Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hotel Digital Booking Funnel - Part 1

With the competition for hotel bookings of travelers around the world gaining intensity, hoteliers are battling with online travel agencies for every booking. Over the course of the last few years, OTAs have garnered an ever-increasing share of the hotel guest revenue dollar. However, there are a number of areas for potential improvement on hotel websites, the hotelier’s most valuable asset in the digital booking funnel. These improvements, if implemented as part of an overall digital hotel marketing strategy, could stem the tide of OTA booking encroachment. In this series we will examine some of the steps hoteliers can implement.

The use of mobile devices by travelers isn’t just some trendy thing that will go away over time, smartphones and tablets are the reality of the present and future. A clear majority of hotel bookings now come as a result of an online purchase and over 25 percent of online bookings are made via mobile as well. It is therefore imperative for hotel websites to be responsive in design to compete in today’s travel market. This means the hotel website must respond and conform to whatever device the user is attempting to access it from online. Since Google is now using mobile friendliness as a factor in determining search ranking, engaging the mobile travel market is now required of all hotels going forward.

Social Media
The online world lives in its connection through social media. A robust social network presence is the most powerful tool of brand awareness available to any hotel’s digital marketing efforts. However, the absolute ubiquity of social websites has created the problem of social media marketing campaigns becoming drowned out among the plethora of other competing messages for the user’s attention. As a result, the days of social media providing a free marketing outlet are gone forever. True visibility is only possible with paid advertising campaigns on a variety of social platforms. Additionally, social media offers a great opportunity for hotels to foster and build connections with their customers through relevant content.

Being part of the travel industry, it is vital for hotels to take control of their local presence online. The staggering number of mobile users makes the enhancement of a hotel’s website to leverage local search crucially important. According to Google, fully 80 percent of all local searches will end with the user making a purchase. Potential customers must see a hotel’s website at or near the top of local search listings in order to fully take advantage of a mobile optimized website.
In part two of this series we will examine further steps to be taken by hoteliers to better compete for direct online hotel bookings.

Posted via OnFast - http://www.OnFast.com

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