Given the challenges in today’s economy, internet marketing has become a critical method for driving online reservations for hotels. Whether your hotel’s needs are short term, long term or both, there are a variety of internet marketing tools available to help you achieve your goals.
Short Term to Long Term
Pay Per Click – Of all the internet marketing options available to hotels, Pay Per Click is perhaps the one with the most potential for instant gratification. If athe Pay Per Click campaign is well managed, and the keywords which you are bidding on are relevant to your hotel, you should expect a strong short term ROI. This is a great tool to get through seasonality and/or other anticipated slow periods where you need an extra boost to business.
Email Marketing – If you already have a list of email addresses which you’ve been collecting through the double opt-in process, you are in a great position to begin. If you don’t have a permission based email database, now is the time to begin that collection process. Targeted, permission based email marketing campaigns can yield extremely high ROI’s.
Enhance Design for Conversion – The average website should have its design revamped every 3-5 years. By incorporating engaging photography, pertinent content, easy to use navigation, value added offers and an intuitive booking process, you should see an increase in the conversion rate of those shopping on your website.
Up-sell Through Packaging – Everyone is looking for a deal…especially a great all-inclusive deal. Consider using value added packages as a way to convert lookers to bookers. These packages should be created based on historical demand.
Community eMaps – If you’re in the best location and close to all of the local attractions, interactive community eMaps are a great way to showcase your hotel. With many consumers looking to cut down on the overall cost of travel, your location may be the best selling point of all…and eMaps are the way to showcase it. See example at: http://www.hitowncenter.com/bay-area-silicon-valley-direction.asp
Destination Blog – Destination blogs for hotels are designed to provide a forum for consumers to exchange information about the destination. One of the biggest benefits which blogs have is that they ping the search engines as soon as a new post is made on the blog. By stimulating discussion forums about your destination, you’ll be well suited to market your hotel within that destination.
Consumer Generated Content – An alternative to managing a full destination blog is to add a “Customer Review” section to your website. By allowing consumers to post their thoughts and opinions, you will build credibility both with the search engines and with prospective guests.
Search Engine Optimized Online Video – Online videos are one of the hottest forms of internet marketing. By search engine optimizing the video and distributing it to the major video search sites, you will be able to achieve visibility through those popular channels. Rich media continues to drive online conversion, and should be incorporated into any strategic marketing plan.
Organic – Setting a solid organic strategy is the most sustainable way to get through tough economic conditions. While it does not result in instant gratification, the results come from proving credibility and relevancy to the Search Engines. If you don’t already have a good organic strategy in place, now is the time to implement one so to help you can get through future economic challenges.
Strategic Directory Enrollments – As a part of your organic strategy, ensure that you place an emphasis on strategic, high quality directory enrollments. By having your site enrolled in relevant niche directories, you will benefit from driving qualified traffic to your site.
Contributed by: Kimberly Ehrlich, Milestone Internet Marketing