Much like many industries, the hotel and hospitality industry are way behind the power curve when it comes to marketing. Many are just now starting to shift their strategies online which makes sense because the majority of searches, research, and bookings are now done online. Hotels around the world need to start moving away from the full FLASH websites and starting thinking about conversions and improving their online presence.
So what are the best strategies for hotels to use when putting together and online marketing campaign?
We would typically suggest a mix of Internet marketing channels that compliment one another (dependent on budget). The key elements that would be included in a hotel Internet marketing package would include organic search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, a landing page strategy to support the PPC campaign, email marketing, and social media. Included in the social media campaign should be a strong online reputation management campaign designed to have plan and response when negative reviews are posted.
How does a hotel know what to outsource and what to bring in-house?
This will be different for every hotel Internet marketing campaign (and different for every hotel management company depending on resources, staff, etc.). At first, it would be recommended to outsource these efforts to industry experts such as a comprehensive Internet marketing company or and social media company. Gradually, as a hotel builds the knowledge of their internal marketing staff much of the social media and email marketing can be done in-house but some regular consultations with experts is still crucial.
When is a good time to start this effort?
Yesterday! Many hotels out there do not even realize what is being said about them on sites like Trip Advisor and other travel sites. Online reputation management is crucial for this effort. Many people think online reputation management is about posting fake comments about how great a specific brand is. The best thing to do when facing negative press online is follow these three steps. (1) Listen to what people are saying and if they have valid comments – look into the problem and fix it. (2) This leads to the second step which is to prepare a plan for a response mentioning that you are providing a solution to the problem. (3) Finally, make it a practice to monitor what people are saying about your hotel or company online and get involved in the discussions so customers know you are listening, available, and attentive.
For example, Internet Marketing Inc. is now officially a Las Vegas Internet marketing company as we have officially opened our office there. One of our main focuses is to educate the hotel industry about how to optimize their online marketing efforts, use conversion optimization and analytics to measure success, and how to use online reputation management to their benefit.