Top tips to market your hotel and increase direct bookings

  • Start a loyalty programme

If a large percentage of your guests are business travellers, you have the perfect opportunity to attracts repeat custom again and again. The trouble with OTAs is that they bypass the hotel in terms of customer data – and make it difficult for you to re-target your customers. A loyalty programme that offers reduce room rates and points that can be redeemed against their stay, is a good way to keep guests coming back. Better still, a B2B loyalty programme that targets business interests in your property’s area is another great way to ensure repeat custom.

  • Maximise your digital advertising

Take a good look at your CRM system and your guest demographics. Then translate that information and create online campaigns to target your trending demographics. Collect data from your ads and constantly tweak the campaign demographics to reflect the information you are collecting. The result will be super-targeted ads and lookalike audiences that attract more like-minded visitors to your website and social media. Increased brand awareness does equal increased footfall and business

  • Fresh content online

Keep your website and social media up to date with fresh content. Nothing says inefficient more than an events calendar with entries that were over months ago. An unused blog is another indicator of a neglected website. Google favours the updated – so new content keeps your website ranking well. It also looks much more confident and proficient to your potential guests too. The same goes for your social media. Keep the posts up – share your news and communicate with your social audience. Offers and giveaways, incentives and new deals can all be shared to increase traffic to your website.

  • Run a tight campaign

If you don’t have a dedicated digital marketer looking after the online welfare of your property, you are on a losing wicket. It’s essential to take the online presence and the state of your website and content seriously. A content calendar and advertising strategies need to be in place, as well as someone who is qualified to read the data and analyse just how well your online campaigns are doing. This can’t be added to the duties of an already busy marketing manager because quite frankly, the job is too big. It’s a full-time position, and it needs to be considered your priority. OTAs are massively successful and are taking your bookings because their online presence is so strong. They have the capital and the means to outstrip you in online advertising. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the better of them through clever use of social media and carefully targeted campaigns.

  • Make your property visual online

Good images of your hotel property are essential. But visually and audience-wise, video content is gold. Invest in a good video walkthrough of your property. Introduce key staff. Make your hotel stand out by showing off its personality. Stunning pictures of rooms are one thing – but a video story is a whole different experience for your audience. Make a habit of using video content as part of your online strategy, whether it be for advertising your events calendar or simply showing people how your hotel works and how the staff interacts on a daily basis. Virtual tours are also extremely popular – and easy to produce. Set aside a budget for video content as part of your advertising strategy.

  • Use SEO

Don’t just blindly add content to your website and expect it to rise in ranking. Invest in decent SEO service to boost your search engine positioning. The hotel industry is struggling because direct bookings are falling and OTAs are taking more and more business and commissions. Very often, hotel websites don’t get pulled up in the searches – even when the property name is typed in exactly. This is because OTA booking engines are so vast, that their sheer size means Google gives them a priority. Your website needs to be robust and as strong as possible to content in organic searches. An SEO service will ensure everything is optimized as much as possible to get you where you need to be.

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