Nowadays, many hotels rely heavily on online travel agents (OTAs) such as Expedia, Booking.com, Zuji and many more such portals to drive bookings. However, that may not be the ideal arrangement as these OTAs require a substantial commission from each reservation. Instead, they can look to leverage on the precision of digital marketing to bypass the “middleman” and bring about greater profits from each booking. The process is simple, maintain a direct online channel (i.e. hotel website) and drive highly targeted traffic to it through digital marketing. If properly executed, this method can be very effective in driving hotel room bookings.
Of course, some may say that a website alone is enough to generate bookings. How does digital marketing fit into the equation then? Well, as an analogy in this digital age, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the technology behind the picture is definitely worth millions. Your hotel’s online presence, such as its website and social media profiles, should not just be a display of a pretty design but have the right digital marketing practices in place to attract visitors and drive revenue. Otherwise, it will mean nothing.
Today, digital technology is readily available for every type of hotel at very affordable costs. Working with a digital marketing agency in Singapore or elsewhere in the world is one of the most cost-effective ways of driving hotel bookings and increasing guest loyalty in the mid to long run. Below are a few ways you can use digital technology to drive hotel bookings via your website.
Integrate Your Website with Social Media
You cannot escape the fact that social media reigns supreme in the digital marketing world. A social media profile has become an essential online marketing tool for every type of business, hotels not exempted. Make good use of social media to push your special offers, advertise your hotel’s most attractive packages, and tell the world about events happening at your hotel. Social media alone can significantly increase your hotel bookings, especially during peak seasons.
Leverage on the Precise Reach of Major Advertising Platforms
In this modern day, web traffic can be driven from a multitude of sources (from blogs to search or social media). However, it is important to select the right platforms to leverage upon to get the right web traffic that actually converts into bookings. For a platform like Google, it allows you to target users outside of Singapore that have indicated an interest in products and services here. Facebook on the other hand allows you to target people that are away from their home country. Imagine the explosive impact if you were to combine both platforms to market your hotel. Before the digital age, marketers could only dream of reaching out to prospective customers with such precision.
Never Forgo Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Similar to any other trade, your website should be designed with search engines in mind. Owing to the fact that it is free and highly sustainable, organic traffic is definitely one of the most essentials sources of traffic you will ever have. Create a good number of pages showcasing different aspects of your establishment with well written descriptions to make it look as authoritative as possible. Also, create other constantly updatable sections (such as a news page, blog and/or press releases page) and feed them with fresh and unique content. Include meta-search functionalities such as a set up for TripAdvisor Business Page Listings, Trivago, Google Hotel Finder, Kayak etc. The more your website is found by different search engines, the higher your bookings will be.
Do Not Let Abandoned Reservations Go to Waste
When a potential guest abandons a booking, find a way to entice them to come back and complete the booking. You can do this using tailored messages or simply capturing their email address and contacting them later. You can also use remarketing campaigns to target potential guests who are still on a price-comparison mode.
Entice them to Book Directly On Your Website
Despite driving traffic directly to your official hotel website through digital marketing, a customer may very well spot your hotel’s room deals from OTAs too due to their popularity. Hence, it is always wise to come up with some “Book Direct” incentives to encourage them to make a reservation directly through your official hotel website.
Ensure that Your Website is Mobile Optimized
In this day and age, mobile marketing is at its prime. Almost everyone in Singapore owns a smartphone and most of web surfing is done through such mobile devices. As a hotelier, you cannot afford to lose potential clients visiting your website or booking portal via mobile devices. Hence, it is essential to provide the best possible user experience to website visitors regardless of whether they are viewing on a desktop, mobile, or tablet device. At present, the volume of e-commerce transactions on mobile is fast catching up with those on desktop computers in many sectors. The hotel industry is expected to follow suit sooner or later.
Use a Reliable Web Host
A long website loading time not only leads to decreased conversions (eg. reservation of rooms), but also results in lower search engine rankings. As server performance varies greatly from one hosting provider to another, you need to be careful about the one you go with. Also, it is important to pay attention to the file sizes of each page of your website. If you are unsure of this area, be sure to get in touch with your digital marketing agency for further assistance.
With so many hotels in a place like Singapore, the competition for guests is undeniably stiff. The situation is the same regardless of whether you run a top end luxury hotel or a humble backpackers’ inn. Hence, you need to exploit every opportunity out there in the market to make a sizeable profit. Digital marketing for hotel bookings, from what we see, is certainly an area with a load of potential. A marketing agency with online expertise that also specializes in the hotel and hospitality industry can be of invaluable help in kick-starting various initiatives in this area.