Inspire trust and confidence in visitors booking your hotel through your hotel online marketing activities.
In an industry built on word of mouth, repeat business and referrals, accommodation facilities cannot afford to put a virtual step wrong when it comes to hotel online marketing. Customers book hotels they trust and they keep on coming back to these same places time and time again. Here are 10 ways to build an online community, promote a culture of openness and transparency and foster brand loyalty.
Social media marketing
Establishing an online presence is a great way for hotels to build a community and bridge the distance between the customer and the management team. With social media marketing, you can start a rich dialogue with customers, interact with them one-on-one in real time and inspire trust in your hotel property. For social media networking to achieve the optimum results, accounts need to be monitored and updated regularly.
This is very much an under-utilised but very successful hotel online marketing tool to position your hotel brand in the marketplace as trustworthy and credible. By opening up comments to visitors and responding promptly to feedback, you can start to build a strong network that can be strengthened both online and offline. Bill Marriott, Chairman & CEO of Marriott International blogs regularly about goings on at the global hotel chain.
Online Reputation Marketing
As social media continues to grow in influence on traveller’s decisions booking hotels, it is important for a hotel internet marketing team to focus on online reputation management. There needs to be a procedure in place for internet marketing teams to know when and how to respond to negative hotel reviews. Reviews can make or break a hotel so it’s important to monitor what is being said about your company in cyberspace.
Build trust and decrease customer attrition with VIP schemes designed to increase return visitors and reward customers for their brand loyalty. Special member offers can spike demand for hotel rooms, boost vacancy rates in off peak periods and acknowledge travellers who are spending more money at your hotel. You can have programs targeted at different groups such as business and leisure travellers.
Displaying positive reviews of your hotel on every page of your site is a great way to establish your hotel as a quality accommodation choice. With testimonial marketing, you need to ask a person’s permission before you can use it on your offline or online marketing materials. Most people who have written a positive review will be happy to do this. You can source testimonials through the following ways:
- asking for testimonials from travellers who have stayed at your hotel
- inviting journalists to review your hotel
- offering free accommodation to influential people in the community in return for an unbiased review
- asking for testimonials from members of the hotel industry such as community experts and local authorities
- requesting testimonials from vendors and suppliers
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is also an important consideration for hotel online marketing teams. Places Pages are merged with organic search results on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) when people look for a hotel in a particular city or region. In general people looking for accommodation believe that hotels ranked higher in Search Engine results are of a higher quality than a hotel further down the rankings.
Link building activities are an important part of SEO as Search Engines see quality back links to your site as a validation that your hotel website is of high value. Likewise, when your hotel online marketing team are participating on forums, commenting or writing guests posts for industry blogs and so forth, it also helps in positioning them as industry experts and enhancing the credibility of your establishment.
Quality website design
For people searching for hotels via Search Engines, the design quality is a big trust factor and may be the very first impression that they receive of your hotel. With a lot of other businesses competing for their travel dollar such as your competitors, travel agencies and travel portals, they will go elsewhere if the website is not seen as trustworthy. Certain design elements helps your site look more credible such as:
- quality copywriting (see below)
- integrated secure online booking engines
- multiple forms of contact (see below)
- about us pages
- testimonials/reviews (see above)
- partners and affiliations
- terms and conditions and cancellation policy
- privacy statements
Copywriting is also an important role of hotel internet marketing teams. High Search Engine visibility will drive traffic to websites but quality copywriting combined with great design will help convert visitors. People are more likely to return to a site which has fresh, original and continually updated material. Content should be checked regularly to ensure there is no outdated copy on the site such as events which have already run.
Multiple forms of contact
Booking travel can often be last minute and it can be very frustrating if you cannot speak to a real person on the phone. Customers will feel more comfortable with booking your hotel if they are given multiple forms of contact. Some people will prefer to ring your hotel directly, others will be happier to write an email or fill out a contact form. For travellers on the go, having a click-to-call option on a hotel mobile website is essential.
Internet marketing strategies are often the first point of contact that a customer has with your hotel. Your website is often the bridge between these campaigns and conversion. It is important to capitalise on these campaigns and earn the trust of travellers. At Hotel Internet Marketing, we have a proven record in working with leading hotel brands to improve their conversion rates through hotel online marketing.