The more website traffic you get, the more clients book rooms directly. Such guests are more profitable, because, this way, OTAs do not receive commissions from the bookings. There is at least a dozen ways to reach guests. This article will focus on the free ones:
Pretend that you are a traveler trying to book a room in your city. Come up with a search query for it to see what OTAs and hotels there are in the search result.
If you do your best to meet a search term, your hotel website will rise to Google hits. The main goal of search engine optimization is to make your website the first on the list, when one writes your hotel name and the city inside the search box.
If Google already lists your website high, consider optimizing broader queries. They may be location, services, or tourist attractions related. For example, "hotels in Sofia city center", "hotels with a pool in Sofia" or "hotels next to St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral".
Such tools as Google My Business help locals and tourists to find transport and services needed. By creating a Business Profile, business owners connect with customers more easily.
Each business listing has an account to complete. The more information you add there, the more convenient it is for a client to find it. The least you should do is to update your open hours, phone number, address and a website. This will be free of charge. To reach more guests, describe your location, the nearest sights, and available facilities.
Promote your hotel on local business listings. First, check if they are worth to be listed on. It depends on how many people use them, and how close they are to Google hits when searching. Free hosting on local listings is enough to increase your traffic.
Statistics show that in 2020 social media users have passed 3.8 billion mark. That is 49% of the world’s population. Hotel owners can use social media accounts to attract new customers and maintain interaction with them.
Here is statistics on 3 most popular social media platforms of 2020, which will help you to determine which ones your audience uses.
- 2.7 billion monthly active users;
- 33% of audience is aged 35-64; the next largest group is aged 25-34 (31%);
- 75% of online users with an income more than $75K are on Facebook.
- 1.1 billion monthly users;
- 33% of users aged 25-34; 30% is aged 18-24;
- 80% of users decide whether to buy a product or service after seeing it on Instagram.
- 2 billion users each month;
- 81% of US users are aged 18-25; YouTube is perfect for reaching the younger audience;
- 90% discover new brands and products on YouTube.
It is a marketing technique aiming to promote a different brand, which is not in competition. For instance, the collaboration between Spotify and Uber was of benefit for both: Uber users paid for Premium accounts on Spotify, Spotify users booked Uber cars. They did this to be able to listen to their own playlist in a car.
Hotels can partner with travel agencies, taxicab companies, tourist attractions (cafes, museums, etc.), souvenir shops, and event planners. The most successful partnerships happen when both services have the same target audience, and when they are complementary.
There are 4 types of cross-promotion tools:
- Share information. This might be online: posting about a partner on social media or place its product on the website; or offline: posters, leaflets, or partner’s business cards, placed in your office.
- Sell partner’s products. For example, vend postcards from a local souvenir shop, and shop assistants will recommend your hotel in return.
- Make your discounts reciprocal. It means that your coupon will work with a partner company and vice versa. Employ this if your brands have similar audiences.
- Offer discounts at your partner’s. For instance, partner with the nearby cafe to offer a discount there to your guests.
These are emails you send to guests after they checked out. Email marketing reminds guests of your hotel, shares updates about a recent renovation or special offers. This increases customer loyalty and encourage re-booking.
Invite clients to taste items of your revised menu, enjoy a renovated pool, or order cocktails made by a new bartender. In return, ask them to review your hotel on social media and make sure they link it to your business profile.
Email marketing module is available in TravelLine Booking Engine. The tool sends guests a reminder a couple of days before the check-in date. After they check out, you may send a feedback letter. If a client has left his contact details but has not finished the reservation, he will get an "unfinished booking letter".
In case you made the most of free ways, but you still want more traffic on your website, consider allocating a budget for online marketing. We will describe paid strategies in the next article.