Digital marketing is crucial for the hotel industry now more than ever before. Why?
Today, 76 percent of corporate and 83 percent of leisure travel starts online, as per IPSOS Media CT and Google estimates. While this includes research and due diligence, what’s more exciting is that over 50 percent of hotel & travel bookings happen online.
However you look at it, every brand in the hospitality industry should create an actionable hotel digital marketing strategy. It’s a great way to increase conversions and bookings.
A digital strategy also helps hotel marketers stay on top of their brand awareness, customer engagement, and online presence.
In this post, we are going to walk you through how to craft a sound hotel digital marketing strategy in 5 easy steps.
First, let’s take a look at some of the most exciting stats in the hotel marketing arena:
The worldwide digital travel market is currently valued at around $756 billion and is expected to reach a little shy of $820 billion by 2020, according to Statista.
Online travel websites experience an average abandonment rate of 80.8 percent, which is the highest across 4 key sectors, including retail (76.1%), fashion (74.8%) and finance (73.55%).
39 percent of travelers love mobile apps because of their speed, while 11 percent use them primarily to get discounts and rewards, according to Google study.
94 percent of leisure travelers switch from one device to another (mostly from mobile to desktop or vice versa) when they are planning or booking a hotel or vacation, as per Google.
As per Expedia, “bleisure” now account for 43 percent of business travel. These are executive hotel guests who extend their business travel to have some leisure time.
The conversion rate for hotel industry averages at 2.2 percent, according to a recent study.
As you can see, hotel marketers have their work cut out for them, and creating the right digital marketing strategy can make a huge difference. Let’s learn how to create one.
5-Step Guide to Hotel Digital Marketing Strategy
Step 1. Create a Responsive Website to Aid your Digital Marketing Activities
You need to be found, searchable and reachable online. That’s why it is hard to imagine a hotel establishment without a functional website.
A great site is usually the first point of contact for potential customers, but it can be much more than that.
Most visitors go to hotel-finding websites and booking engines like Bookings.com, Hotels.com, TravelAdvisor.com, etc. to locate deals and discounts. Once they do, they often will try to find your website to discover more info about your hotel and perhaps get better deals.
In light of that, you need to create an impressive site that’s not only informative but also easy to navigate and use. Here are the top benefits of having an attractive hotel site:
Your site will help amplify the location of your hotel. You can take advantage of this opportunity to accentuate the features of the hotel’s location and explain to visitors why this is a must-visit place. Oftentimes that means you have to elaborate on the parks, events, and attractions near your hotel.
Let your voice be known. Booking engines are generic, to say the least. When you build your own website, you can showcase your unique style and speak to your audience in your voice and style. This is an excellent way to differentiate your hotel from the rest.
Showcase your selling points. Why should guests book with your hotel rather than your competition? A dedicated site allows you to sell your hotel’s most appealing features, whether they are amenities, location, rooms, pools, cuisine, or anything else. There’s no better way to highlight these defining aspects of your brand.
Get a handle on SEO. Search engine optimization coupled with your website makes it easy for your hotel to be found on Google. You can optimize your site’s content and pages using relevant keywords.
Step 2. Create Content
Content marketing is the in-thing right and with good reason. It enables marketers to drive quality traffic to their hotel websites, listings, and other digital assets. It’s certainly the most important strategy in hotel digital marketing.
More specifically, you need to produce high-quality and engaging types of content, especially images and descriptions. Photos, videos, and other visual content are more appealing and will get more eyeballs. On the other hand, text descriptions will help you with SEO.
Step 3. Create your Meta-Search Marketing Strategy
You need to have a strategy in place for marketing on leading hotel metasearch engines, including TripAdvisor, Google Hotel Ads, Kayak, Priceline, Trivago, and so on. Listing on these services will help not only spruce up your brand value but also improve visibility and boost bookings. After all, more than two-thirds of hotel bookings originate from the so-called Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), according to Nancy Huynh, the Senior Marketing Analyst at Digital Authority Partners.
Step 4. Online Reputation Management
You must also have a solid strategy on how to manage your reputation, ratings, and reviews online. After all, online reputation is everything to hospitality industry players. While thousands of 5-star reviews will earn you bookings, a single bad review or complaint will do more harm. Hotel marketers should have a clear roadmap and tactics for how to deal with them with little to no consequences.
You must leverage email, OTA listings, social media, blogging, and direct communication to ensure you are on top of your PR push and marketing.
Step 5. Promote on Social Media
You already have a social presence. It’s high time you develop a strategy that can help take your hotel digital marketing to the next level.
Make sure to garner has many positive reviews on Facebook as possible to instill trust and confidence in potential visitors. Don’t forget to take advantage of Facebook sales, Twitter hashtags, Instagram feeds, and social visuals to showcase the high quality of your hotel.
Social listening tools and strategies can also be instrumental in quantifying your digital marketing success. It’ll also help you figure out areas of weakness and improvement.