A recent survey by the marketing production company Vistaprint, reveals that small hotels are leading the way when it comes to digital capabilities.
The company, which creates marketing products and provides services to businesses, carried out research on a cross-section of UK industries making use of digital marketing trends. According to their results, small hotel owners are the most marketing savvy when it comes to digital and online strategy. Approximately 68% of small hotels have a website, while 61% make good use of social media to promote their business.
The news comes as leading hoteliers advise businesses to ‘up their game’ in terms of the digital revolution. They advise this as a strategy to increase the numbers of direct bookings, rather than bookings made by online travel agencies such as Booking.com. In recent years, the hotel industry has suffered as a result of a dependence on OTAs. A fall in direct bookings, high commissions and a monopoly on online bookings, has led many chains and individual hotels to suffer from financial loss.
Hotel web marketing
However, small businesses are now fighting back by improving their digital presence, making use of the latest technology to wow guests. They are also finding ways to market their hotels in a unique manner.
Alfredo Ramos, senior director of Vistaprint digital products, says; “With so many UK consumers discovering small businesses online, there’s simply no reason not to have a presence on the web.” He adds; “It’s encouraging to see that hotel owners are leading the way in digital capability, but a significant number are yet to make the leap.”
Hotel online presence
Hotel websites must compete with booking engines – which have huge ranking strength. This means small businesses must employ other means to get their online presence noticed. Savvy digital ad campaigns, partnering with local businesses and running local events calendars on websites, all help to generate fresh content and better connections online. Meanwhile, websites are also becoming more user-friendly, with options for video walk-throughs of the hotels, spa treatments and restaurant bookings via the main website and mobile technology to increase convenience for guests.
Social media marketing
Making sure hotels have a visible presence on social media is also helping SMEs in the hotel industry to increase their direct bookings. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook allow for interaction with followers and fans. Varied mediums for content, such as image, video, live-stream and Stories features, help to generate a buzz when it comes to the hotel’s identity. Furthermore, making use of re-targeted advertising is another excellent way to drive interest back to websites again and again.
Unique selling points
Small hotels are trying to be different. Whether it be providing an Alexa in every room, or smart environmental features, such as lighting, curtains and air-conditioning. Offering something out of the ordinary appeals to guests and sets properties apart. Just recently, the UK’s very first entirely vegan hotel opened in Scotland. This is a brave move considering the region is generally known for sports such a salmon fishing and hunting. However, the wildlife is also a huge draw – and advocates of the vegan lifestyle now have a property that caters to their needs.