- Visibility on Search Engines—Search engine optimization (SEO) entails writing keyword-rich meta tags and enhanced content for your website to rank high on search engines for keywords relevant to your market. Based on our historical surveys, hotels report the highest ROI result from SEO efforts and hence should be the highest priority for e-commerce budget allocation.
- Link Building/Directory Enrollments—Strategic Link Building is one of the key elements of securing relevance for a website and driving higher placements organically. Make sure to budget for a professional search engine optimization firm to secure links from relevant high quality directories that are pertinent to your market and target audience.
- Design — Primary goal of a hotel website is to convert lookers to bookers. It’s imperative that there are strong calls to action incorporated throughout the website, and that the design facilitates a quick and easy reservation process. Make sure that your website is compelling and is done in latest search engine friendly technology.
- Pay Per Click—By bidding on relevant keywords to ensure visibility on the Sponsored Links, you’ll be well positioned to capture the attention of travelers during strategic need times. Allocate some budget for pay-per-click marketing, especially during the times when you need to drive short term business.
- Email Marketing— Email marketing is one of the most effective communication and promotion vehicles in the internet marketplace, due to its fast, direct, and cost-effective method of building relationships. If you collect a permission based email marketing database and send out value added offers, you can track the significant ROI which the campaigns generate.
- Consumer Generated Content—Search engines reward sites with consumer generated content by ranking them higher and providing better visibility. By placing a “Customer Review” section on your site, you can create a forum for guests to share experiences, and consequently you’re able to build credibility with the guest.
- Online Video—By optimizing your online video, you will be rewarded with better visibility on video sites such as YouTube, Myspace.com, Google Video Search, iFilm.com, etc. In our experience, we have found that optimized online videos result in higher traffic to your website.
- Blogs—Destination blogs provide you with the platform for sharing information about local dining, transportation, things to do, events, etc. Each post to the blog pings the search engines to crawl the new content, which ultimately results in better visibility and a credible forum for destination specific discussions.
- Mobile Website—We recommend creating a mobile compatible website for your hotels site to help drive corporate traffic at a higher ADR. If your site is not mobile friendly, you may be missing out on that critical high rated business.
- Tracking—If you are simply measuring traffic to your site, you’re missing out on a lot of the analytical web statistics tools available. Some important metrics to look at include top referring domains, top search terms, entrance pages, exit pages and phone call statistics as a direct result of travelers visiting your website.
Contributed by: Kimberly Ehrlich