Frequently, hoteliers measure the size and importance of the internet as a booking channel by the number of reservations flowing through their online booking engines. An alternate way to measure the importance of their internet presence is to determine how many people were influenced by the hotel’s website, online ads, customer reviews, etc. While the hotel industry has seen a significant increase in online reservations, the true testament of growth is how many people use the internet as a research tool and take action based on your online presence.
Hoteliers should be mindful of their Official Hotel Websites, over which they have the most control. Consider providing information about local attractions, specials, packages, etc. It’s also critical that hoteliers monitor their online presence on the third party sites and look to uphold inventory and rate integrity. Lastly, sites that facilitate consumer generated content, such as TripAdvisor, are of utmost importance as the search engines consider the content to be highly credible.
In a study completed by Burst Media in February 2007, they surveyed the types of travel research conducted online by US travelers that use the internet solely as a research tool. They found that 50.1% of those polled searched for hotel accommodations and prices on the internet . These types of statistics remind us that regardless of how we measure the impact of the internet, the reality is that the channel is hugely important. With this increasing shift in “lookers” to the internet, it’s imperative for hoteliers to position themselves advantageously on this popular channel.
Article contributed by Kimberly Ehrlich, Milestone Internet Marketing.