In 2012, international tourism has witnessed considerable growth in both arrivals and expenditure. According to World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), 2012 had registered a record of over 1 billion overnight visitors  – a 4% increase from 2011 in the same period of January – August . Furthermore, the UNWTO forecasts steady results for 2013 ( 2% – 4% growth).
The budget spent on international travelling has risen similarly. Chinese tourists hold the first position with 40% more spending than in 2011, making them a valuable target for hotel industry. European markets also saw growth in expenditure since last year, coming from Austria (16% more), Switzerland (13% more), Belgium (11% more) and Norway (11% more).
In fact, foreign guests in general have characteristics that make them attractive for hotels. A look at EU’s statistics from 2000 to 2011  shows that, with very few exceptions, foreign guests stay longer than the local tourists. The average stay of local tourists in 2011 in the EU-based hotels was of 2,14 nights, while foreign travelers scored a 3,2 nights stay , with some countries such as Cyprus or Malta recording an average of over 6 nights for foreign tourists.
Not only is the stay longer, but also the budgets travelers allocate when going abroad are more generous. The further away their destination is, the earlier they book and the chances of cancelling decrease accordingly. This means many potential guests will research accommodation options online – and that’s where your hotel needs to be!
In the following, we will present some of the most efficient online marketing channels your hotel can use in targeting international guests:
Search engine optimization (SEO). In order to be efficiently localized by your users, you need first to settle for the exact guest segments you wish to approach and see what search paradigms they generate. The most used terms on the market you are targeting can be easily identified using online tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Tool. A multilingual SEO approach will help your website gain a good ranking when users search in several languages on one search engine or when they use other major search engines of their respective countries. After the optimization on the chosen keywords, choose the key performance indicators that will help you evaluate the performance. A relevant indicator could be the website traffic driven by foreign users or the amount of reservations they make.
Pay-per-Click Campaigns are a good way to make your hotel deals known in a short amount of time. This channel is particularly prone to precise targeting. Use the country and language options when configuring the campaigns and set them accordingly. Make sure to translate the ads in the native language of your potential guests. The result will be visible when looking at the amount of generated bookings, as well as the occupancy rate with foreign travelers!
Email marketing is a channel that allows you to develop strategies for customer acquisition and retention in many languages by adapting the communication campaigns according to the country and language of your desired guests. Call on the services of a professional translator or a hotel marketing agency that handles such requests. Language, city, country – these can be your segmentation criteria for targeting guests and are easy to manage, especially if you adapt the content of your e-mails accordingly.
Mobile strategy. Establish a coherent mobile strategy for your business. For instance, Asian travelers are amidst an important growth in mobile shopping and are likely to prefer this channel. If you provide a memorable mobile experience for these travelers, they can become your hotel’s loyal guests.
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest). Use these social media networks to communicate special deals. Again, don’t forget to adapt the message to the language of your targeted guests. International travelers are researching certain types of data about your hotel on social media. Photographs are one aspect they are interested in and can become an important differentiator from competition. The same applies to video materials and virtual tours.
Local attractions. International travellers will research local attractions which they want to visit. By establishing partnerships with attraction events and organizations, you will bring further visibility to your hotel. The latter can be a recommended place to stay by the local events bringing in international audiences.
In order to evaluate the performance of your hotel’s online marketing strategies in attracting international travelers, make sure you employ a web analytics tool to check how many website visitors come from each country/ by each language and how many actually book. Then compare the conversion rate according to language and country and constantly adapt the reservation process.
If you are planning to employ these strategies to attract foreign travelers or have ongoing activities in this sense and want to find out more, drop us a line with your inquiry and a member of the team will get back to you in 24 hours.