Create a digital comms plan that bags you direct bookings
The holy grail of any hotel’s online presence is securing bookings directly.
Online Travel Agents have tremendous power within the hotel industry and they’re often the go to booking method for potential guests. But while this helps occupancy, providing a welcome boost to hotel revenue, it comes with the downside of a commission fee.
Ideally, hotels would have guests booking with them directly and thus waiving the added cost of commission. But while this is the ideal scenario, it’s certainly easier said than done.
To do this you need to boost your hotel’s digital presence to touch the public consciousness and ensure they both know about your hotel and know where to go, as well as knowing just what it is that makes your hotel so good.
So how is this done?
Well, a great place to start is PR. It’s a fantastic tool for putting your head above the proverbial parapet and informing people about what you have to offer.
By securing an article with a well-respected publication, such as a national newspaper or a luxury magazine you’re able to demonstrate the authenticity of your brand, while also improving awareness of it. Even in today’s divisive times, people still put their trust in the media, believing in the integrity of a hotel review from a reputable source. Reading a positive review of your establishment gives them confidence that staying with you will be an enjoyable experience.
In our industry, you often hear the old adage that ‘print is dead’ but while there may be truth that print circulation is in decline, it’s certainly far from dead and still commands a daily audience of millions. Many people – especially older people and those with the most leisure time – still rely on the tried and trusted format of reading a newspaper. Using PR to reach that medium is still a key way to boost your brand.
But what has that got to do with digital comms you may ask? Well, each outlet has its own online presence. The nationals often have two separate teams – digital and print – but there’s still an element of crossover and certainly at the regional papers, the print journalist will be responsible for online stories too. So PR in the traditional sense will still leach across to digital, giving an opportunity to target two audiences – those that prefer reading papers and those who like keeping abreast of the news online.
Although OTAs have a large influence, the platform that has the largest influence is the search engine itself. One of the key benefits of digital PR is that it contributes to how high you appear in the search results thrown up by Google and its ilk.