June 8, 2010
Today, being online ‘having a website’ is vital for every hotel as most people planning a trip use the internet to research their trip and so all bookings from air and bus ticket to hotel rooms. Given the importance of the online medium, most hoteliers already have launched or are in the process of launching their hotel inventory online. If you are new to the online travel market, you may not be aware of the many dangers and pitfalls that await you. This lack of awareness may cause you to unknowingly make mistakes that puts off rather than attracts guests. To prevent such a situation, here are some mistakes you should to avoid making as they can result in lower room occupancy rates and lower profit margins.
Don't start promoting before everything in place. Before you begin marketing and promoting your hotel website, you need to make sure that everything is in place. You do not want visitors to arrive on your hotel website and find under construction signs or dead links as it will put them off. This can be disastrous, as people almost never return to such a website. So, make sure that all critical work on your website is completed and inventory is uploaded before you begin marketing it.
Don't forget to popularize your hotel’s URL in traditional media. In midst of setting up and/or running your hotel, many hoteliers forget to include their hotel website URL to all their advertising and marketing communication. Popularizing your hotel’s URL in traditional media is an extremely important business opportunity as it creates awareness amongst potential guests that you have a convenient online reservation option. Remember, if your potential guests don’t know that you have an online registration facility then they will not visit and they will not book. This could mean that you receive a far lower number of reservations than estimated as most people expect the convenience of online hotel reservations. So, make sure that all communication – brochures, ads, business cards etc. prominently displays your hotel’s URL.
Don't forget about using search engines to build awareness. Search engines are an important part of your online marketing strategy. Every person uses search engines to locate information. To ensure quality results, submit your hotel website to few popular search engines and post your banners on websites potential guests are known to visit rather than indiscriminately submitting your website to every search engine and posting banners on all possible websites. This will ensure you receive quality traffic, which is better than quantity.
Don’t fall for tricksters. No. 1 ranking on search engines ensures that your hotel gets maximum views from interested parties. However, do not fall for tricksters touting 'instant number 1 ranking on search engines' propaganda. Search Engines are aware of the existence of such individuals and work hard to block them. If they suspect foul play, you will find your website blocked. Do it the right way even if it is a longer process.
Do not forget to ‘Analyze and Measure’. Knowing where majority of your hotel website’s traffic arrives from, which banner lead to the highest conversion rate and more, will give you insights about your guests and will help you to fine tune your online marketing campaigns to achieve better results. So, always track, analyze and measure traffic on your website.
These 'don't' are just some of the more commonly ones made by hoteliers new to the online market. We hope by making you aware of these mistakes, your transition from offline to online is smoother.