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21
July
2016

How to Optimise your Hotel's online marketing strategy: 5 best practices

By Lisa Shields

10 : 00h
0

With the rise of Internet, social media and mobile marketing, the competition between hotels is getting much tougher than ever before. According to Tambourine, about 87 % of travelers use the Internet for making their travel research, and internet travel booking has increased by 73 % in the last five years. These facts alone are compelling enough for hotels to optimize their online marketing strategy in order to stay ahead of the competition. One of the best ways to develop the right online marketing strategy for your hotel is to take into account the best practices that have been implemented by other successful hotels. To make your research much easier, we have gathered five best practices that you can follow in order to plan and execute your hotel’s online marketing:

1. Website with Booking Capability

The website is the cornerstone of your hotel’s online marketing strategy. It is the shop window  of your company, so it’s crucial to build one that will leave visitors with a positive impression. Your website needs to be modern, fresh, interactive and engaging in order to make it easier for visitors to navigate through it. However, by saying modern and fresh, I don’t really mean that your website should have a complex and confusing design: having a simple layout with some engaging CTAs (Call To Action) and pictures will certainly be a better experience for your visitors. Here are some successful hotel website designs that are worth a look, Clayton Hotels,  Citizen M, Hotel Oxford, The Europe Hotel and so on.   

Something much more important than your website’s design is the online booking capability. According to Statistic Brain, about 149 million travel bookings are made on the internet each year. This means that today, consumers expect to see booking capability on your hotel’s website, and if you don’t have an online reservation system, then you are losing customers. Hotels need to either build their own systems or integrate their websites with third-party providers, like p3 Hotels.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

how to optimize your hotel's online marketing strategy: 5 best practices

In order to rank websites in the search results, there are more than 200 factors that search engines take into account. SEO is the process of ranking higher in the search results. To make sure that your hotel’s website is at the top of the search results and gets enough attention from visitors, here are some SEO best practices to follow:

  • Google Places listing: All of the maps, addresses and phone numbers that appear in search results are driven by Google Places. To make sure that your information is also ranked in the top places, make sure that all fields are fully used and you have at least 5 positive customer reviews. In addition, make sure to clearly show your address on your website and embed a Google Places map on your Contact Us page.
  • Tripadvisor listing: This is the leading accommodation website on the web and listing your hotel there will definitely bring you more  traffic.
  • On page SEO: This refers to hidden code fields of your website. Just because search engines cannot understand language, they take into account the fields of your website code in order to figure out what your website is about and what keywords you need to rank for. The two most important fields are page title and meta description on each page, which determine how you appear in search results.
  • Link building: One of the factors that determine your ranking in search results is the number of “backlinks”( number of websites linking back to your website) you have. These links can prove your  popularity for search engines, so the more links you have, the more popular your website is, thus the higher it will  rank.

3. Paid Search Engine Strategy(Google Adwords)

Google Adwords is Google’s paid advertising system, where companies pay in order to appear in relevant search results. For example, your hotel in New York can pay for the keyword “hotels in New York” and appear at the top of such search results.  Unlike SEO, where your popularity depends on the organic traffic and is much unpredictable, paid advertising is more predictable and depends on how much you pay for each click on your ad, which is why it is also called PPC (paid-per-click) advertising.

The cost of an Adwords campaign can be divided into two parts: the setup and management cost that is paid to online marketers and the advertising fees that are paid to Google. The cost of such campaign greatly depends on the results you expect to get, the competitiveness of your industry and the real-time demand in the search engines.

4. Social Media Strategy

how to optimize your hotel's online marketing strategy: 5 best practices

According to Smart Insights, in 2016,  there are about 2.3 billion active social media users and this number has grown from 2015 by 10 %. This fact alone is enough for hotels to consider developing a powerful social media strategy. Being active on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest is one of the best ways to get more attention from travelers, create engagement and share your hotel’s brand stories. Here are some tips that can be useful in your social media strategy implementation:

  • Create a blog, where you can share content not only about your hotel, but also about sightseeing, activities, attractions, dining, shopping, and nightlife in your city. By providing suggestions to your guests, you will prove that you really care about them. Besides this is can be considered as a constant source of content that you can share on your different social media pages.
  • Share many pictures of the destination in order to show how attractive and interesting a vacation your guests may have.
  • Offer special promotions in order to motivate the potential customers to stay in your hotel. For example, organize some Facebook contests and offer them discounts as a gift.
  • Use the right hashtags to increase the awareness of your hotel. For example, besides using your hotel’s name as your main hashtag, make sure to use also hashtags of your city, country or the sightseeing nearby. Do lots of  research, find out what people love most about your location and share relevant hashtags.
  • Share reviews to show how appreciated your hotel is. Positive reviews should be posted in networks like Facebook, Twitter and as well as blog articles.
  • Organize competitions: For example, as a hotel, you can run a competition, where your guests need to share their most creative photos taken in your hotel and the winner/winners would get a free room in your hotel.

Here are 5 social media lessons you can learn from famous hotel brands like Marriott or Hilton.

5. Mobile Marketing

Did you know that about 70 % of travelers begin their search online via a mobile device? Moreover, according to Frederic Gonzalo, average mobile users check their devices about 150 times a day.  So, nowadays, hotels should know that mobile optimization is not a trend but a necessity.

Hotels need to integrate mobile strategy in their online marketing, which should include a responsive website and a mobile compatible reservation system.  This is extremely important, because according to a study of Statisticbrain, nearly 65 % of travelers make same day hotel bookings on their smartphones, which means that about half of travelers do reservations via their mobile device. With that said, you need to make sure that your website has a mobile optimized responsive design in order to ensure high conversion rates.   

Here we have it: 5 best practices to optimize your hotel’s online marketing. Which of these practices are included in your strategy? Are there any other practices as effective as those? Please share your experience with us in the comments below.

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