Drive direct bookings without using direct links - Insights

Drive direct bookings without using direct links

Direct bookingsIncreasing traffic to your own website is one of the most important factors for a hotel’s success, as 100 per centÊof all revenue from direct bookings are paid to the property withÊno acquisition cost. It is possible to increase your property’s website traffic by establishing direct links to your site so customers can reach yours via other sites, such as withÊblogs, partner sites andÊsocial media that they may already be visited. While this method is efficient, building direct links can be time-consuming and expensive.

We’re living in a time offering a plethora of innovative and time and cost-effective ways to increase web traffic via search engines, withÊno link building necessary, including:

Publishing in-depth articles

According to a recent study, 7.1 per centÊof Google search results contain in-depth article this may not seem like a big number, but articles that are well-written and include industry-related keywords can generate a significant boost in website traffic. In fact, your SEO (search engine optimization) ranking will increase if your articles include keywords.

Write articles or blog posts about topics relevant to the key benefits that your property offers to potential guests. For example, if you are in an amazing location with lots of nightlife, you could write an article about the best local events as a reference for people who are searching for info about an upcoming trip to your destination. Be sure the advice shared in your articles are as unique as possible and deliver your articles in a clear, concise format and professional, but approachable tone. This is more likely to attract more people to your article and encourage them to share your info via direct links on their site. As you already know, the more visibility that you can create, the more direct bookings you can create.

Social media

Social media is a huge opportunity for hotel marketers since today’s consumers are using these channels to research and book travel. ÒMillennials check an average of 10 sources before making travel purchases to make sure they pay as little as possible” and “86 per centÊof Millennial travelers were inspired to book a trip based on content they viewed online”.

As new social media sites are being launched all the time, it is more important than ever that your property has a presence on the most popular sites, and that you continue to share exciting, image-based (as people connect to visuals more strongly than words), shareable and engaging content on each site. While these networks aren’t new, they are channels that every hotelier should be using to see the most ROI for their social media marketing efforts:

Facebook

Your Facebook page can be easily modeled after your website. Here you can post upcoming sales and promotions as well as links to more fun, easy-reading, as opposed to in-depth related articles that aren’t salesy but, which still promote your hotel passively. For example, if your property is in Belize, you could publish an article called: ÒWhy Belize is the #1 Tourist Destination This Year.Ó

Twitter

Twitter is a more conversational channel and is meant to share quick snippets of information, as it only allows you to share 140 characters per post. This is a great channel to interact with top influencers and media outlets covering the hospitality industry by retweeting their posts and @mentioning them. A retweet from a blogger or travel magazine with many followers can give you a huge boost in visibility, which will often convert to click-throughs to your site and, hopefully, bookings.

Instagram

Instagram is a completely visual medium, as it doesn’t allow you to post links. Even still, it is a great channel for potential clients to find your property based on the images of your property and destination that you post. As mentioned above, consumers are more engaged by beautiful images and visuals than they are by words, so having an Instagram account can be highly beneficial for promoting your property’s amenities. As with all other social media channels, avoid being too sales-focused. Don’t just post images of your property; share gorgeous photos of your destination, delicious food and drinks, local hotspots and activities, and people having fun in the area. By showing potential guests what they can expect from their trip as a whole, not just from their hotel room, they are more likely to be inspired and excited Ð two emotions which often translate into action and bookings.

Snapchat

Snapchat gives your business an opportunity to share images or short videos, which are highly appealing to potential guests. Post a panoramic of the sunset or an afternoon at your property’s pool or rooftop bar, if applicable. If you have an amazing gym, show guests working up a sweat, with their permission of course. In short, you can share whatever it is that makes your property appealing to potential guests. Snapchat is an especially effective channel to show off areas of your property that are best illustrated with short videos where pictures don’t do the space justice.

YouTube

YouTube is another platform that will help your company increase its online visibility. Creating a slightly longer video montage that showcases your property’s best amenities will encourage bookings. Videos are even more successful at creating emotion than static photos, so YouTube video montage is a marketing activity that can have significant ROI, especially when also featured on your website’s homepage and shared on your other social channels.

There are also SEO benefits offered by sharing videos on YouTube. Videos often appear on the first page of search results, making your business more visible to potential guests doing research about your destination. ÒYouTube is now more popular than Google with users on desktops,” so it’s important your property has a strong presence on the site.

Insider tip: Take advantage of social sharing, which is the ability for readers to quickly share your articles and images with their followers by offering a sharing link to each social media channel from your site withÊmarketing emails and blogs.

Mobile optimization

Mobile optimization is a hugely important consideration for your property’s direct booking channels, as Òhotels accounted for 20 per cent mobile travel bookings” made during the second quarter of 2016. Creating a mobile site or ensuring that your desktop site is responsive -Êmeaning that it adjusts itself to the screen upon which it is being viewed, such as a tablet or a smartphone -Êis an operational imperative today. In addition, your booking engine must be mobile-compatible to take advantage of the large percentage of travelers who want to be able to book their hotel stay on their smartphone or tablet. If you provide your customers with a simple, hassle-free mobile experience, you will see an increase in mobile website traffic and bookings.

As you can see, by increasing visits to your property’s website – whether via a computer or mobile device – you will boost your property’s occupancy and RevPAR significantly. So, I leave you with this final question: what do you have to lose, other than those pesky OTA commissions?

By Jennifer Nagy, President of JLNPR Inc.

About JLNPR Inc.

Jennifer NagyJLNPR Inc. is a full-service public relations and marketing agency that lives and breathes all facets of the travel technology industry. From online travel agencies to revenue management systems, tablet-based aviation automation solutions to IFE technology, hotels to airlines and everything in between, JLNPR uses our knowledge and experience to get your B2B travel technology company noticed by media, influencers and potential customers Ð and whenever possible, without the overused, often abused press release. In addition to traditional media relations outreach, we also ghost-write exciting, informational copy that will be published (in our client’s name) by top hotel industry media outlets Ð in order to increase your company’s visibility with potential customers, boost brand awareness and increase sales. To learn how to do your own PR for your company, download JLNPR’s free guide: How to Use Public Relations to Boost Your Sales – Without Blowing Your Budget. To find out more about JLNPR (including our services and out-of-the-box philosophy on press releases), please visit www.jlnpr.com.

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