Online Travel Agent (OTA) channels play an important role in digital marketing for hotels, helping increase reach and manage excess inventory. But wouldn't it be great to improve profitability by generating more direct bookings on your own website?
To achieve this, you need a hotel digital marketing plan that accomplishes the key goals of driving traffic to your website (attract), keeping them there (engage), and ultimately converting them into reservations (convert).
Goal #1: Attract
“If you build it they will come,” is a memorable line from the movie Field of Dreams, but it won’t help hoteliers when it comes to gaining new customers. No matter how beautifully built your website is, or how amazing your property is, if people aren’t finding you online, you won’t get direct bookings.
Ninety-three percent of online experiences start with a search engine, and you can capitalize on this trend by implementing a hotel digital marketing plan that makes strategic use of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). These techniques help ensure your hotel pops up on that coveted first page of search results, attracting customers who are hunting for hotels in your area.
Goal #2: Engage
Once shoppers find you online, make sure they stick around to complete the booking process by engaging with them, and immersing them in the benefits of staying at your hotel. Does your hotel offer incredible scenic views? A great city-center location? Including stunning photography and evocative videos on your website to provide shoppers with a sensory-rich experience that fuels their travel dreams, and lets them know what it feels like to stay at your hotel.
An important factor to keep in mind when it comes to engaging with customers on your website is that in 2016, more than half of travelers who booked trips via digital, did so using a mobile device. And those numbers are only rising. If your website isn’t built in an easy-to-scroll-through mobile format, with the tap of a finger your potential guest will move on.
Goal #3: Convert
Put yourself in the shoes of your guests and visit your own website. A recent Google survey found that 52% of travelers who book hotels through an OTA first visit a hotel website for more information. But many hotel websites are confusing and difficult to navigate, with 99 percent of travel site visitors abandoning the website before completing their bookings. Compel guests to book directly, and increase conversions on your website by creating a frictionless booking experience with a mobile-first, hotel booking engine.
Digital marketing for hotels is not a one-time project. Do you need help setting up an effective plan for your hotel?