Hotels need to have a multi-channel digital marketing strategy to reduce heavy reliance on Online Travel Agents. There are many channels for hotels to sell their rooms, but a hotel’s own website and booking engine provides the hotelier the most control over its brand, positioning, promotion, rate, and, of course, its margins. By selling rooms on a hotel website Powered by INNsight, a hotelier can save tens of thousands of dollars annually in egregious commissions charged by OTAs while driving its own direct bookings with ease.
The Internet is a level playing field, but it is also very crowded, noisy and full of big players that manipulate traffic and the perception of that level playing field with false marketing and strong-arming of hotel’s rights. If a hotelier does not have a multi-channel digital marketing strategy, they will have a great difficulty being noticed and will become overly dependent on Online Travel Agents like booking.com and Expedia.
Direct website traffic is very important to hotels as guests are increasingly looking to research, engage, and book directly with hotels. A hotel’s website and booking engine are where hoteliers have the greatest control over their image, rates, margins and several other key factors that they cannot control on other channels.
Hoteliers not only need to have potential customers land on the hotel’s own website: they need a website which is an attractive enough channel that assures customers will actually book their stays direct instead of booking through other channels.
So, how can hoteliers increase direct website traffic and convert lookers into bookers? Subscribe to INNsight.com and follow these steps:
Your hotel’s website is your own channel. It is the place where you have the greatest control over your pricing and margins. Your hotel’s website is the channel to which you should give privilege. The best prices available online should always be available on your website. So you must be thinking—but doesn’t that impact the rate parity rules with my OTA contract. Our answer—Yes and No. Yes, your OTA might technically ding you for keeping the rates lower on your website, but our research has shown that OTAs do not police your website for rate parity. If you do decide to keep exact rate parity with your other channels, go for it, but you should definitely not be at a competitive disadvantage on your own website. If you offer non-refundable rates on OTAs, you should offer them on your website too. If you participate in discounted rates on OTAs, ensure that you provide the same discounts or even deeper discounts on your own website. We recommend using the following tools to make the pricing on your website Powered by INNsight more compelling than your more costly channels:
The INNsight Property Management System (PMS) helps hotelier’s easily manage inventory, set rates and optimize revenue management with ease. Learn more about INNsights cloud-based hotel PMS here: www.innsight.com/hotel-property-management-system-pms
When you are trying to lead customers to your website, the website itself needs to look attractive. Your hotel website needs to be appealing enough so that when potential customers stumble upon it they will get a positive impression of the hotel and will feel comfortable interacting with it and willing to book. Learn more here: www.innsight.com/free-hotel-website-design
In addition to being engaging, offering rich media and content, your hotel’s website needs to have a clear call-to-action. Hotel websites by INNsight.com are optimized to show off your hotel and drive the guest to book their stay.
It is highly important for your hotel to have a bookable mobile website. It’s essential to also have your booking engine mobile device optimized, as according to Google studies, 40% of leisure travelers and 36% of business travelers book using their mobile devices. In a study conducted by GuestCentric with over 300 hotels, a whopping 60% of smartphone bookings were for the same night or next night stay. With the explosion of smartphones, guests are delaying their booking and might even try and book directly from your parking lot before they walk into your lobby.
Does your hotel’s website enable quick and easy online booking from smartphones? Not only are INNsight’s Hotel Websites easy-to-use and drive bookings but your hotel’s mobile website will also drive more and more bookings in the near future. You can read more about INNsight’s award-winning bookable hotel mobile websites here: www.innsight.com/mobile-hotel-website
The World Wide Web is well, worldwide. Travelers from around the world need to be your hotel website’s audience. Your hotel’s website is an important part of the overall perception that potential guest forms of the hotel. Making your hotel’s website available in a foreign traveler’s native tongue could be a positive step in their perception of your hotel, not to mention easier to read. Websites designed by INNsight have language support with integrated Google Translate providing quick translation in several languages from Arabic to German, Chinese, Spanish and many more. Learn more about INNsight’s language translation here: http://www.innsight.com/blog/hotel-website-language-translation/
You want your guests to Look, then Book. Your hotel’s website is its window into the hotel itself. Ensure you provide clearly labeled high-quality photography. Show off your property with floor plans, virtual reality tours, and videos. The INNsight Content Management System (CMS) is a cloud-based system that provides hoteliers the ability to manage all of its content and display it on their hotel website. Learn more about the INNsight CMS here: www.innsight.com/hotel-content-management-system-cms
One of the most important vehicles for driving direct online sales happens from your hotel itself. It is imperative that you have a marketable website address URL and you stamp that URL on all of your brochures, business cards, invoices, and other offline content. Your URL should be your marketing collateral and be reaffirmed at all opportunities. To build loyalty with return guests, hoteliers should set up promotion codes and provide Thank You cards with instructions to input a promo code when booking direct. Such off-line and print techniques can help drive more direct online bookings.
Hoteliers should be able to promote their properties online regardless of their size because of the level playing field that the Internet provides. As hoteliers need to increase direct traffic to their hotel website, it is clear that they must focus on all four pillars of their hotel’s Digital Marketing: Social, Mobile, Local and the Web. With a multi-channel digital marketing strategy and the tools provided by INNsight.com, even small independent hotels can develop an online presence that can drive more revenue and increase margins compared to OTA channels.
Get started and get your hotel’s website Powered by INNsight today. Click here to learn more: www.innsight.com/hotel-web-design-product-pricing