Running a hotel can be a lot of work, especially in the times that we are experiencing with COVID-19. From guest management to keeping up with the latest and greatest trends, you likely have a lot on your plate.
But at the end of the day, there’s just one thing that matters: are guests actually booking with you? Do you have enough business coming in and out of the hotel, or are you struggling to make ends meet?
Balancing your marketing spend to earn exposure and find customers is one of the biggest challenges facing hoteliers, especially as technology evolves. While online platforms make it easy for prospective guests to book with you, it’s also just as easy for them to book with a competing property.
While a fantastic physical presence (i.e. clean rooms, great amenities, etc.) is certainly part of your appeal, a solid digital presence is also important in today’s technology-driven world. Keep reading and we’ll share a few tips for boosting your online footprint and increasing your online bookings in no time.
Keep reading and we’ll share a few tips for boosting your online footprint and increasing your online bookings in no time. Your first step — even before you begin any other marketing spend or invest in a booking platform — is making sure you have a user-friendly, professional-looking website. These days, your website is often your first impression, so this task should be a top priority.
While you don’t need anything too flashy, here are the must-haves:
Additionally, make sure your site is mobile-friendly and up to speed — literally. Research from Google found that 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if a webpage doesn’t load within three seconds.
As for your social media presence, consider this an extension of your website. Your branding, including your logo, color schemes, and even the way you speak, should all align. Social media is also a great way to connect with your customers, both prospective and existing.
For example, if someone leaves a comment on your Facebook page with a question about your hotel, make sure you respond promptly and professionally. You’ll not only help that particular guest, but you may win over prospective guests that see the interaction on your page.
Once your website is looking good, think about your value propositions. How does your hotel stand out from the others? Why would someone choose to book with you? How are you addressing corporate travel during these changing times?
But there’s more to it than just identifying these answers. When you have them narrowed down, the next step is to make sure you’re actually communicating those value propositions to your guests at every stage of their journey.
For example, let’s say you’re the newest hotel on the block, and you spared no expenses during the design phase to get the latest-and-greatest technology in every room. If that’s the case, you’d want to highlight all of those amenities very clearly on your website with beautiful lifestyle images and written copy that paints a picture of how much they’ll love staying with you.
Another good exercise to try is to take your value propositions and rewrite them to focus on the benefits to your guests. Do you have an Olympic-sized pool, a world-class spa, or a gym that overlooks the oceanfront? Instead of just including that in a bullet-point list, use written copy that paints a picture. Encourage your readers to imagine waking up and hitting the spa for a relaxing morning and leaving feeling completely rejuvenated.
If the tips and tasks in the last two sections made your head spin, you’re not alone. While small operations might be able to get away with a one-person marketing team, you’ll have much better chances of increasing online hotel bookings if you can truly invest in a solid marketing team. This often means multiple roles: a strong copywriter, someone who understands social media and/or paid media, an email marketing specialist, and so on.
Keep in mind that building a strong bench of freelancers or contractors can also work, as can hiring a marketing agency. The main idea is to make sure you’ve got the right people and expertise to help you figure out the right tasks and projects to focus on.
In addition to investing in your team, this also might mean allocating more budget to marketing and advertising during peak booking seasons. Make sure to work that into your annual budget so there aren’t any surpr
There’s nothing like word-of-mouth marketing to boost your bookings! Reviews are powerful, and that goes for both the positive and the negative ones. And with so many different review platforms out there (Yelp, Hotels.com, and Travelocity are just a few of them), you’ll want to have a solid plan in place to keep an eye on what people are saying about you.
It’s also smart to think of ways to encourage more positive reviews. For example, you could put up a sign at your check-in desk with a friendly reminder for people to leave a review, and call out which platform you’d prefer them to leave it on. Include links and reminders in your digital marketing, as well, including emails and your website.
This isn’t just a set-it-and-forget-it tactic either. When you get a new review, consider these follow-up actions…
If it’s a positive review:
If it’s a negative review:
Loyalty programs and extra perks are another great way to increase your hotel bookings, especially while people are traveling less due to COVID-19.
You can go a few different routes with this tactic:
Remember that these “extra perks” can also be simple. Guests might love a beautifully designed guide to the neighborhood, or a handy list of recommendations for nearby attractions and/or restaurant deals. Marketing your location is just as important for increasing your hotel bookings!
Finally, consider expanding reach by working with a partner. Here at TurboRes, we’ve helped hotels across the United States expand their presence and boost their hotel bookings by connecting you to corporate travel planners. Plus, with your dedicated portal, you can provide dynamic offerings to your guests. And unlike other OTAs, there are ZERO commissions — just sustainable growth and satisfied guests.
Contact us to learn more today!