Getting your hotel to stand out from the competition can be difficult, especially if you’re in a big city with dozens of other options. There are plenty of different places to choose from that all offer different features and perks. So, how will the customer decide which one to book with?
The biggest way that hotels make their presence known now is through the internet. Most of us start with an online search when we are planning to travel. We look at hotels that are close to the attractions that we are attending or to the business that we are traveling for.
Price range and star rating are also factors that come into play when we decide on which hotel to stay in. There may be some features that you’re willing to pay more for, like a hotel within walking distance to an attraction.
Depending on the reason that you are traveling, you may be looking for different amenities. If you’re traveling for business, free Wifi is probably a “must.” If you’re on a romantic vacation, maybe you are prioritizing a beautiful view or a cool rooftop bar.
But, before travelers can even consider if your hotel is the one for them, you have to make sure that your hotel is showing up in these searches. If someone searches “Hotels in San Francisco” and they get results for 20 hotels but yours isn’t included, they will start narrowing down their choices without even knowing that you exist.
To prevent your hotel from being overlooked, here are five tricks to improve your hotel’s presence:
- Retarget Right
Many businesses use ads to retarget customers who have shown an interest in their product or products like it. Unfortunately, consumers are starting to notice and many of them are getting annoyed. It is estimated that about 30% of internet users use ad blockers now.
According to this guide to data driven marketing, retargeting ads can be so effective when done right. But, how can you use them in a way that won’t push your customers to get run an ad blocker?
First, make these ads relevant and interesting. Just because they’ve already shown an interest in your hotel doesn’t mean you can phone it in with the retargeted ads. Second, code your booking page to stop sending these ads if the person has booked a stay. If they keep seeing ads after they’ve booked, the ad is essentially pointless and will probably irritate your customers.
- Work with OTAs
Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Expedia or Trivago can be both good and bad for your business depending on what you hope to achieve. Some smaller boutique or luxury hotels may be frustrated with the commission that OTAs take from sales. But, a positive relationship with an OTA can significantly boost the number of bookings at your hotel.
OTAs are able to put your name in front of customers that might not find you otherwise. In other words, OTAs can increase your audience reach. When your hotel is listed on one of these sites with great reviews and a nice low price, you’re likely to beat out your competitors for the sale.
- Create Professional Content
When it comes to creating content that promotes your hotel, pictures may be even more important than written content. I don’t know about you, but if I went to a hotel website and was only able to read a description of the room, I’d be very suspicious about the quality of it.
According to Digital Authority Partners, you need professional photos of your hotel. Low-quality pictures will make your hotel seem cheap or make your website seem outdated. High-quality pictures that compliment the best features of your hotel (like stunning views or luxury rooms) will make it easy for potential customers to picture themselves there.
Not only will these pictures be featured on your site, but the search engines will use them and OTAs will too. Hiring a professional to take your pictures will really set you up for success.
- Encourage and Respond to Reviews
We know that good reviews are great for businesses. Consumers trust their peers more than they trust a marketing department. But, for hotels, reviews not only bring in new business but create a higher demand for your rooms.
A study was done to evaluate the effects of a four-star rating rising to a five-star rating. They found that demand increased by 25% and hotels were even able to increase the price of rooms by 9%. Not only do more people want to stay at your hotel when they see great ratings, but they’re willing to pay more for it too.
Encourage your guests to leave reviews by offering incentives like a credit for the minibar or late checkout. If they leave a positive review, reply with a comment to thank them. If they leave a negative review, use it as an opportunity to gain feedback and discuss how the situation could be resolved. When potential new customers read these reviews, they will be encouraged by the friendliness of your staff.
- Engage in Social Listening
Social listening is a phrase that means you search for and read any posts, reviews, or mentions of your business on social media. This practice allows you to do more than just get a pulse on your customers’ experience. It helps you to grow as a brand and establish relationships with your customers.
This could simply mean responding to positive posts to say thanks. Sharing images or positive reviews on your own page also shows customers that you care about what they have to say.
If you find a negative post, you can apologize and offer a solution. Negative mentions also create opportunities for you to find out how you can better serve customers in the future.
No matter if the social media mention is good or bad, you can use it to better your brand image and build loyalty with your customers.
Web searches, OTAs, and social media are the main sources of information for consumers when they consider which hotel to stay in. Take control of the way that your hotel is presented by engaging with customers, creating quality content, and building mutually beneficial relationships with OTAs.
To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.