Strategy | Planning | Tips | Channels
In 2020 “Digital Marketing” has become an indispensable medium to generate business for Hotels. But the question is, are you doing it correctly? Here are Digital Marketing tips for Hotels
Why Digital Marketing is Important for Hotels?
According to one report, nearly 63% of the total hotel bookings are done online. Most hotels are totally dependent on OTAs and it is a well-known fact that hotel owners are reluctant to share your hard-earned money with a “middleman” i.e. the OTAs. A comprehensive digital marketing strategy can give hotel owners a fair amount of independence from the “middlemen”.
Digital Marketing Strategy for Hotels
The aim of the strategy is to create effective digital marketing campaigns that will drive high volume of quality traffic to the hotel’s website/social media pages. The digital marketing strategy is not as easy as it seems, There are several aspects that you have to consider, like paid advertising, organic traffic, search algorithm, newsfeed algorithm, passive/active channels etc. There are people out there searching for the hospitality service that you offer. The aim of the digital marketing strategy is to help you reach out to this audience.
Here is the list of 16 tips/ideas for Hotel Digital Marketing
The part of the digital marketing strategy is to identify the key USPs of the hotel. It is not not very difficult to identify the key USPs for a Hotel. These USPs are your advantages over your competitors. This can be the fare of the rooms, types of rooms, location of the hotel, amenities at the hotel like swimming pool, play area, holiday deals etc.
You can extend the USPs to your locality, town or city too.
Once you have finalized the USPs, they become the basis of your digital marketing campaigns.
Hotel Digital Marketing encompasses Website Design, Social Media, SEO, Content Marketing, Pay-Per-Click Advertising and Email Marketing. But before you launch the digital marketing campaigns for your hotel you have to concoct a full-proof strategy that can be implemented across various digital platforms.
You have to start the digital marketing for hotels by understanding the “demand”. What are the keywords people are searching to find hotels like yours? Deploy keyword tools like Google Trends, Google Adwords Planner, KeywordTool.io, wordstream.com etc.
Search Marketing [SEO + PPC] is the most important digital marketing medium for hotels and contributes to more than 60% of the total traffic. Choosing the right keywords is crucial to the success of digital marketing for hotels. The general rule of thumb is that you should start with “specific keywords” and “exact keywords”.
Example: If yours is a “Hotel in Pune”, and “Budget Hotel”, “Family Hotels” are the key values [attributes] of your hotel, then use specific keywords like “budget hotel in pune”, “family hotel in pune”, “budget family hotel in pune”.
Paid Ads are one of the quickest ways of reaching out to your digital audience and one of the important digital marketing channels for the hospitality industry. Paid Ads are highly customizable and deliver instant results. But then paid digital marketing is very competitive. You cannot spend money on the generic keywords and have to make sure you use very niche keywords, as mentioned above. The keyword strategy mentioned above comes in handy while doing PPC digital marketing for the hotels. Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Yahoo [Oath by Verizon] are the top PPC platforms for the hospitality industry.
Digital Marketing for Hotels begin with a WEBSITE. From the Digital Marketing perspective the hotel’s website is the vehicle that carries the valuable payload in the form of the “content”. Yes, the website presents the content to your audience. It is the medium through which your “content marketing” strategy materializes. Though many people make hotel reservations on booking engines like MakeMyTrip.com, GoIbibo.com, TripAdvisor.com etc., people prefer to browse the hotel’s website before taking the final call on the reservation. An aesthetically pleasing and up-to-date website imprints a positive impression on the mind of your prospective guest. So you need to make sure your website stands up to that. The most important technical aspect of the hotel website is that it has to be mobile-friendly as 50% of the online traffic comes from mobile devices.
Your hotel website should incorporate SEO and Content Marketing strategy.
SEO is by far the most important digital marketing channel for the hospitality industry. SEO alone can drive 70% of the total search traffic. SEO digital marketing is a combination of several allied digital marketing disciplines – these include on-page SEO, keyword research, website design and content marketing. As mentioned above you should identify that one keyword for your hotel website’s index page. Compared to other business verticals, HOTEL SEO strategy is comparatively simple [not easy] as you have few keywords to target. Implement a robust on-page and off-page SEO methodology mentioned in the SEO checklist here.
Incorporate Structured Data [Markups] in your website design. Structured data is known to improve the Clickthrough Rate [CTR] by 40% to 60%.
Content is the basis of all Digital Marketing campaigns for Hotels. Once you have the USPs of your hotel it becomes easier to chalk out the content marketing strategy. You have to create engaging and informative “stories” based on the USPs: These stories then can be published through the various mediums.
A Hotel blog is a great way of implementing the digital marketing strategy, especially the content strategy. A hotel blog eventually helps your website rank higher in search engines for business keywords. You can publish information related to your hotel, your locality, industry related news and updates and more. Combining content marketing with SEO helps in ranking higher in search engines.
Social Media is another important channel that you should incorporate in your hotel digital marketing campaigns. Hospitality industry is inherently “visual” so show off the unique character of your hotels by posting lots of “interesting” photos on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. It is not only the hotel that you should promote, but the locality itself. That gives you more options – content wise. Get smart with the social media posts you create – make them engaging so they get shared. Is your hotel midtown? or close to the business district, does it have a conference hall and banquet? then you can promote your hotel to the corporate and business audience with Linkedin.
In Hotel Digital Marketing strategy, photos and videos have a greater impact than textual content. Create crisp videos of life @yourhotel and promote them on YouTube and Social Media websites. Create visual stories on image sharing websites like Pinterest and Instagram.
Create local business listings on Google My Business and update it regularly. Use all the features of Google My Business to get the most out of it. Again, images and videos have greater organic reach, so create brief local business posts with relevant images.
You may be listed on online hotel reservation websites like GoIbibo.com, MakeMyTrip.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor.com etc. Your OTA listings combined probably receive highest digital traffic. Keep these listings updated. Ask your guests to rate you on these websites. Focus on how to improve the hotel ranking in the OTA search engine. Some of the factors are good recent photos, descriptive content, meta-title and description.
Encourage your guests to share their experience of their stay in your hotel. Genuine reviews of your hotel boost the confidence of the guests. So take hotel reviews seriously. You should not manipulate the reviews, keep them natural even if they are not in your favor. In case you have negative reviews, take corrective actions and attend to the shortcomings. As mentioned earlier there are several websites [travel websites and OTAs] where your guests could have commented, keep a track of all these comments and reply wherever needed. Your replies count and send the signal that you take your reputation seriously.
The reputation of your hotel matters a lot when it comes to drawing more guests. 81% of the travelers check hotel reviews before making a reservation. So make sure your hotel has good reviews. In today’s digital world there are many online platforms that have information related to your hotel. Most of these are OTAs and Travel Websites. Encourage your guests to write reviews of your hotel on social media.
Influencer marketing strategy can be deployed on YouTube, Social Media and Hospitality/Travel blogs. Partner with several travel influencers and bloggers to acquire new audiences. Incorporating influencers in your videos is also a tried and tested strategy for hotel digital marketing. Influencer marketing not only improves your hotel’s popularity but also helps in SEO.
Gone are those days when tourists checked the maps for hotels or listings. Today social media has taken marketing to a different level. Online marketing can be pretty useful for a hotel business. It can aid a hotel, whether small or big, in recapturing lost revenue as well as generate more revenue. In this competitive age, it is important to stay ahead of the competitors. Most of the customers in this industry are social travelers and tourists, who prefer to spend a good number of hours online researching about the kind of places to visit, how cost effective it could be, hotels to book, and restaurants to dine in. Therefore, it’s safe to say that digital marketing has become the most viable way of getting to potential customers, establishing your brand image, as well as developing a group of regular customers. Some digital marketing services can be done in-house while some need experts, at WDSOFT we provide comprehensive digital marketing services to the hotel and hospitality industry, from website design to SEO and Social Media Promotions. Hire us and see the difference!