Online marketing has become a powerful tool in building brand reputation. As a first step, it can do wonders in creating a buzz around the smallest of businesses. However, it’s not just about creating the visibility.
Online marketing ultimately has to bring in clients and this means developing long term perspectives and strategies. This article will discuss online marketing as means to generate conversions in the hotel industry. Not just traffic, not just visit-to-inquiry, but visit-to-…booking!
How can you get a high conversion rate through online marketing?
Before thinking about activities, let’s lay down 3 crucial conditions:
- Targeting the right travelers in a perfect time and space context
- Developing a strong relationship with customers
- Improving the hotel findability on major search engines
There are 3 tactics to best approach these conditions: Paid Ads (Pay-per-Click on Google Adwords, Facebook, Linkedin etc), E-mail marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Paid ads campaigns for hotels
The benefits with paid ads campaigns stand in their flexible and experimental approach. Firstly, they are more affordable than offline advertising. Businesses of all sizes and revenues can bet a budget that fits their financial possibilities. Of course, the bigger the amount, the wider the reach, but here the PPC has a great advantage: it allows a very exact targeting of audience.
Therefore an intelligent ad campaign brings qualified visits that can easily be converted into bookings. Last but not least, with PPC ads you can learn by doing – explore more targets (example: B2B, B2C), as well as change ads copywriting and design with each new campaign.
Email marketing for hotels
E-mail marketing facilitates a more personal relationship with the customers. The latter have agreed or even specifically desired to be contacted by the hotel (they signed up for the newsletter, they created an account, they have made previous reservations etc).
The first step in capitalizing these contacts is to start a list building program, thus growing a database to send regular e-mail campaigns to. Sending meaningful content with a visually attractive design, tailored to the recipient’s interests, offering exclusive promotions for subscribers, running competitions – all these have an amazing impact on generating buying actions. Furthermore, they are effectively measured by analyzing the open rate, click through rate and number of orders generated per campaign etc.
Of course, this all makes the relationship with the prospects even more delicate. Cautions may refer to spamming, creating the wrong content or design, using an inappropriate style etc. One lumpy element can result in immediate unsubscribing, which is why most e-mail marketing campaigns are run by professionals while still maintaining affordable budgets.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is a handy tactic for the hotel business as it paves the way for users to find the site and experience a smooth exploration of it while there. Perhaps one of the most important things for a hotel is to rank as high as possible in search engines.
Try to imagine a user’s experience. How does he stumble on your hotel’s site? Is there an adequate search optimization for your brand? Of course, online presence on several OTA-s can guarantee constant traffic on your own site. Nevertheless, most users that find you there will eventually look your hotel up on the official site in order to learn about any promotional offers or simply check with the source. This is why many independent hotels lose significant traffic from the start: they do nothing about optimizing their presence on search engines like Google.
Choosing the most powerful and relevant keywords, having a smart link building strategy, optimizing your mobile presence, integrating social SEO ideas: are these your biggest concerns?
The above detailed online marketing channels hold acknowledged results in generating conversions, each adding its own value to a successful business. Practice shows that a judicious mix of channels brings more financial rewards. How the perfect mix is chosen is a matter of practice and knowledge of the hotel industry, as well as a matter of interpreting a hotel’s online activity history.