How to Successfully Market Your Hotel Online
Americans took more than two billion trips for business and leisure purposes in 2014, and that number is expected to grow in 2016.
Source: U.S. Travel Association and the U.S. Department of Commerce 

With so many hotel choices available, how do you build brand equity and make sure your property remains top of mind with families, vacationers, business travelers, convention-goers, and sports fans? Whether you are an economy chain, an extended stay property, or a luxury brand, strategic online marketing consistently drives more direct bookings, increased revenue, and long-term success.


The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising
Marketing is every way you touch a customer. Advertising is only one way you interact with customers. For hoteliers, marketing is positioning your brand in the industry over the long term, while advertising satisfies a more immediate need such as filling vacant rooms or creating awareness for a promotion or your hotel’s loyalty program.

Internet Marketing for Hotels
To maximize exposure of your brand or property, you have to meet your guests where they are. And increasingly, guests are online with their smartphone or tablet. They are continuously connected to the Internet day and night, and are much more likely to book a room from their mobile device than they are calling your 800 number. Here are some marketing strategies hotels can use to increase exposure and bring more traffic to their property and brand website.

Have a Robust Email Marketing Program
Frequent emails keep your hotel brand out front and help turn one-time guests into repeat customers. Promotional emails with offers and discounts increase web traffic and bookings. You can also use email to encourage guests to sign up for your digital newsletter, enroll in your hotel’s loyalty program, and to review their stay. Emails that showcase local attractions and upcoming events give guests an enticing reason for a return visit to your property.

Make Your Website Mobile Responsive
Optimize your brand’s landing pages and apps for the mobile world your customers live in. Make the booking and check-in/check-out process seamless whether they connect by smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Many hotel brand apps include features such as local maps, driving directions and weather, and some apps now allow guests to select a specific room, use a digital key to access that room, and even order food and extra pillows.

Create and Maintain Social Media Pages
Interact with customers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Post frequently and let followers know about new amenities, seasonal specials, loyalty or points programs, renovations, and more. Show photos from around your hotel on Instagram and Pinterest. Run attention-getting ads on your social pages with discounts and attractive incentives. Hold contests and offer winners a free night’s stay or special prizes. Engage with your customers by responding to compliments, complaints and questions.

Manage Your Presence at Listing Sites
Be there when people search for you online. Create a listing on sites like Google Places or so customers can quickly locate your hotel’s address, phone number, website, and other important information. Establishing and maintaining location based listings will also increase your search rankings across multiple search engines.

Be Search-Engine Friendly
Do the proper keyword research to ensure your website is search engine optimized (SEO) and will rank high when the appropriate search terms are used. SEO helps to ensure that a website is accessible to search engines and increases the chances that the site will be found by the search engine. Generating valuable, keyword-rich content such as a blog, travel tips, etc. that relates to your industry and/or location will improve search results and encourage repeat visits to your site.

Read Your Reviews
Know what travelers are saying about you on sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor and According to a survey by Software Advice, an online resource for hotel reservations, 46% of guests use online reviews before booking a hotel. Research also shows that over 75% of hotel guests trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so ask customers to review your hotel online and encourage honest feedback. Always reply to guests’ concerns or negative reviews to help resolve conflict. Responding strengthens your online reputation by showing hotel management cares about guest opinions and the quality of their stay.

With Google’s paid advertising product, Google AdWords, you can reach more customers and increase visits to your website.

Pay-Per-Click Ads
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are highly effective traffic drivers for your website. Pay-per-click lets you bid on certain keywords (ocean front hotel San Diego or downtown Atlanta hotel, for example) and pay to have your ad listed among organic, paid search results. You set your own budget and can also control costs since you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. If your marketing budget allows, PPC is a great way to reach more customers and increase visits to your website. More traffic equals more bookings.

Think Local
Being a good community citizen creates a positive impression of your brand. Partner with local charities and/or schools for fundraising. Sponsor community activities or forums in your meeting rooms or event space. Get involved in local service projects. And don’t be shy about letting your customers know about your community involvement.

Marketing Tips for OTAs
Love them or hate them, online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, and play an important role in boosting occupancy and influencing customer choice. OTAs are often the first and only destination for impulse or last-minute travelers. About 67% of these customers usually book a room within 24 hours of visiting an OTA site and about ten days before their trip begins. OTAs also help drive bookings and increase the visibility of your brand among people actively engaged in shopping for a quality hotel. With some 123 million guests researching hotels online each year, hotel marketers have a great opportunity to capture the attention – and the dollars – of this highly motivated customer group.

Discover the marketing potential of OTA sites and use the following tips to maximize customer views and bookings.

  • Create an emotional connection by featuring high quality images of rooms, amenities, lobby, and grounds from multiple angles 
  • Include a video tour of the property so guests can visualize themselves at your hotel 
  • Update content regularly so it’s current, compelling and complete 
  • Make sure your listing includes information about parking, additional discounts, check-in and cancellation policies, pet fees, etc. 
  • Improve search results by highlighting amenities such as free wi-fi, complimentary breakfast, room service, or upgraded guest rooms 
  •  Avoid misleading images and information that can disappoint or frustrate guests; this leads to negative online reviews


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