5 Reasons Why Your Hotel Needs To Be Amazing Online
As a Hospitality Brand, you will have a solid idea of who you are, what you do, and what you offer – but you need to be asking yourself, are you conveying this to your guests? Does your online presence accurately represent the truth of your brand? Are you sending the right message?
For Hotels is now one of the main factors that people take into consideration when they decide where they’re going to spend their money. The service you offer your guests starts before they book their stay. It starts and finishes online.
“Companies that anticipate and deliver what travellers want, when they want it, are more likely to command loyalty – and profits.” – Carolyn Childs, Hotel Online
1. WHO YOU ARE WILL BE BASED ON WHAT YOUR CUSTOMER SEE
The Hospitality Industry is huge, and people have so much choice, that they look online for ways to narrow down their decisions. 70% of travellers search on TripAdvisor before booking their stay, and almost all tourists below the age of 34 look to Facebook for suggestions before finalising their bookings. (Site Minder)
How you appear on Social Media, in Search Engines, and the message your website sends is vitally important. Potential Guests have access to all this information before you even know they’re there – so your marketing strategies need to account for these platforms.
Your website needs to be coherent in terms of branding, colour scheme and content. It takes people 6 -7 times of seeing content before they begin to associate it with a specific brand – you want to make this easier by ensuring consistency throughout your site.
The pages also need to be mobile friendly (responsive), because a huge number of people are now using their mobile devices to access the web. If your site isn’t up to standard, you’re not going to get seen – and you won’t even get a chance to make an impression before you’re dismissed and forgotten.
2. THERE’S PLENTY OF COMPETITION – WHAT MAKES YOU SPECIAL?
To generate more hotel bookings, you need to stand out from the crowd, and this is why social media is important for hotels. It connects you with people who are interested in your services. But how do you rise above the digital noise?
Having exceptional customer services will set you apart, as will an innovative mobile app, and a strong reputation across the various review sites. Use your social channels to give your Hotel a personality – convey to your guests just how amazing you are, what you have that no one else does, and what you do better than everyone else. Share your heritage, brand values and interesting stories about your staff.
On your website, you have a great opportunity to showcase your most exciting and unique features. Whether you want to have a regular blog, featured videos, or a gallery of images – you should use every element to push how amazing your venue is.
3. SHOW YOUR GUESTS YOUR BEST – MAKE A WONDERFUL IMPRESSION!
Use your social media marketing to show and tell your guests just how fantastic you are. Your online presence works to advertise and promote your business 24 hours a day. It tells people who you are, where you are and what you can offer them. It’s up to you to provide interesting content that makes your guests want to find out more, and book with you.
It’s important that you produce high quality content, whether that’s beautiful pictures and video, or interesting written content, and which is communicated consistently. You need to have a minimum standard of quality and make sure you never post anything that doesn’t reach it.
You could consider having a customer testimonials page on your website, or integrating the reviews from a review site, such as Trip Advisor. Let people see that you’re proud of your accomplishments, and that you’re not afraid to admit when you’ve been wrong, because you always strive to set it right!
4. COMMUNITY FOCUS IS BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT – YOU NEED TO NETWORK
Social Media for Hotels isn’t just a tool to promote and sell your services – it’s a way of connecting and creating a community. Customer Relationship Management is easier when you know what your customers want, and are actively engaged in speaking with them.
“If you’re a Customer Service Rep, you need to show your customers that their happiness is important for you.” – Justyna Polaczyk, LiveChat
Building communities is also something you can do with other businesses and engaging more with your local community can be mutually beneficial – if your hotel is near an amazing landmark, promote it. If there’s a local festival happening – share it. If you don’t offer a taxi service, but you know a trusted local driver – recommend them. Because the more you give out, the more people will enjoy themselves when they visit you; and the local community and businesses you’ve helped, will be more likely to recommend you in return.
It’s a win-win-win – for you, your guests, and your community.
On your website, you could encourage more visitors to be interested in you and your location by featuring Google Maps, local landmarks, areas of interest or having an events calendar. When people leave your website, you want them to think that your hotel is the place to go, because they will be looked after, entertained and have plenty to do on their visit.
5. GUEST WILL SHARE THEIR FANTASTIC EXPERIENCES AND RECOMMEND YOU
This is one of the most powerful ways that social media affects hotels – word of mouth is no longer limited to personal connections. By getting online and sharing their experience with your brand, a guest can share with a huge number of people their opinion of your Hotel; and whether it’s a positive or negative experience.
Their friends and social media connections will read it and create their opinions of your brand based on these experiences. It’s important to have a Reputation Management strategy in place to make the most of this feedback. Responding to a positive review shows your guest, and other visitors, that you care and offer a more ‘personal’ touch – it also doubles the amount of positive terms for SEO purposes.
Responding to a negative review gives you the opportunity to correct a problem, change an unhappy customer into a happy one, and show the online community that you are invested in ensuring a positive experience for all your guests. Leaving negative reviews unattended damages your reputation, and discourages future bookings.
Make sure you have clear customer service opening and closing times on your website. Give people realistic times to expect a response. They may not like having to wait for a reply, but they’ll like it even less if they don’t know it’s going to take a long time!
The way you handle your online presence for your Hotel will largely determine the way in which your Brand is viewed by others. The more you can engage with guests and potential guests, the more emotionally connected they will be with you – and the more likely they’ll be to remember you when it’s time to book their hotel stay.