Competition in the hospitality sector is extremely fierce. Potential guests now have extensive hospitality options for when they want to travel, from apartments, villas, hotel rooms, hostels, boutique properties and so on.
Independent hotels need to ensure that when guests are searching online for a hotel in their chosen destination that their property stands out. Guests prefer to shop around before finalizing on a property, they want to check the different options available, compare the price points, read the reviews etc.
Hotels need to implement some simple tactics to improve their hotel’s online distribution as well as increase their brand and recall values.
1. Add new distribution channels to your network
Distribution needs to be a constantly evolving strategy. Hoteliers may have reliable channels which provide incremental business for their property, but they shouldn’t only be dependent on them. Hotels need to constantly grow and attract new customers. So they should always be aware of all the distribution channels and analyze the ones which could be beneficial to them.
2. Remarketing using Google Adwords
According to Google, if your hotel is the first one they visit, 96% of the time they will not make a reservation. The guests in most likelihood may have forgotten about the first property that they checked when it comes to finally booking their stay. Hoteliers should use Google Analytics to review potential guests visiting the hotels websites and then using Google Adwords, to create specific ads to be shown on the Google Display Network. This shall exponentially increase the hotel’s brand recall and hotels can even incorporate special offers as incentives for the guests to book with them.
3. Have Mobile friendly Websites or Apps
According to global research firm, eMarketer, in 2016 there were approximately 2.16 billion Smartphone users. Mobile technology is increasing every year and has a direct impact on a hotel’s online distribution system. Hotels need to drive mobile traffic onto their websites and for that to happen, hotels need to have mobile friendly websites and apps, making booking absolutely hassle free for the guest.
4. Metasearch Sites
Ideally a hotel would prefer to have maximum bookings via their own websites so as to do away with any commissions that they need to give to OTA’s or other distribution channels. But Metasearch sites also hold a huge potential for hotels to widen their distribution net and promote their property to a bigger client network.
Price savvy customers want to ensure that 1) they get a property within their budget and 2) they get the best possible deal for that particular hotel. Metasearch sites provide answers to both the solutions, sites such as TripAdvisor, Kayak.com, WeGo.com enable hotels to post their real time pricing and availability giving customers direct access to make their bookings.
5. Implementing Chatbots
Chatbots are a great way for hotels to develop a personal rapport with their guests. Hotels with chatbots are more likely to have better conversions for their property because it provides the guest instant information about the said property. They are also an extra revenue generator since it’s a great tool for hotels to upsell their various points of sales after gathering data about what the guest is looking for and what they like to do.
These simple tactics shall enable independent hotels to stand out from the rest, and that is when potential guests would be able to notice them.
Do you have more such tactics to improve distribution? Let us know in the comment section.
—"Easy Tactics That Will Improve Your Small Hotel’s Online Distribution In 2017",