In the hospitality industry, the guest experience is about more than you might think – in fact, it is a key element of your hotel marketing strategy.
Yet the basics are important: a clean, spacious room, amenities and resources, and a good night sleep. But there is more to the experience than just a stay. But guest experience actually begins before your customer even sets foot in your hotel. It starts during the research and booking phase of the visit. Booking straddles the lines of guest experience and sales. A good experience will surely lead to higher revenues.
The proliferation of third-party online hotel booking systems makes it a bit harder these days for hotels to control their guests’ research and booking experience. But most hotels also provide direct booking on their own web page. This direct booking provides a great opportunity to design a positive guest experience and hopefully boost sales.
Integrating direct booking your approach
According to a recent piece in Hotel Management magazine, direct booking campaigns pay dividends. It’s no surprise why these campaigns have become a large component of hotel marketing over the past few years. According to the study conducted by Kalibri Labs, such campaigns result in effective loyalty programs and increased booking revenue.
Evidently, the benefits of these investments exceed the costs. What could be causing these phenomena? The answer likely lies in the realm of consumer psychology. Rather than simply wanting the lowest fares, many customers respond positively to an engaging and educational research experience. Many customers are not familiar with an area and a branded experience with resources to make them feel comfortable will likely result in better bookings. A positive guest experience begins in the planning stage and continues throughout the stay. This means blending real and digital amenities.
Realizing an effective hotel marketing strategy
The hotel sector is in constant flux, the objectives identified could be obsolete and or convenient tomorrow. These do not only include internal changes, but also those due to the social, political and economic environment. As such, any hotel marketing strategy should be a roadmap indicating actions and strategies to complete in the short, middle and long term.
Therefore, management has to pay attention to what happens in the external environment and take attempt to take predictive measures. As such, your marketing strategy should be a living document that constantly changes, revises and focuses on what is happening outside. Management should regularly monitor the competition and wider sector, paying attention to trends and making comparisons. Furthermore, they should organize periodic, comprehensive staff meeting to explain and define the parameters.
Remember, it is not the scale of an idea that counts, but the quality. After all, every hotelier faces new challenges associated with selling rooms, responding to guests’ needs, and reaching their revenue targets. No matter the internal structure of an organization, whether it is physical dimensions or number of properties, or if it opened recently or is a hospitality institution, they all have common goals.
These goals are not met by chance; they require a well-researched, comprehensive marketing strategy. This plan needs to be in line with business objectives, ensuring the marketing plan fits with operational processes. It needs to be constantly subject to review, shifting depending on hotel performance reports. Your strategy should only be considered successful when there is evidence of real improvement and profits are quantified. Furthermore, it is important to remember that developing a successful strategy is a collaborative process. It is essential to listen to everyone’s opinions, including customers and staff.
Specific tips to drive direct bookings
Once you have established a theoretical approach, it is time to implement some practical steps. We have compiled some tips below to help you get your direct booking strategy up and running. If you follow these steps, you’re on the right track to competing with the third-party booking systems vying for your guests.
1. Renovate your website
Your website really is the core of your digital strategy – and like your hotel itself, it occasionally needs some renovation and improvement. With modern technology, you can easily integrate high-quality content affordably into your page design. We suggest using multimedia tools like video tours of room and amenities, 360 panoramic views, and a room-selector feature. Many of these resources are not available on third-party sites.
2. Optimize for mobile use
A good website is perfect for a user browsing on their computer. But the fact is that nowadays millions of people prefer mobile web browsing even for commerce and travel booking. We recommend optimizing your web page for mobile booking and launching a booking app. Many big chains already offer user-friendly, branded apps. Business clients who book frequently will surely love this feature.
3. Search engine optimize
In the 21st century, almost all marketing contains a little bit of search engine optimization. Because so many travelers use search engines to find accommodations, you have got to be findable on these tools. There are several ways to increase your search engine performance. For example, optimizing for mobile browsing is rewarded by search engines like Google. Similarly, including a meta description and tags on your web site is an important initial step. You can also use pay-per-click advertising, in which you pay a small price to Google only when searchers click on your add.
4. Leverage your hidden data
With direct booking, you gain ownership to more complete customer data. You know what search terms lead to the sale, how long they spent on a page, and most importantly, you get to review demographic data about your customers. This will all assist you in marketing your direct booking service and brand generally.
Direct bookings: A universal goal
Boosting direct bookings has become a universal goal for hotels of all sizes. It is a terrific way to increase revenues and improve your brand while creating a robust hotel marketing strategy. With competition for customers growing, designing and maintaining an attractive, mobile-optimized direct booking portal gives you the edge you need to win back revenues from online travel agencies. Show your guests that you care about their entire experience, right from research to check out.