THREE marketing tips to boost your direct bookings

Competing with the likes of Booking.com and Trivago can be a very daunting task, particularly for SME’s in the hotel industry. The online presence of these huge booking engines seems to dominate the search rankings. But there are things you can do to improve your chances of direct bookings online. Check out our top three marketing tricks for hotels.

Make use of social media

Using the right platforms regularly and strategically and running advertising campaigns is advisable. If you don’t have a dedicated member of staff managing your social media, seriously think about employing someone. Social media isn’t something your present marketing team can simply take on and manage, along with all their other tasks.  Managing social media properly, takes time, creativity and strategy. Even just having one person run this side of things, isn’t ideal. You need to think about posting daily, relevant content, making videos (which have a much bigger impact than image posts alone). You need to consider all the channels available to you, from Facebook and Instagram to YouTube, LinkedIN and Snapchat. You also need to have someone on hand to respond to questions and feedback that you receive via social media.

After that, you need to look at your data. Details from your CRM will be the starting block for you to begin running advertising campaigns. Once you gather more details from your social ads, you can create lookalike audiences to appeal to new, potential guests. Retargeting your adverts is a very effective way of bringing potential guests back to your website too.

Get partnered with local businesses and sporting events

Brand recognition can be created through working with other businesses and through sporting events. Consider becoming a sponsoring partner of a sporting event in your area. Not only does this show that you are community minded, it also means your property will be recommended by the sporting team to fans and other partners of the event. This kind of symbiotic relationship can bring you in repeat bookings year on year.

The same could be said for partnering with local businesses. Offering discounted room rates for events like company conferences or the end of year office party helps to build a long-standing relationship. Partnering with smaller local businesses and hosting an events calendar on your website is also a great way to stay in the minds of your local community. From an SEO perspective, it’s also great because it provides an opportunity for other websites to backlink to your site – and vice versa. Fresh, new content is also key when it comes to Google – and updating your website on a once-weekly basis.

Invest in extreme convenience

Companies like Amazon have taken over the online retail market because they make life so easy for customers. Approach your booking process and your guest relations management with the same philosophy. The easier something is for guests, the more they will appreciate their stay with you. Investing in good tech can be the way forward here. A fast booking app they can download and use on their mobile is a good start. Including things like restaurant bookings, spa appointments, room service and more, is a good way to collect data on your guests too. Sending them notifications post-visit on spa discounts and offers will help keep you in their minds in case another opportunity to book a stay, arises.

Another good way to ensure convenience is to upgrade your rooms with some smart tech. These days, smart rooms include automatic lighting, curtains opening and closing on request and even an Alexa in the room for additional convenience. Guests can request local information on restaurants, events and attractions.

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