In today’s competitive hospitality industry, hoteliers are struggling to get direct bookings with online travel agencies (OTAs) taking such a large chunk of their business.
Hotels – especially small hotels – need to have a multi-channel digital marketing strategy to reduce heavy reliance on the OTAs. There are various channels for hotels to sell their rooms. However, a hotel’s own website and booking engine provide the greatest control over its brand positioning, image, rate, and margins.
How Hotels Can Increase Direct Website Traffic:
1. Provide the Best Available Rate on Hotel Site
The best prices available online should be on the hotel site – not on an OTA’s site. Allowing other sites to provide lower booking rates puts the hotel at a competitive disadvantage.
2. Reward your Customers for their Loyalty
Rather than lowering and increasing your prices depending on season or offering huge discounts when the occupancy is low, offering special promotions to returning customers or to other deserving customers on the hotel’s booking engine will increase loyalty and brand perception.
3. Optimize Hotel Website
The Hotel’s website should reflect the experience customers will have when going to the hotel. The website must also provide easy navigation, engaging photos, and relevant content to increase conversations.
4. Create Backlinks to Hotel Site
Listing the basic contact information and URL on relevant websites will generate more traffic to the hotel site. Two sites hoteliers can not forget to list their hotels on are Google+ and TripAdvisor.
5. Don’t Forget Social Backlinks
Hotels that have interactive pages on social media websites open up a different channel of marketing. Social media allows hoteliers to speak to customers and market special offers at a low cost. The interactive customer service experienced on social media results in consumers feeling appreciated and valued.
6. Leverage Niche
Many hotels focus strongly on location search results like “Hotels in San Francisco” that can be extremely competitive and expensive. Instead, hotels can focus on their niche like “Hotels with free breakfast in La Jolla, “ or “Hotel pool party in Palm Springs.”
7. Speak to Customers in Multiple Languages
This will speak to a wider range of people and boost perception of the hotel.
8. Optimize for Mobile Devices
Mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) are here to stay! If hotel sites are not optimized for mobile devices, many consumers will abandon the site.
“According to Google studies, 40% of leisure travelers and 36% of business travelers book using their mobile devices. In a study conducted by GuestCentric with over 300 hotels, a whopping 60% of smartphone bookings were for same night or next night stay.”
9. Transfer Offline Content to Hotel Site
It begins by simply asking your guests what information would have helped prepare for their trips or what could have enhanced their trips.The answers to these questions will give hoteliers knowledge to use in improving customer service and targeting other travelers through online posts.
10. Do NOT Forget to Label Images Properly
Since many travelers look at a hotel’s website or browse through an image search before booking a room, hoteliers must properly title their images to ensure that the hotel will be seen.
Today, there are ways for independent hotels to mark their online territories like big hotel chains. Following the ten simple measures to increase hotel’s website traffic will change the online positioning of independent hotels and reduce the reliance that hoteliers currently have on OTAs.