Run a hotel or hostel? Running at half empty and don’t know how to get more clients? Want to turn one-time customers into repeats?
Look no further! In this blog post we will round up FIVE top tips to get more reservations.
1. Your Website (Basics)
Don’t have a website for your hotel? Get one. Website providers like WordPress, Wix and Weebly are simple and easy to use to create a clean and engaging website. I personally quite like Wix.com for designing websites with booking functionality, but I have had good experiences with both Weebly and WordPress too.
If you already have a website, here’s a checklist of how it should be optimised…
- Are the loading time and accessibility of your website good?
- Is the navigation simple and easy to use?
- Is your design responsive? i.e. is your website optimised for use across all devices? (Often website platforms will enable you to design both desktop and mobile options)
But how much does loading time affect your business? According to a study by KISSmetrics…
47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
If you are making $100,000 a year with a slow loading website? You could be losing 40% of potential customers and over $60,000 of potential income.
2. Search Engine Optimisation
Increase your visibility through content and keyword strategies.
Think about what kind of keywords your target market would use to search for your services. Don’t just stop at “hotel” and “bed and breakfast” or “small hotel”. Think in regards to location (e.g. Paris, France) and sights (e.g. Eiffel Tower), to type of hotel.
“Rome hotel”, “hotels in Leon”, “spa hotel”, “family-friendly hotel in Lima”.
Take a break to brainstorm! Mind maps can be a great way to do this. Write the name of your hotel in the middle and circle it. Start with leads off of it like “location” and “characteristics”. Are you a luxury hotel? What makes you luxury? A pool? Spa? Gym?
Develop a list of highly relevant keywords for your website that your clients are likely to use to search for you. Don’t forget to update this regularly!
Also, ensure that all your images have relevant ALT TEXT to enable search engines to find them!
What does your website look like? Is it easy to read? Does it load quickly? Good.
Now it’s time to make sure that what is SAYS is just as good as how it looks. In this section, we will also talk about the power of the image.
Make it obvious. Your customers don’t have the time to scour your website looking for your prices, or to find out how to actually book. Make sure your menus are clear and make everything easy to find, with headings such as “rooms”, “photo gallery”, “facilities” or “prices”. You want to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to become a customer!
Make it functional. A beautiful looking website with lots of photos is all very well… if it’s actually any use to make a booking. Don’t make it overly complex.
Make it interesting. Okay, so you might not have amazing stories about famous people staying at your hotel or that you have live music every week, but make it inviting! Don’t make your website sound like it was written because something needed to be written. The text you write is your selling pitch. Make it worth it!
Use media. People want to see what the hotel actually looks like. Make sure you have high-quality photos (that don’t take too long to load) of common areas, rooms and even of the food you serve. Luxury hotel? You could make a video tour of the hotel to show exactly what your guests will get for their money. Make sure all the photos are accurate!
Make sure your booking engine is intuitive and easy to use. Ensure that on each page there is a link to “book now” and “check availability”. Also don’t forget to make sure that your booking engine works on all devices!
I find this so important. It’s all very well trying to get more reservations… but if you don’t know your target audience? Or who visits your site? Who your “average” guest is?
You could well be barking up the wrong tree, as the saying goes.
First, think about who your target audience is. There is no point trying to market to every single person looking for a hotel. Are they budget, mid-range or high-cost? Travelling on business or for leisure?
Once you have figured out who you plan on targeting, find out who visits your site. Google Analytics is a very useful tool for this. It collects data on who is visiting your website, pages getting the most visitors, keywords getting most searches and main referral sites. This may well be different from your target audience.
Finally, look at the guests who come to your hotel. Are they single travellers, couples or families? Business or leisure? How many nights do they stay for? What days are the most popular? What countries do people come from?
All this can be combined into your marketing strategy. For example, a hotel in Copan, Honduras has decided their target audience consists of backpackers willing to spend a bit more money for better facilities and private rooms when they visit the Maya ruins. However, they use Google Analytics and analyse their recent guests and find out that over the last few months the majority of their visitors were backpackers predominantly from the US, but they had quite a few European couples who tended to pay a lot more and spend a lot more while at the hotel. They accordingly adjusted their Adwords and keywords to attract more hits from the higher paying Europeans. They also offered a discounted night’s stay to those who brought in new customers through recommendations.
5. Social Media
Are you active on the social platforms that your guests frequent most? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ etc)
Encourage your guests to connect with you on social media. Make sure you’re monitoring your online reputation and moderating and responding to reviews. Reply to all reviews, whether positive or negative!
Choose two or three main social platforms where your guests frequent most and concentrate on building your following on them. Look out for more posts soon about how to build an engaged following on social media!
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