With online distribution continuing to grow, now is the time to ensure your business is ready for the future and able to drive bookings online.
NB: This is an article from Trivago
However, large hotels and small independent properties alike are facing the same challenge: Without a serious online presence, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill your property and earn a healthy income. But not all is doom and gloom. By following a few simple rules for building a strong online presence, even small independent properties can create a brand that resonates with their audience, wins them bookings, and helps secure their future success.
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Rule #1: Identify your property’s unique selling proposition and core audience
You can’t build a brand without knowing who your audience is and what you have to offer them. Read your reviews and find the common thread weaving your fabric. What sticks out? What’s repeated? Is it your product, or your location, service, or style? That fabric is the making of your brand. Have a fresh pair of eyes look over your property and services; they might see the little touches you no longer notice. Understanding your unique selling proposition will help you reach your guests with information that’s most relevant to them, which will make researching your property more enjoyable.
Rule #2: Have the right images to tell your property’s story
Guests should feel immersed in your property from the moment they first discover your online presence. Aim to entice, excite, and inspire with each image. A photo of a bed is not simply a picture of a bed — you’re not selling the bed. You’re selling the idea of staying in that bed. Each picture should tell a story and capture your unique identity. A professional photographer will have their own ideas but should take some direction from what you want to portray. Are your images capturing these searched-for items?
Rule #3: Make metadata work for you
Guests need to be able to find your property’s online presence; metadata makes their search a lot easier. Each profile you have online contains metadata — or information about your property including location, amenities, etc. — that’s usually found in your property details section. Correctly updating your property’s information (metadata) — especially on metasearch sites such as trivago — will enable the right type of guest to find you when they search online for properties that fit your description.
Rule #4: Work strategically with your OTA partners
Strike a balance of direct and indirect distribution that works for your business. Give your guests a chance to book direct by making future bookable dates for selected room types only available on your direct channels. If you don’t manage to sell the rooms directly in time, work with your booking partners to catch last-minute guests. There are a multitude of different OTAs — figure out which best attract your target audience. Help keep your commission costs down by working with a handful of selected partners. The more active the marketplace is, the fairer the commission costs will be. Advertise added value for guests booking direct (think special offers such as complimentary gifts) instead of focusing solely on room rates.