We all understand how technology has advanced at an astonishing rate over the past decade, and a lot of the devices and systems we thought of as cutting edge ten years ago are already obsolete. A perfect illustration of that is the technologies and methods used for modern marketing online.
Just think of how rapidly we have become familiar with concepts like keywords and SEO to CPC and Facebook ads. There is a lot of buzz around the internet and its advances, and anyone involved in tourism or hospitality has to remain right at the cutting edge. Ignore it and run the risk of being obsolete.
Consumers, too, are far more aware of your online presence, and a 2019 report by Adobe Digital Insights showed that 61% of leisure arrangements are made online, emphasizing the need for digital marketing. Even more significant is the need to strengthen the local presence via local search, and Google is nurturing that with its enhancements to the Google My Business tools, allowing, as one report noted, “a great chance to outshine even the biggest hotel chains in your area.”
This is why even a cursory search online can supply the small to mid-sized hotel owner with a constant stream of hospitality marketing ideas to consider. Yet, no matter what angle you look at it, one of the most significant factors in modern marketing is establishing and increasing a company’s online presence. Hotels can make the most of this through:
- Social Media: Don’t only maintain a dynamic and active social media presence but make it a functional one in which visitors can see photos, events, and even book via a WBE. With a 9% increase in social media use in the past year alone, it means almost half of the world’s population is your audience!
- OTAs and Channels: Although an industry report noted that 42% of travel bookings are made directly with the service provider, that leaves a large number still using the various Online Travel Agencies and channels. A channel manager streamlines your distribution and ensures you remain competitive and present online.
- A Dynamic Website: Last year, roughly 75% of all travellers began with a search engine. SEO in blogs and on-site pages help travellers find the site, but so too will integration with the WBE, channel manager, and your PMS.
- Property Management System or PMS: A PMS is a smart management system, but when online presence is concerned, it is essential. It helps with brand distribution and recognition. It enables owners to track guest preferences and to offer them customized services, greatly increasing positive comments and feedback. When cloud-based and integrated, it does so in real-time, eliminating overbooking and any negative guest experiences.
- Apps: Whether in use by guests or management, they ensure that your hotel is part of the mobile-focused generation. However, a PMS that can be run from anywhere, including an app, ensures the most competitive edge. Feeding real-time data to decision-makers, it will enable dynamic pricing, competitiveness, and support optimal bookings.
- Improve Online Reputation: A report suggests that guests read from six to 12 reviews before booking. Ensuring top of the line guest experiences is the number one method for receiving the reviews needed to enhance the online reputation.
- Clear Communication: We all know that content is king but is your content saying what it should? A recent report from the ABTA noted that 16% of travellers wanted expert advice before booking. They obtained it through social media channels, live chats, and websites. Offering relevant content and imagery and backing it up with flawless support will really deliver.
- A Hotel CRM Tool: Late in 2019, a report indicated that CRM is one of the strongest allies for hotels. If it is easy to integrate across channels, features automation and real-time updates, and is mobile, it will be a strong tool towards positive customer reviews, social media follows, repeat business and improved presence.
- Revenue Management: You have a revenue management strategy, and it addresses the typically cyclical nature of the hospitality industry. However, the right RM tool may be able to help you monetize the off-season and shoulder seasons optimally, as well as making the most of peak seasons. Through integration, it can help to highlight incredible deals and market them through social media. It will ensure you get the most dynamic pricing through real-time data about prices on all of your channels. If you want to win over the audience, RM software provides the insight to do so.
Present Online – Creative Marketing Ideas for Hotels
What is meant by the term “online presence?”
It means being easily found, earning many of the hotel’s bookings through online channels, and winning at the game of search engine optimization to the greatest extent possible.
As an example, consider hotel social media marketing ideas. If anyone in the hospitality industry ever thought that one of the biggest hotel marketing tips would be to use something like Facebook as a booking engine, they might have experienced extreme disbelief. However, that is just what has happened.
Enhanced Social Media
Statistics show that one in three travellers turn to social media to help them choose where to go, and so at the top of the list of hotel marketing tips is to promote through social media. Key hotel social media marketing ideas include linking from the hotel website, posting high-resolution images of the hotel and surrounding areas, sharing videos, using live events on Facebook, and enabling booking right on the Facebook page.
If we talk specifically about Facebook, with 2.45 billion users, this social media platform is definitely one of the top ones in the industry. In fact, many experts believe that a Facebook business page may sometimes be able to outperform the hotel website.
And when creative marketing ideas collaborate with technology, the scenario completely changes. It involves the hotel integrating a cloud-based hotel PMS and relying on its booking engine to bring business through Facebook.
The Rise of OTAs and Channels
Another major innovation in which marketing ideas for the hospitality industry have taken shape is on the OTA. Also referred to as “channels,” they are what has emerged as an alternative to the outdated, brick and mortar agency. They include sites such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Booking.com, among many others.
The trick is to get listed on them to maximize online presence. After all, as of early 2019, there are more than 400 of them. They are easily one of the best hospitality marketing ideas and have evolved to such a level that there are now channel manager systems that broadcast a hotel to as many channels as desired. Hotels using a channel manager or resource for interacting with channels will also likely enhance their online presence.
Interestingly enough, the rise of OTAs has caused disruption in social media, and TripAdvisor is taking this further in 2020 by creating an update that aims at making it a social media service for travellers.
Consider, too, that 52% of travel consumers online discover your hotel’s website through an OTA, and 76% of online travel bookings are made through their metasearch data.
The Hotel Website
One of the strongest hospitality marketing ideas is also one of the biggest general marketing strategies, and it is to invest in your website and ensure it is dynamic and takes direct bookings. Improving a website automatically boosts the online presence, but especially when it links to social media and has ties to OTAs and channels.
With 56% of all travel search queries ranking as highly competitive, it makes sense to use the website as the foundation for an online presence and major source of bookings.
It is imperative that any website feature direct booking resources. An online booking engine is known to boost direct bookings at a website by upwards of 10%, and most consumers note they’ll visit a hotel website to see if there are any extra deals or better rates.
A Property Management System
Another of the creative marketing ideas for hotels seeking a stronger online presence is to go more tech-savvy and use a PMS or property management system. This is one of the most robust solutions and offers easy ways to manage a property. Experts note that a valuable PMS is one that works across channels for real-time updating of rack rates and pricing, bookings, and reservations. It should connect to a channel manager, and enable housekeeping management, upsells and add-ons to reservations, reporting, payments, and more.
Keep in mind that it should be a cloud-based, hotel-specific PMS as that enables “on the go” operational management and mobility. If mobile-friendly, it also cuts costs on infrastructure (phones vs. entire computer stations) and allows marketing dollars to be directed towards areas with the highest returns.
App and Mobile Options
If looking to really leverage the internet and develop an online presence, investing in an app that makes life easy for you and your staff is a must! While it won’t enable the use of clever hotel social media marketing ideas, it fits in with top hotel marketing tips for one reason: It empowers real-time updates and enables faster sales. This is because it offers instant data and allows on-the-go updates to everything from rack rates to special promotional pricing.
Innovations and advances in technology have made it easier than ever to market a small to mid-sized hotel. It puts marketing tools at your fingertips, but you will need to use them effectively. Hotelogix is a thought leader in the world of hotel marketing and management. With its one-stop solution, hotels can use a comprehensive and fully integrated PMS that leverages social media efforts, website design and development, OTAs and channel managers, and even features a native app.
Run a hotel smoothly and get the most out of any hotel marketing tips, strengthening the online presence and driving more bookings easier than ever with this single, dynamic system.