hotel’s strategy to achieve success in the digital marketing world far beyond 2015:
Manage Online Presence
Before coming up with a strategy for 2015, let’s look back on the success and failures of 2014. As hoteliers, we are busy running the everyday operations of the hotel and may lose sight of the online guest experience prior to booking. That said, it is crucial that you take the time to really put yourself in the shoes of the traveler to find out how they are searching for you, what they are searching, and when they are searching for your hotel. In addition, check what comes up when they are searching your competitors and make a list of things you like to change and make a commitment in 2015 to work through that list. Remember to always keep the end goal in mind when you formulate these ideas.
Optimize the Guest Experience
Optimizing your website and its media will give the mobile and on the go consumer a satisfying experience from their phones or tablet. According to recent report from SalesCycle, of the 1,000 consumers surveyed, 13% of them would abandon their booking online because the booking process took too long and the checkout was too complicated. If this is an issue for your hotel’s website, it must be corrected immediately. Don’t let it be a hassle for a traveler to book direct off your website. If you’re booking engine is complicated and/or fails to provide adequate information or photos of the rooms, then you may want to switch providers. What’s the use of having a beautiful and well-crafted website when your booking engine doesn’t seem to provide the same kind of impact? For tips on finding the right kind of booking engine provider click here.
Create visually engaging content across platforms from social media to your own vanity website. Focus on providing a captivating narrative when describing your hotel’s features on your website and on your hotel’s social media channels. Visitors want to learn what the experience will be like and this can be achieved through simple storytelling. So let 2015 be the year of visual storytelling as you paint a picture for your audience. Amplify the experience of the hotel by creating a story that will engage the visitor and allow them to imagine themselves on a relaxing vacation with friends or family. Nothing showcases a hotel’s features and amenities and conveys a total hotel experience in a more compelling way than through an array of multimedia factions including photos, virtual tours, and videos. When telling your hotel’s story, be authentic and informative. People, especially millennials do not like to be sold to so be cautious of using any ‘salesy’ words. Instead, mention any unique features that your hotel offers that would be of value to the potential guest.
Let these tips be the starting point for coming with your own hotel’s marketing strategy. The key to success in 2015 will depend how in tune you are with what travelers want from digital property as well as what they want out of guest experience on property. Be mindful of what will convert a visitor into a guest along every step of the booking process and be everywhere where your guests will be.