In the highly competitive field of hospitality (hotels, motels, restaurants, pubs and bars), it is imperative to have a strong internet presence. Creating an effective online marketing campaign isn’t always a simple task — especially for restaurant & hotel owners that are inundated with the tasks of running their business.
Considering the trends of how customers are using the internet to review, research and choose where to stay or eat, the internet (through company websites, social media and customer review service websites) cannot be ignored a key piece of your marketing plan.
Some statistics from 2012 about online booking:
There are 148.3 million travel bookings made on the internet each year.
57% of all travel reservations are made on the internet
65% of same day hotel reservation made from a smartphone.
Some statistics about online review websites (like TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon, Yelp, Google Places, etc).
53% of TripAdvisor users say they won’t book a hotel if it has zero reviews.
More than one third of consumers will not book a hotel room without reading reviews first.
87% of TripAdvisor users feel more confident in their decision when they read the reviews and 98% say they find them “accurate of the actual experience.”
Travelers spend an enormous amount of time researching hotels online. On average, hotel consumers made twelve visits to an Online Travel Agent’s website, requested 7.5 pages per visit, and spent almost five minutes on each page before booking.
92% of internet users read product reviews and 89% of people say that reviews influence their purchasing decision.
A negative review or comment on social media or review websites can lose companies as many as 30 customers.
Based on the statistics above, its imperative to have each of the following:
Website, first and foremost: A website that is professional looking, easy to navigate, and offers engaging, keyword-rich content will provide a successful first impression. The quality of your website’s design and well written, professional content will also reduce your website’s bounce rate. [For more info on Bounce Rate]
Social Media: Make sure you and your staff have a well-definited social media marketing plan that expands and engages your target audience. Through images, videos, articles, contents, promotions and things to do in their local market, they can promote their business while engaging their audience without direct annoying sales pitches. [For more information on Social Media Marketing]
Mobile Capability: A mobile optimized or mobile website is critical for hotels and restaurants. As of November 2012, there are 97.3 million mobile users per month with predictions that half of the US population will be using mobile internet by 2015.
Local Optimization: Search results are increasingly becoming more localized and personalized. Things that impact placement in local search results include the hotel’s location relative to search term, optimization of local profiles, online reviews for the property, and consistency of name, address, phone number, and domain information. Its imperative for hotels and restaurants to have a process in place to verify their listings and reviews on all applicable channels.
Encourage Reviews: Hotels should create a well-defined process for encouraging consumer reviews on TripAdvisor, Google+, Yelp, and even their own website depending on consumer preference for the channel. Management staff should keep regular and consistent tabs on their social media pages and reviews to enhance their business’ reputation and encourage more reviews. This goes for restaurants too; restaurant owners should solicit feedback about the food, the service and the cleanliness of your eatery. To encourage feedback, offer a promotion (10% of their next order, or free night’s stay for their participation in your survey).