May 29, 2016

Top Hotel Marketing Strategies

 

Survey reveals Top Hotel Marketing Strategies

Hotel marketing articlesThe 5th Annual Benchmark Survey on  Digital Hotel Marketing, Budget Planning and Best Practices has been completed by Hospitality eBusiness Strategies and Tisch Center for Hospitality Studies at New York University.  Key findings include:

Revenues: Hoteliers say that 25.6% of their business comes from their hotel website and 16% comes from property pages on the hotel brand’s website.

Digital Marketing Budgets: Nearly 3 out of 4 hoteliers (73.4%) reported that economic and budget constraints hamper Internet marketing budgets,  but ~74% of respondents reported Internet marketing budgets that are higher than in 2010.

Online vs. Offline
: Of the respondents who increased their budgets in 2011, 49% shifted money from offline marketing initiatives to online.  40% of hoteliers believe that Internet marketing achieves better results than offline. (9.5%)

Social Media Gains in Popularity
: 43% of hoteliers cite Social Media as one of the Internet marketing formats that returns the best results.  5 years ago, just 16.8% of hoteliers had the same opinion.

Mobile Web Surges for Hotels
: The survey says 37% of hoteliers are planning mobile sites this year, up from almost 26% in 2010.

Hotels are spending most of their Internet marketing budgets on website design/re-design and Paid Search (both 20.2% of respondents).

14.2% report efforts to build strategic links to their websites, which is often included in website optimization, which was cited by 13.7% of those surveyed.  Interestingly, Search Engine Optimization, which includes strategic linking and optimization was also favored by 13.4% of respondents.

Social Media has become a cornerstone of hotel marketing.  The report stated, “Of all hotel digital marketing initiatives in the survey, hoteliers believe that website optimization produces the highest ROI. Social media however, introduced as its own category this year – was not far behind at 43%. This shows a dramatic change in the perception over the past few years of how much revenue Facebook, Twitter, etc. really generate. While social media is not a distribution channel, it is increasingly becoming an important customer engagement channel. Whereas in the past hoteliers were skeptical as to whether social media should even play a role in their Internet marketing strategy, today it is one of the fundamentals.”

Full service hotels especially benefit from Social Media.  The opportunities to find qualified prospects in almost any segment is compelling.  The benefits of listening to the market to see what people are saying about you and to confront it, if needed, is phenomenal.  The ability to participate in conversations with quality contacts without leaving the state, much less your office, is awesome!

Asked, “What type of Web 2.0 & Social Media Marketing initiatives are you planning?” 56% said creating profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc.  Next was “Advertise on Social Media sites, like Trip Advisor or Facebook (50%) and blog participation (39%).  Other tactics include creating a YouTube channel, a blog on the hotel’s website, using a survey or comment card on the hotel website, doing an online contest and setting up photo-sharing functionality.

It’s interesting that MORE hoteliers said they are not planning any Social Media initiatives this year; 12.5% vs. 6.9%

Frankly, this survey shows hoteliers being a little more aggressive with Internet marketing than many of the GMs and DOSMs that I talk with.  But I do see more of them coming around to the use of Social Media Marketing. And they’re booking more rooms!

Photo credit: GravityX9

Is your website or blog really 2 sites?

This is important Need to Know information! Please read. There’s a very important setting for your website that may have a big impact on your search engine rankings or even for people to find you. It’s fairly easy to do and it’s overlooked by too many people.

What is it? It’s called a re-direct or canonical re-direct and it is really important to your website success.

Did I tell you it’s important? It’s important!

I got a call from a friend this morning who was panicked that his website was down. He had typed in his domain name without the prefix “WWW.” and got a GoDaddy (his web host) placeholder page. I got the same results.

But when I typed in his URL preceded by “WWW.” His website came up fine.

He was relieved.

But he has a major problem and here are 3 reasons why:example of canonization in Google Analytics

  1. Anyone typing in his website address would not get his page and he might lose a prospect or a customer.
  2. His website stats would have his Home page listed twice and give a disjointed view of his site visitors.
  3. Google might not give him full credit for visitors to his site and might even penalize his rankings.

I’m sure you understand the implications of #1.

As for #2, Google Analytics and other visitor tracking applications keep track of the index page of both your WWW and non-WWW web addresses.  It’s tidier and more correct to have, what is essentially the same page, reported together.  (See example to the right)

But the biggest implication is that, without the canonical re-direct, Google views your site as 2 sites and splits everything between them.  The WWW part of your URL is considered a sub-domain.  Google may also conclude that your site is duplicate content.  I could write about that all day, but suffice it to say, it’s not in your favor.  (Google “duplicate content penalty” to learn more.)

So, how do you fix this?

You can create a re-direct or a canonical re-direct so that the non-WWW version of your site forwards (aliases) to the WWW version.  Or vice-versa – it doesn’t matter.  You or your webmaster put a small snippet of code on your site does this easily.  I found a post, How to set up a 301 redirect, that explains how to do this and it’s done differently depending on how your webserver is set up.

If this all makes your head spin, “Dammit Jim, I’m a businessman, not a web developer!,” then show this to a web developer who can do it very quickly.

But DO IT! Your website success depends on it!

 

Do You Update Your Website Content Regularly? If not, it can kill you.

Content A new survey points to a very real problem that affects website ROI significantly.  The results are not surprising, but here's why not updating your website content can kill sales, bore customers and clobber your search engine rankings.

Streamline.net is a website hosting company in the U.K.  Their Small Business Bytes Survey found that 2 out of 3 website owners had had a business website for 2 years or more, but only 10% of them made updates on a daily basis and only 1 in 4 made an update every month!

Search engines, particularly Google, make great efforts to supply their customers (those searching for information) with the very latest information and as a result, how often a website is updated affects the overall ranking.  That's one reason why blogs and news sites tend to outperform other sites for certain keywords.

Google crawls some news sites continuously.  It's not uncommon for a new story or blog post to get indexed within seconds.  And how often their spiders visit your site depends on how often they find new content.  If they return in a week and see that nothing has changed, they might not return for 10 days the next time.  If they find nothing new then, it could be weeks before they return.

That's one good reason to update your content regularly.

Sites that aren't updated frequently are also a sign the owner/manager is not paying attention to feedback he or she is getting from visitors and customers.  Successful websites constantly evolve based on factors such as split-testing of pages or individual page components, shopping cart abandonment, keyword research, customer feedback and about 6 dozen other things.

Sites that aren't updated often are boring!

Googleanalytics-keywords The Small Business Bytes Survey also showed that 34% do not know how many visitors their site attracts or any of the other metrics that come with a decent analytics package.  That's like a shop-keeper not keeping track of foot traffic.

Most website hosts include website analytics for free and there are free services like Google Analytics that can easily be added to a site.  The information can be invaluable for decision making and you can read more about website metrics and analytics here.

Yes, it takes time and resources to update your website on any regular basis.  Yes, it may take paying a consultant or coach to devise strategy and monitor the execution, design and develop your site, program functionality and/or execute marketing plans. And all that is part of calculating your website ROI.

But the ROI of a static website is usually zero, to say nothing of the potential not achieved.

Get an advantage over your competitors! Begin updating your site on a regular basis!

Click here for my post on website content ideas.

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Do you manage or own a website?  How often do you update it?  What obstacles do you face while maintaining your site? 

How do you market your website?  Do you know how many people visit your website, where they came from and what keywords might have been used to find you?  Do you know which pages are most popular on your site?  Do you know which pages, other than your Home page that people land on first?  Do you know which page they visit last before they move on to another site?  Have you ever considered that there might be a reason why they exit your site from certain pages?

I'd love to hear from you! Kurt @ WebAsylum.com or (630) 482-9323

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Twitter.com/KurtScholle