Online travel agencies, or OTAs, have had a significant impact on the hospitality industry. By taking a 15% to 30% commission on all bookings, they simply reduce how much profit a hospitality company can make.
That’s why, if you own or manage a hotel, it’s more important than ever to optimize your hotel digital marketing strategy. You want people to book their rooms directly through your site. The following tips will help you achieve this goal.
Improve Your Hotel Digital Marketing Strategy with New Tech
Don’t limit your potential by relying solely on a website and social media presence to attract guests in the digital realm. While these components absolutely play a role in your success, it’s also important to consider how you can leverage new innovations to your advantage.
For instance, major hospitality companies like Best Western Hotels & Resorts have begun using virtual reality to let potential guests “explore” a hotel before booking a room. By promoting their hotels in this dynamic and unique way, hospitality brands can offer an experience that’s not available through OTAs. Having the opportunity to explore a hotel through VR also gives customers a clearer sense of the space and amenities, making a hotel more appealing than it would appear to be in basic pictures.
Keep Functionality in Mind
It’s important to consider which major tactics you’re going to employ when developing a hotel digital marketing strategy. However, don’t overlook the importance of functionality. Your website needs to load quickly and reliably if it’s going to have a beneficial effect.
In addition, research now indicates people browse the Internet via mobile devices more often than desktop computers. If your hotel’s site isn’t optimized for mobile, and an OTA’s site is, it’s fairly likely a guest will book through an OTA.
This is something you need to remember even as a marketer. Coordinate with people on the tech side to make sure you’re taking all steps to maintain a mobile-friendly site that loads fast and is easy to navigate on a small device’s screen.
Personalize Your Content
Today’s consumers want personalized marketing content. They dislike feeling as though they are merely nameless potential sources of revenue to brands. As a result, marketers should tailor their approach to their customers’ unique preferences and needs.
There are a few ways you can do this. For instance, if you have an email list, it’s likely not all of your followers will be able to stay at all of your hotels. If your brand has hotels throughout the world, an email list subscriber in New York may not find an email about discounted rates at a Tokyo branch particularly relevant. Thus, you could segment your list into multiple smaller lists, ensuring followers only receive emails that actually pertain to their interests.
You can also use innovations, such as geolocation to send personalized, targeted messages to guests. For example, if you include geolocation functionality in your app, when a former guest is near one of your hotels, the app could send alerts letting them know about unique activities guests enjoy in the area. Additionally, you might use machine learning in conjunction with an app to learn more about each individual customer every time they use the app. This also helps you develop personalized marketing content.
The main point to remember is that competing with OTAs requires prioritizing your marketing strategy. Your goal is to make your brand stand out in guests’ minds. When it does, they’ll be more likely to book directly through your company.