How hoteliers should think digitally to drive bookings

In his famous TED talk, organisational consultant Simon Sinek outlines how Apple differentiates itself from its competitors by challenging the status quo by beginning with why the customer wants to purchase an Apple product – they want beautifully designed and user-friendly products. The features are secondary if considered at all.

Where Apple’s competitors had failed in their marketing was to make a deep emotional connection with their audience. Rather than focus on features Apple focussed on the simplicity and utility of the device – the iPod’s design language such as the thumbwheel, for example, making it easier to select music than traditional push buttons. In a competitive landscape for hoteliers, they need to look to differentiate themselves from the competition which may now include other companies who have challenged the status quo such as Airbnb.

With so much consumer choice in the hotel business it is no longer just a case of setting up a website with a basic contact us page and hoping for the best.

We have a few tips that will help hoteliers push ahead in converting their website visitors to paying guests.

Optimise mobile bookings

As Sinek has also noted, consumers today are addicted to the dopamine buzz that they get from checking their mobile phone. So much so that mobile traffic in the US now accounts for 63% of all web traffic.

These dopamine addicts are hungry for information and experiences – some might say this represents a perfect storm for hotel marketers. Make sure that your site is fully optimised for mobiles. You can also use tools such as Google Analytics to monitor your sites performance on mobile devices.

Local SEO

Getting ranked by Google is key. Once a guest knows where they want to stay they will more than likely narrow their Google search to that local area. You need to make sure that your hotel has a strong local presence – Google treats it very differently from a regular search.

SEO is large topic and it can seem daunting. A great guide to local search optimisation can be found here.

Social Selling

For many, the internet is social media. In order for hoteliers to succeed on this channel they need to aim for engagement and not sales.

There is a big disconnect between what is important for sales people and how consumers behave. According to a report by HubSpot, social selling is only a priority for 8% of sales people while nearly 60% of people follow brands on social media. A key stat from the report is that among the 18-34 age group between 43 and 48% follow brands on social media because they are interested in either buying products or they want coupons.

This is huge market for hoteliers to tap into. As social selling is a relatively new phenomenon you can get ahead of your competition now. The key is to make it a part of your daily marketing routine and to keep the messages subtle. The Digital Marketing Institute have published a useful how to article.

Great Content

With so many options for today’s traveller to choose from it is imperative that you stand out from the crowd. You need to have an attention-grabbing website.

Creating great content will not only stop your site visitors in their tracks it will also help improve your SEO as it sends a clear signal to Google that you are providing fresh relevant content especially if you pepper your content with keyword phrases that your visitors are typing into the Google search bar.

The best way to provide consistent and mobile-friendly content is to publish a weekly blog which can help your visitors plan their trip.

Moz provide a detailed beginner’s guide to content marketing.

Email Marketing

Email is a great and cost-effective way of reaching out to potentially hundreds or thousands of guests. As 65% of email is now read on mobile devices we would recommend that you optimise your email campaigns for these platforms.

The most effective emails are those that are permission-based and that are personalised. Having clean data is key especially with stringent regulations coming into force around data protection such as GDPR. A great source of data can be a hotel PMS software as it captures comprehensive guest data which can then be segmented further for personalised and targeted email campaigns. Most email solutions have automation built-in so you can literally set and forget it.

Online marketing expert, Neil Patel offer a comprehensive guide to email marketing.

Get in Touch

We hope that this gives you a flavour of what you can do to separate yourself from the pack.

We have been working with hoteliers for over twenty years helping them with online bookings, channel integration and, now, GDPR compliance so contact us today if you need any assistance.

Luis De Souza
Luis De Souza Chief Executive Officer Posted on: August 2, 2018
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