Online Marketing on a Shoestring Budget – Part Two

Maximise your exposure with your online marketing campaigns for a minimum outlay.

In part one of our Online Marketing on a Shoestring Budget series we touched on five economical strategies for all types of hotels from small establishments to global chains to encourage repeat visits, increase occupancy rates and boost bookings and online revenue. Cheap doesn’t have to mean cheap and nasty – here are just five more ways you can enhance your bottom line in part two of our article.

Online reputation management

According to the OTX (now called Ipsos) – “The Traveler’s Road to Decision” study done on behalf of Google, 41% of people surveyed make leisure travel plans and 50% make business travel plans according to the reviews they read. There are many free and premium tools available for online reputation management (ORM). Google Alerts is a great starting point for small hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Online marketing tip: With so many travellers basing their travel decisions on reviews, it’s critical that a hotel knows what is being said about it online and how to respond to negative and positive reviews.

Google Places Pages

Just by optimising your Google Places Page will put you several steps in front of the competition who may not even be aware of what a Google Place Page is. With the introduction of Place Search late last year Google Place Pages started to blend with organic listings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), making hotel SEO even more significant for internet marketing teams to reach the local market.

Online marketing tip: Once you have claimed your page, you can add new videos and images, seasonal menus, special offers and deals and so forth to optimise it.

Social Media

Social media marketing is another way that small online marketing teams can capitalise on resources without any initial outlay. Consumer-facing social media networks relevant to the hotel and tourism industry include Twitter, Facebook, foursquare, Google+ Business Pages and so forth. You can build relationships with new and existing customers, enhance brand awareness and drive traffic to your main sales funnel: your hotel website.

Online marketing tip: You can post videos and images of your hotel, offer special deals, stimulate discussions and respond to feedback with the end goal to improve traffic to your website and increase your conversion rate – read our article on Hotel Website Designers about Facebook – Hotel Marketing Tips.

Article marketing

Article marketing is another free online marketing tool you can use in several different ways. By syndicating articles or writing guest posts on respected industry blogs, you can position your hotel staff as industry experts and shape your online reputation as well as drive pre-qualified traffic to your site. As a link building activity you can boost the Search Engine visibility by including a link to your website when you post articles.

Online marketing tip: Choose directories or industry blogs for article submission very wisely. The websites need to be quality, credible and trustworthy as well as relevant to the hotel and tourism industry.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytics and free online marketing tools readily available on the internet. You can use these reports to tweak your marketing strategies and plan your next promotional campaign as well as see how people are using your site and for how long. You can also monitor and assess your keyword strategy and find out who are the highest referrers of traffic to your hotel website.

Online marketing tip: You can set up a filter so Google knows not to include traffic from your company network, your SEO company or other affiliated sites so they do not skew your research data.

This is part two in our Online Marketing on a Shoestring Budget series. These marketing ideas may be a cost to a hotel in terms of time and resources but if you’re willing to put in the hard work, they can bring huge rewards to a small to medium sized establishment. Contact our consultants at Hotel Internet Marketing to help you put together a comprehensive online marketing strategy to increase your hotel occupancy rate and boost conversions.

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