Online Presence is important now then it ever was
Online presence in order to drive bookings to your hotel is more important then it ever was going into 2015. The majority of hotel reservations are not done online. Its never going to go away and hoteliers must embrace this major culture change. Social Media, Websites, Blogs, OTA's, Review Sites, Bookmarking sites, etc is the nature off the beast to gain your share of online bookings. Online Travel Agency websites such as Hotels.com, Expedia and Priceline are already leading the charge with digital marketing and keeps gaining more share of reservations in the United States hotel market, which is taking money out of your pocket.
Don't get me wrong OTA's have their place in our business but its to fill distressed rooms, it was never intended for them to be our number 1 booking source. Your own website should be doing that. This is why you need to start focusing more on your online and social media presence starting today. Because in order to drive more bookings to your hotel through your own reservations or franchise CRS where it does not cost you as much to get a booking, you need to embrace this and lead the way with it in your area.
Its also far more complex ed then posting a special, or a package. However its not as difficult as many would think. It all really depends on your own knowledge and your staffs knowledge on technically using the various social media platforms to create digital content for your lodge or hotel. Because we are going to tell you the ground work that you need to do, in order to launch or revamp your current digital marketing campaign.
Getting Started On Your Hotels Digital Marketing
First thing you want to do is a refresh of your image. You want to get new pictures of your hotel and have them uploaded on all channels. Guests that make online reservations can visit your website up to 22 times before making a decision to book one of your rooms. So the idea is to make them want to visit less and book with you sooner. They want to see what they are purchasing, and they want to know your story. What does your hotel have to offer that will set you apart from any other hotel in the area.
Tell your story on your social media pages, and if you don't have time to do all of them, focus on Facebook since it has the most active daily users. Do not get caught in the habit of posting about your great rates, and that you offer a clean room. I would sure hope any hotelier reading this has clean rooms. If not get those up to par before you start promoting and selling your property online, because negative online reviews can kill your online presence very fast. Back on subject, you want to paint a picture and take that future guest on a quick tour of your property. Remember social media means social so tell them about your staff, who was promoted, feature your team by posting a picture of a team member each week with a short bio of their interests.
Is your hotel close to a large event center, or a flower shop, funeral home, major businesses, factory's? These are major room occupancy drivers so make sure you include images, and content about them, so when people look at these businesses they will also see that your hotel is nearby.
Local Events in the area that draw large room nights should also be included on your website, and you should also create content around these events, and then let people know your offering them a special for participating in these events by giving them a special rate or a mere 10 percent off. This will help you show up in more searches and gaining your audiences attention.
Don't skimp on the pictures, and make sure the person you designate to do this for you is creating new content at least 5 times a week. This will be a few blog posts, articles to online travel directories, and or posting some great guests experiences on Facebook. A 30 second video of your hotel also is a powerful punch with more people watching video on their mobile devices, you want to make sure you can be found on all platforms, and you want the guests viewing your online presence to be more opt to book with you faster during the decision process.
Keep in mind producing new digital content can be time consuming, and also takes a little bit of time to be indexed and found by the search engines. Its like planting a garden, so you want to get started now, so by the time your busy season rolls around, you are getting more bookings, and even better rates.