According to Google, travelers go through five stages of travel – dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing, and sharing – and much of this journey is taking place online.
To meet traveler demands as they go through this journey, hotel marketers need to create a strong, compelling online experience that reaches and engages them across the web.
1. Be findable
Regardless of how amazing your hotel is, a traveler can’t even begin to consider booking if they can’t find it online. In fact, 58% of leisure travelers start their hotel planning with a search engine and 80% use the internet during their travel shopping process (Google).
Here are three steps you can take to fully amplify your hotel’s story online:
- Get your visual media out across the web – on OTAs, your website, social channels, and more. Posting photos and videos on your social media channels can improve your search ranking and increase viral sharing
- Use 3rd party travel sites, such as OTAs, meta search, research sites, and more to broadcast your hotel story online. Amplify your hotel story on these channels by showcasing high quality photos, videos, and/or virtual tours of your hotel’s unique features to really engage travel shoppers on these channels
- Over 25% of travelers book hotels through their mobile phones. Ensuring your hotel website is mobile optimized is an excellent step towards reaching these travel shoppers
Travelers go through an extensive research process before finally deciding on a destination, and more importantly, a hotel. Make sure you can reach travel shoppers, wherever they are – check out our infographic to learn more about How Consumers Research and Book Hotels.
2. Be active on social media channels
Social media sites have become popular destinations for travelers researching and sharing hotels. Social media is also proving to be a revenue driver with 50% of travel brands agreeing that they have generated direct bookings from social media (Eye for Travel).
There are multiple ways to use social media as part of your marketing plan, here are some ideas to consider:
- Use Facebook to post photos, interesting updates, contests, promotions, and add interactive apps
- Create a YouTube account and upload videos that showcase some of your hotel’s interesting amenities and features
- Tweet about brand wide events, specials, and guest stories. Don’t forget to use hashtags when necessary!
3. Encourage customer reviews and story sharing
Word of mouth advertising and sharing between fellow travelers can be very influential on travel decisions throughout the shopping journey. While searching for the best place, 81% of travelers have said hotel reviews are important.
Here are some suggestions to ensure your stories are being shared:
- Encourage travelers to share their stories, photos, videos, etc. across the web by prompting them to upload their photos online and tagging your hotel’s Facebook page or Instagram handle
- Give them a reason to share in the first place. Guests are more likely to write a review or snap a photo if they come across a charming breakfast, pleasant poolside atmosphere, interesting lobby, and other unique quirks
- Offer incentives to those who complete a review of their experience at your hotel
Don’t stop here, there are still a few more vital tips to reach and engage travelers during their shopping journey, and increase your bookings.
Check out the final tips in our eBook 6 Steps To Reaching And Engaging Travelers During The Shopping Journey to learn more about presenting a consistent message across the web!