Would you like to attract more guests online? The reason I ask is that this might be a question rather similar to “Would you like to visit the Seychelles?” The response may be the same, but the follow-up question is whether you’re actually going to do something about it, or is it just wishful thinking?
If you do really want to attract more guests online, have a look through the checklist here and think about which of these ideas need your attention if you’re going to make a serious difference to your online performance this year.
In no particular order…
Do you have enough pictures on your website? Are they up to date? Do they represent the kind of experiences you want your potential customers to dream about? Are they taken by a professional photographer? Do they really show off your property in the best possible light?
Today’s guests are inspired by images, and the gallery sections of websites are among the most frequently viewed pages. Investments in pictures will pay off in maintaining visitors’ interest in your site and leading to better conversion rates.
This can be tricky. Your brand needs a personality, and this has to be reflected in everything you do online. Being authentic means you have to believe in what you do and why you do it – if your online content reads like an advertising ploy it will turn customers off. Customers want to know who you are, and engage on a personal or individual level, so the detached corporate approach is on its way out, as is anything that feels artificial, or a bit forced.
Appearing on one social media platform isn’t enough. You need to be much more widely spread about the internet unless you know exactly where all your potential customers are lurking. However, certain promotional styles are best suited to certain platform types, so you’ll need to vary your approach to exploit the particular strengths of each one. Bear in mind that there is one big drawback to social media: if your product is in any way negatively perceived, social media can magnify the problem and spread it far and wide, so make sure perceptions are positive before you start putting yourself about.
The bad news is that search engine optimization is complicated. The good news is that in many cases it isn’t the problem. Many hotel sites already have the traffic levels they need – the area which needs work is in converting visits to bookings. However, if you haven’t considered this area at all, it would be a good idea to consult an expert, or read up on the key points. One related strategy here is to pay for improved rankings, so your site listing will be shown to more people. Be aware, however, that many internet users tend to ignore such paid search results, and simply move straight to the first ‘genuine’ outcomes.
We are told that the younger generation love to research accommodation and make bookings online. We are also told that these people care about the environment. One way to increase engagement and persuade them to make a booking with you instead of your rivals is to place your green credentials to the forefront. There are several green certification schemes which can attest to the efforts you’re making to save the planet, and membership of such programmes can be the deciding factor when some guests decide where to stay.
People often search for destinations before they search for hotels, so the content your website provides should emphasize the local attractions, activities, and events. This will mean that people who are searching for information about your city will find you through interesting content, allowing you to make a positive impression, and place yourself at the head of the queue when these visitors are deciding where to stay. This is a simple approach that has so much potential to enrich the guest experience before people even arrive.
Respond to reviews
Reviews are vital in building up an online presence, but you can add to their value by responding. If reviews are positive you can offer thanks, and perhaps add further information of your own if it would be relevant. To negative comments you can apologize, and show that you wish to take not of the feedback and improve. Remember authenticity? This is a chance to show who you are, and to be someone guests can respect and trust.
These are just a handful of the things you can be doing to improve your online results. To go deeper, the final thing you need to do is read. Things are changing so quickly in the world of online marketing that whatever you are doing now may be obsolete this time next year. To stay ahead, you have to be reading the latest ideas from industry experts, so make this a part of your weekly routine.