When it comes to enhancing direct bookings, having a top-notch Booking Engine is just the beginning. Having an effective marketing plan comes into hand to help you drive more bookings.
To truly drive success, your focus should extend to drawing more visitors to your booking engine through a well-crafted digital marketing strategy. Here’s a breakdown of what constitutes a successful approach:
1) Audience Insights and Target Market
Any successful business and marketing strategy begins with understanding your guests – who are you targeting? What do they look like? Where are they based? What are their interests and habits? The more you know, the more defined your channel strategy is to find and convert these audiences into guests.
Look into your PMS, hotel channel manager like STAAH MAX Channel Manager, booking engine like STAAH SwiftBook and website analytics for insights that can help piece together this information before being applied to external channels to attract them to your
booking platform. Your target audience should define which channels you advertise on and which OTAs you partner with.
2) Set your objectives
So, here’s the deal: you can’t make a roadmap if you don’t know where you’re going! When you’ve made efforts to figure out where you stand, it’s time to determine a clear set of objectives. Remember your strategy should be collaborative – created in consultation with key partners and your staff. It also needs to be a living document that evolves with the volatility of the market.
3) Find and define your unique proposition
There are a number of properties out there. What sets you apart? This must form the crux of all your communications and storytelling.
4) Focus on the traffic acquisition channels
A guest’s journey from awareness to booking is multidimensional. Someone may get inspired by a friend’s social media post, while another begins the journey on an OTA or a search engine. As a hotelier, you need to be present, consistently across all key channels.
Online Travel Agents
OTAs are your billboards to acquire guests. Excellent pictures and descriptions are critical to maintaining your brand on these channels.
Pay Per Click
While you may never be at par with the OTAs when it comes to PPC, maintaining some brand presence is essential.
Social Media Channels
Social media channels are a great way to create authentic conversations about your property. By leveraging guest interactions, you can build great conversations and create brand advocates.
Search Engine Optimization SEO
With more than 80% of bookings beginning with a search, the importance of ranking high isn’t lost on anyone. It may be a slow process but through good technique and content, you can build up your organic search ranking.
Google Hotel Search
Google hotel search is now free for hoteliers with partner booking engines; STAAH being one. Via STAAH’s Get Google
feature, you can push out live rates and availability and make the most of the search giant’s hotel search capability.
Reaching out to customers who have ‘touched’ your brand through either of the channels or have been your guests, has
huge potential for success. Remarketing Ads on Google, Facebook or Instagram can prove to be effective for
engaging these users.
Leverage Your Website
Leverage your website to its full potential with good content and a fantastic user experience, including for mobile visitors. Your booking engine plays a critical conversion role and features such as WatchMyRate by STAAH that allow guests to compare rates with OTAs
in real-time encourage them to stay on your website and book. Push out package rates and promotions on your own website as advertising here is free and can be very effective if guests see value.
Upsell with Vouchers
Vouchers are a great revenue source for hoteliers who can work away in the background on your website and email channel. Vouchers generate instant cash flow, helping you grow your revenue.
Email Marketing is a personalised way to reach out to guests. As you understand their interests, offers can be crafted to suit these interests. Use data from your PMS and booking engine to understand guest behaviour. Survey your guests to understand them better and leverage this information in your email campaigns.
Build Social Proof and Reputation
Online reviews matter and if anyone else says otherwise, ignore them. More than 90% of your guests will read an online review before booking. Make sure you harness the power of these reviews in your marketing by investing in the right tools, such as STAAH’s Review Minder.
This blog has been taken from STAAH eBook on The Expert Guide to Drive More Bookings