Thanks to the wonderful invention of the world wide web, there are now so many different platforms in which to advertise and attract people to a hotel. The emergence of websites such as Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com etc have created a market where customers can compare and book hotels with ease. Unfortunately, this does make the market extremely competitive.
This is even more so for the independent hotels. They have to find more inventive ways when showcasing their unique selling points of their establishment in order to gain those all important bookings.
Every successful online business will know the benefits of utilising SEO, or ‘search engine optimisation’ for pulling in traffic for their website. For more information on how to improve your SEO and make your website effective in enticicing in your customers, please see this article.
But it doesn’t all end with SEO. We have listed below some other easy and simple ways in which hotels can show off their talents and attract those customers back again and again.
You may have heard of the saying that when it comes to food, we first taste with our eyes, and that is equally as true when it comes to judging whether we want to stay in a hotel or not. The importance of good quality photos that showcase off the best parts of the hotel cannot be underestimated.
Most people will decide in the first few seconds of seeing a hotel’s photos whether they want to stay there or not. Many hoteliers might be put off using a professional photographer’s service by the large cost involved, but the value to your business is well worth the investment. Equally, the professional photographer market is saturated with people looking for work which means you can now get high quality photographs at a very reasonable price.
It is important to show photos that honestly represent your hotel. There is no point showing a picture of a 5* luxury pool when in reality it looks more like a bath tub. The customer should still be pleasantly surprised when they arrive at your hotel and see your amenities in person. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tweak your photos to show it looking polished and at its best.
You Could Take the Photos Yourself
If hiring a professional photographer isn’t for you, you can always take a photography course and take the photos yourself. There are so many tips and hints on the internet in how to take a professional looking photo, and apps that mean you amend the colour and style or add a filter to the photo.
You could have the most luxurious hotel in the world, but if your pictures do not do it justice then you will never get those customers that it deserves. When someone sees a beautiful picture of a beautiful hotel, they immediately will start imagining themselves being there. If you can make them picture themselves eating your mouthwatering food in your restaurant, or lounging on your comfy looking bed, then you’ve made a sale. You have worked hard on your hotel, so do not fall down at the last hurdle with bad photos that do not show off your hotel in its best light.
2. User Friendly site design
It would not be an understatement to say that emergence of social networks has significantly changed the advertising market and how it works. At the same time, social networks are updated with new services and features at a super fast rate that is increasingly hard to stay up to date with. But the potential for advertising and engaging an audience is almost un-limitless and every single business should be on at least one social media platform, if not all of them.
Whole books are being written on the increasing relevance of social media advertising and if you want to know more there are many available resources on the internet. For example an interesting read here about how restaurants can apply social media advertising to boost revenue.
When choosing which social networks to be part of crucially only choose those which you will remain regularly active. It’s extremely off putting to see an unattended Twitter or Facebook account it sends a message of real lack of effort. Also, I’m more interested in seeing recent images before booking a stay somewhere. The professional images on your website may be stunning but they may be several years old and back when the walls were hole free and the swimming pool water wasn’t brown. If you want a great example of a hotel nailing their social marketing with regular posting and huge engagement take a look at Yotel New York Facebook page. By the way it’s an awesome hotel if you get the chance to stay there.
6. Online Booking System
9. Free Wifi
This might sound pedantic and many may be going on holiday purely to get away from the trappings of modern technologies and communications. But that does not mean they want to be cut off from their facebook or email. As consumers we like to have choice, and want the option to be able to go online to let their loved ones to let them know they have arrived safely and maybe ask someone to double check they unplugged the iron.
Personally, I will not book a hotel if it doesn’t have wifi and am very unlikely to book if the wifi isn’t free. And I know that a significant portion of your customer base feels exactly the same.
10. Trip Advisor
The godfather of all hotel review sites. The good, the smelly and the tiny telly. Trip Advisor is the number one pre booking go to place for anyone looking for a hotel, restaurant and everything else in between. The reviews are often humorous and routinely critical. This is the most popular place for people to give their opinions on your hotel.
As a rule you should be replying or responding to every comment that someone leaves. This builds on that relationship for possible future bookings and shows you are attentive to your guests. For positive comments you can pretty much get away with a generic response, something along the lines of:
We’re so glad you enjoyed your stay with us. We look forward to welcoming you back.
Now we have the bad review.
“I recently stayed at your hotel in Paris and was electrocuted by an ill designed plug socket. Frazzled and yup you’ve guessed it feeling a little shocked I headed downstairs to reception to ask for an engineer to check the plug socket was safe. Also somewhat confessing to being semi responsible for the power outage on floor 8, Oops. More concerned with his text messaging the receptionist failed to ask if I felt ok. The engineer eventually arrived to inform me that this had happened before and some types of plug adapters would react this way with the metal surround to the sunken plug socket.”
I must confess I wrote this on trip advisor and guess what no response now this happened at a very large chain hotel. I am confident many people will have read this and chuckled at my misfortune. However this does give a poor reflection on their approach to guest wellbeing, suitable maintenance and guest relations.
As a hotel owner how should I react to bad reviews?
Well the main thing is that you do react, if the comment is downright slanderous ask trip advisor to remove it. If it’s regarding guest experience respond to them something along the lines of.
Dear Guest, We are sorry you felt let down by our level of service and also please be assured we have since your stay replaced the types of sockets used to avoid this type of incident happening again. Regards Sean Paul, Hotel Manager
While some may feel fobbed off by this. The outsider checking out recent reviews will see this as a sign that the hotel manager looks to accept responsibility for a bad experience and take action. Apart from a voucher the next time I stayed at one of the chains hotel I wasn’t really expecting much else.
Never underestimate the fact that your website gives you a much wider reaching platform for gaining bookings than any other method. Give your site visitors a pleasant experience from the moment they first look at your site through to the moment they wave you good-bye at checkout.
First, your potential guests have to find your site before they need worry about getting to your hotel in person. Search engine optimisation is a huge part of this, so check out our Top 10 SEO Tips for Hotels in Thailand or this article on using Google Plus for higher search rankings. Social Media in particular has the power to put your site publicly under the microscope. However, it is also a chance to show off your wonderful hotel and staff. You are the real person in control of what people can see so make it matter and enjoy a busier hotel.