Digitalisation has changed the way we travel. Travellers have moved online to search, compare and book accommodation at a competitive price. This has led companies such as Booking, Expedia or Airbnb, the so-called OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) to benefit from their increased digital presence to distribute the places that hotels market. It is worth noting that currently, more than 70% of bookings in the hotel sector are made online and most of them are monopolised by OTAs. Well, in this article we are going to discuss how to attack digital marketing for hotels and make the most of the available places.
The main concern of the hotel is to achieve full occupancy, however when this is achieved or when it is above 80%, the important thing is to improve the profitability of occupancy. How to do this? While direct costs can always be reduced, one of the main ways to improve profitability is through the direct sale of rooms, skipping the intermediaries of Booking, Expedia or Airbnb that can charge up to 20% of the amount paid by the client.
However, this is not an easy task, as OTAs invest a lot of resources in marketing and technology to drive the growth of bookings and therefore take the lion’s share of the digital demand in the tourism sector. The question is then, how can a hotel without a digital marketing department or millions to invest in acquisition reach that potential customer?
One client we worked with had a turnover of 80% through OTAs and 20% through the direct channel. This meant that he had to pay a lot of commissions which left the company with a very low profit margin.
During the most severe period of the pandemic, we decided to try to increase the percentage of revenue coming through the direct channel, taking advantage of the fact that the OTAs had reduced their investment in advertising as a result of the uncertainty at the time.
How to do it? Specific actions to improve digital marketing for hotels
Develop a website that helps to convert, with the aim of getting bookings.
One of the most important points was to design a mobile first website with a very simple and intuitive booking process. This point is essential if we want users to book directly from our website. It is basically about offering the best booking experience. This point is the first necessary, because otherwise, no matter how much we improve the brand awareness of the hotel, through organic or paid actions, users will not end up finalising the transaction on our website. A very useful tool at this point is Hotjar, which allows you to see recordings of user navigation within your website. We attach an example in this link.
To improve conversion it is essential to work on the booking engine to make it as easy as possible to make a transaction, minimising all distractions and with an interface design fully integrated into the web, so we can create a consistent shopping experience without leaks.
Generate a brand identity and image from zero in Social Networks.
For customers to find you quickly and efficiently once they know you, it is essential that you are present in the different social networks. Be it Instagram, Linkedin or Youtube. This also builds trust and can act as a catalyst for conversion on your website.
Increase brand awareness in the online channel through paid media. Mainly social networks such as Instagram.
Once we have the website optimised and we have created a digital identity so that users can find us on different platforms, such as Instagram, Youtube, etc., we want to send quality traffic. So we implement campaigns through paid media, taking advantage of channels such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Google. The end goal is to attract targeted traffic at an affordable price. When we refer to affordable, we want to underline that the cost of acquiring a customer cannot exceed the benefit that this brings us.
Generate content and distribute it through the website’s blog and social networks.
Another essential point to improve the brand awareness of the hotel in question is to work the organic channel by defining an editorial calendar for social networks and the blog. We use content marketing, taking advantage of our knowledge of the hotel’s location, culture and environment to generate valuable content that could be of interest to customers.
Design a loyalty programme through email marketing.
Finally, we work with email marketing by segmenting the customer database and creating automated chains that keep customers informed throughout the booking process.
Here you can create different automations, such as sending messages on a customer’s anniversary. Sending emails when the customer has been with us for a year, etc. All these actions should be focused on maximising the repeat and LTV of our customers.
Conclusion on how to improve digital marketing for hotels
If you want more details on how to improve your digital marketing for hotels, write us a message and we will be happy to provide you with more information and take your customer acquisition model to the next level.