The online travel industry is growing steadily. Did you know that online travel sales have generated more than 560 billion US dollars? By 2020, this figure is projected to grow beyond 800 billion US dollars. Additionally, according to Statista, there are more than 60 million people in the US only, who managed their travel reservations online during 2016.
If you want to have a hotel you own or manage to become part of this industry, you will have to build a strong online presence with the help of digital marketing. Digital marketing in the hotel industry is not a brand new thing. Many hotels are already using it to cut through the noise and reach their target audience.
Here are the top 5 things you need to know in hotel digital marketing.
SEO Plays a Huge Role
Search engine optimization (SEO), should be ever present in your hotel digital marketing strategy. Why? Because SEO produces best results in the long term, and is the only thing that can help you significantly increase the visibility of your hotel.
You should know that SEO doesn't only revolve around making content and uploading it to your blog. In fact, today, SEO is so much more. You will have to get your website architecture checked, improve its usability and loading speed, and so on. There are so many things to do that you are going to have to employ a professional to do it. If you want to keep yourself updated about the latest changes in the field, feel free to check Moz whiteboard friday posts. They share all the SEO news you will ever need.
Your Website Is Still Important
Having a website has never been more important in the hotel industry than it is today. Since the amount of online bookings is exponentially growing, your website has to be kept up to date. And, of course, this has to be a continuous effort. What is most important when you want to take proper care of your hotel website? Well, simply put, you have to address all the aspects of your users' experience. Those are website speed, usability, layout, typefaces, colors, and more. There is one thing that is more important than everything else, and it is a responsive design. Half of all Internet surfers use smartphones, and you have to make sure that your website is completely mobile ready. Pay special attention to your website menus, landing pages, call to actions, and forms.
Chatbots Can Help You Out
If you haven't heard, chatbots are this huge IT trend. People are finding numerous applications for them in all sorts of industries, and the hotel industry is no exemption. Chatbots are, simply put, programs - a piece of software that uses natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to communicate with humans. How can they help your hotel? You can easily integrate them in any communication channel and provide a delightful and nonstop accessible service. They can also be set up for booking so that your guests can do so on the go from their smartphones whenever they want to. This quick booking option is quite convenient when you know that 65% of tourists book hotels from their smartphones.
Not only that you will get a free word of mouth marketing boost due to the excellent service, but a chatbot integrated to your live chat channel on your official website will increase the time spent per visitor thus boosting your website ranking in search engine result pages (SERPS).
Smart use of Social Media
Social media marketing is an important link in the hotel digital marketing chain. A lot of travelers love to share their opinions, experiences, and pictures online. Beside popular booking websites, they also do it on social media platforms. With proper tools, you will be able to listen to what's going on on social media and make improvements to keep your guests satisfied. Social media paid ads are also a viable option. A majority of these platforms look at travel businesses as their valuable advertising customers. Facebook has even announced Trip Consideration; an option that will allow you to target specific customers, basing your marketing campaign on their behavior on Instagram and Facebook.
Web Based Hotel PMS
Property management systems are recognized as powerful software solutions by many entrepreneurs in the hotel industry. While this software can help you improve your organization from the inside, it can also help you make your improvements become clearly visible from the outside.
For instance, the most modern cloud based hotel management software enables your guests to make reservations online. A single screen and mobile-ready reservation option will astonish your customers and help you increase your visibility online. A quality PMS has many great benefits for your website visitors. As one example, we can view real-time bookings. Having the ability to check the availability at any time and book on the spot is the definition of user-friendliness when it comes to hotel management. Moving on, you can also provide special packages to your returning customers, at rates they can hardly find on other travel agencies' websites.
Hotel digital marketing is all about building an online presence that offers a great user experience to potential customers by putting your money into smart and highly targeted advertising. In the end, PPC marketing can also be of use, if you want to get quick results and boost awareness about your promotions, last minute options and other special deals.