When customers are planning a short getaway or long vacation, how do they decide which hotel to book? With today’s wide variety of platforms and websites, it’s no wonder why booking customers would feel perplexed by the sheer diversity of hotels offered at destination. With over 82,000 hotels and inns registered in Japan, guests are likely to find something appealing but due to the sheer diversity of accommodations to choose from, they’re probably also thinking which one would be the best option. Should they keep an eye out for hotels that have the most positive reviews or the ones that aren’t as popular but have been heavily promoted by ads or social media?
With the rise of the age of technology, web presence is seen as mandatory and many businesses have to consider how to promote their product in a way that is appealing to their consumers. This is where digital marketing comes into play.
Digital marketing is, as the name suggests, the use of online-based technology to promote a product or service. It has diverged into different forms such as interaction through social media, ads being present on different websites and platforms, and search engine optimization, to name a few.
It goes without question that hotels make no exception and they also have to pay close attention to their digital marketing strategies. The strategies play big significance especially when bearing in mind that it’s an effective approach to attract new guests. Even more so, the correct engagement and digital marketing strategies help in fostering a loyal customer base.
In brief, digital marketing for hotels means establishing the hotel’s presence in the online space and maintaining its presence. This is especially important since online bookings occupy a large percentage of the total number of hotel bookings. Although different sources indicate different numbers, what is unanimous is that more than half of all bookings are been made online.
Let’s explore some digital marketing strategies and solutions for hotels:
Guests look at a hotel’s website prior to booking so this is the first and best opportunity to show them what they can expect. The importance of a hotel’s website shouldn’t be downplayed, as rich visual content and description are often linked to brand engagement; they also help showcase the experiences that the hotel can offer. Don’t forget that in addition to an attractive website, it’s best to have a mobile-friendly page too. In 2018 alone, over 82% of hotel bookings were made online (Statista).
When a potential guest is searching for hotels in a specific city, they are most likely looking at the first few results that show up. A hotel has to maintain a leading position on search engines to be visible and discoverable by guests. Search engine optimization (SEO) is required on the hotel’s behalf so that guests can search and discover that hotel. Executing an effective SEO strategy improves the ranking of a hotel’s website on search engines.
Similarly, the presence and visibility of hotels on online travel agents (OTAs) plays an important role. Hotel ratings and information are listed there and can have critical impacts on the decision-making process of potential guests. The presence of a hotel on search engines is not only essential to be seen by potential guests, but also aids considerably in adding value to a hotel’s brand popularity through OTAs too.
Online ads either on search engines, social media, or travel websites can additionally boost a hotel’s popularity and increase its chances in potential guests seeing the advertisement then booking for that accommodation. Retargeting ads are especially useful as they are specifically targeted at people who have visited the hotel’s website before, increasing the chances of booking it.
Another significant growth factor to a hotel’s online presence and interaction is via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and others. Showcasing the best of what your hotel offers them and engaging with your audience can prove to be a strong pull factor.
More importantly, guests are well proven to be a factor in advocating and promoting a hotel if they are happy with their stay. When people post on social networks using geolocalize to tag the location, this provides free advertising. If your social media accounts are good, you’ll leave a positive impression to the people who click on that tag and come to your page.Pictures and reviews to describe their overall experience to the public is a great way to reach more potential clients. Responding to inquiries, comments and complaints are just as important for your online reputation.
Influencer marketing for hotels is one of the latest trends and another strong factor in social media advocating. Despite being relatively new, it has proven to be a successful digital marketing approach. Many hotels partner with influencers in return for promotional posts that help advertise and attract more guests. A satisfied influencer would likely share the full experience from start to end via various social media channels, helping a potential guest relate to them.
What does the future look like for hotels and digital marketing? This is a question that has no clear answer due to the ever-changing nature of the digital world, but it’s safe to assume that digital marketing is here to stay. It has become an inseparable part of hotels’ marketing plans that occupies a leading role in hotel revenue generation.