3 opportunities for a better Hotel online Marketing Strategy
The tourism industry is experiencing one of the toughest crises in history. In an unprecedented time for the world, with travel freezes and restrictions on commercial flights in many countries, today’s tourism companies are reinventing themselves acquiring new protocols, and reengineering their products and services. It has been months of reinvention for those who keep their business open. So, it is highly recommended to set up a better hotel online marketing strategy.
Some owners have temporarily transformed their products into virtual services such as remote-tours or online cooking classes. Others have been experiencing the most aggressive forced digital transformation of their business life. All these efforts and resilience now depend on a key indicator: the reactivation of tourism.
The reactivation of tourism
The reactivation of tourism requires that the external and internal conditions are favorable. What are these conditions?
In the external environment, you find government policies for the reopening of commercial flights as well as protocols for attending events, food, accommodation, tours and more. The Safe Travels seal promoted by the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) has been implemented in several destinations and some hotels and travel agencies. Promotion organizations in different countries have worked since the beginning of the pandemic to provide technical-strategic training to hotels. Also, have begun to launch demand revival campaigns.
In the internal environment, you find companies, their competitors, customers, suppliers and distribution channels. The fear of contagion is the main risk that hotels have to deal with and work on mechanisms that inject more confidence in future travelers. A high percentage of people indicate that they would react favorably to offers. This is good news as it doesn’t necessarily mean that hotels should only focus their offers around lowering room rates, but also finding ways to maximize the guest’s benefits.
Let’s stop here for a moment and think about these benefits that travelers are looking for and we can foresee that after the security protocols there are flexible modification and cancellation policies, access to outdoor activities, and higher-category services. On the other hand, many suppliers closed their businesses, some for good. So, it depends on increasing reservations to be able to unfreeze the entire tourism value chain.
The solution: make an improvement plan
In many destinations, the beginning of the recovery is being witnessed. It is estimated that, in most countries, demands will return to its 2019 levels in 2023. Using this as a basis, we will see the necessary improvement plan for hotels to plan from today what they will have to do in the coming years.
Here we highlight 3 opportunities to improve your hotel online marketing strategy that are a priority from the sales side:
1. Development of digital distribution strategy in indirect and direct channels for B2C and B2B sales.
It is time to try new digital sales strategies, starting with an improved website with a hotel booking engine. New online channels can come in handy when trying to reach more potential hotel guests. Many OTAs can help us get to new customers by benefiting from their big online marketing budget. Include B2B channels within the digital strategy (to connect with companies or distributors) and expand your customer segment. We want to look beyond just the guest who generates a reservation: companies and distributors also can provide us with an additional number of customers with different conditions.
2. Management of reservation data in an interconnected and automated digital platform
In times of crisis, those who adapt best are those who generate the greatest competitive advantage. Technology is a key element in the performance of competitiveness. For most hotels, the pandemic has meant a period of acquiring new knowledge and improving processes. No more data stored in several Excel files. One of the best investments that a hotel can make is to centralize its reservation data in a single platform. There, not only the information of each reservation is placed but also many hours of work can be saved when automatically updating the availability in the main online agencies (OTAs). A good channel manager is a tool that every hotel sales and reservations strategy needs to face the reactivation of tourism.
3. Management of direct sales on the website
More and more customers are looking to book directly on the hotel’s website because they seek to have direct contact with their accommodation provider in the case of any contact to improve, modify or cancel their reservation.
In addition, many clients discover that more and more hotels are offering exclusive benefits if they book directly on their hotel booking engine. So, the improvement plan should also consider that people make constant use of contact channels such as social networks, which represents a great improvement opportunity for the hotel to count the impulse of direct bookings on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. Lobby PMS offers a booking engine that can help with this.
On the automation side, the hotel’s booking engine also needs to have the option to allow online payment, which ultimately ensures a lower rate of guests who don’t show up for their reservation.
An example of how to structure your improvement plan
For this hotel improvement plan, some frequent opportunities in the industry are considered, including those that directly affect sales. For this, the following evaluation criteria are assigned, where each variable is scored from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest value and 5 the highest value based on the author’s personal criteria:
- Risk: risk to which the company is exposed if the improvement is not carried out.
- Cost: potential economic impact of not improving.
- Volume: scope of improvement (profit).
You can add many more improvement opportunities where each one needs to be adjusted and planned according to your hotel scenario and reality.
It is important to point out that this plan requires management and owners’ commitment to making it work. As long as demand is low, companies will have more opportunities to improve internally and join business groups in search of the impulse and improvement of external conditions. Every crisis brings change; results come from companies that step on the right side of change by implementing an hotel online marketing strategy according to the situation of the tourism market.
Are you on the right side? Lobby PMS is your technological ally to help you achieve this.