Direct sales in hotel industry have been history for some time now. Development of online tools and mobile devices has resulted in boost of e-commerce, which stands a good chance of becoming one of the most important industries in our country. How to make our online sales successful and which tools will be used in 2014? Which elements are essential to our online marketing plans? Finally, why should we study ROI (return on investment) information that can be collected and analysed thanks to technological developments?
The number of mobile reservations is growing rapidly. Experts estimate that by 2017 as many as 50% of reservations will be made with the use of mobile devices. What is more, research performed by Google and Nielsen in March 2013 show that only 2% of all users are searching for tourism-related content. Yet, this type of searching shows promising return results, as 12% of all searches results in a purchase. Mobile users are also more prone to make use of Google AdWords and other similar advertisements. Over 65% of them read such content and 59% find it useful. What is the key to success then? Mobile version of a home page of any hotel chain website is a must these days. Website content or promotional text should be created with the use of creative design, which simply means this - our website must look good and must be user-friendly irrespective of the screen size.
It's an open secret that in marketing picture content is 10 times more efficient than text. It is also much more attractive for our potential Guests, which is confirmed by popularity of online channels such as YouTube, boasting one billion visits per month. Another good example is Vine software introduced by Twitter. It enables its users to create short, real-time video clips. So it may be worthwhile to use a short clip in promotion of our product. There are many ideas to make it successful. We may focus on making the presentation of our product dedicated to creating desired image and emotions. We may also use an expert-hosted video and answer questions about our product asked by viewers or design a sales-oriented video, just like those available at answear.com. For example Qubus Hotel has decided to create a video presentation of our breakfasts consisting of over 100 products. Our animated film showing the work of our Housekeeping Department staff got positive reviews and it will be additionally used in our recruitment process.
According to turystykawinternecie.pl, more than 50% of all users search for tourism-related content on the Internet. Yet, only few decide to buy the product on the spot. On average, a potential Guest will view at least 11 websites before making the final choice. This in turn makes him or her prone to forgetting the content viewed in the process of selection. This is where we can use remarketing, which apart from supporting our sales can also be used to increase awareness of the hotel brand, including its individual offers.
Metasearch engines are becoming more and more popular. TripAdvisor, Kayak or Trivago have grown to become a real challenger for HRS or Booking.com. According to WIHP (marketing agency) research, 57% of all Guests visit home pages of individual hotels via metasearch engines. This is where they compare the price with the offer displayed at the broker's website. The key elements are location, comfort, price and content (the last one will be crucial for Google search results in 2014).
Google Carousel - it's the content and opinions of Guests that really matter
Even though Google Carousel is not available in the Polish market yet, it would be a great way for making hotels more visible on the Internet. According to BrightEdge, majority of key words searched with the use of the Carousel (up to 33%) is connected with travelling and hotel industry. The Carousel will be displayed at the very top of the screen, above paid advertisements. It will be based only on organic search - this is why positive opinions of Guests about individual hotels and proper content of home pages of hotel chains and individual hotels will be so important. From the beginning of 2014 Qubus Hotel facilities can also be found at Google+.
Social media marketing
Forecasts by Forbes indicate that in 2014 LinkedIn, MySpace and Google+ will be the social networking websites to report increase in popularity. The last one will have significant influence on SEO as it evolves within the vast Google system, including Google Carousel and local searching options. Facebook is likely to experience a downfall. Operation of hotel chains within social networks results in increase of loyalty and customer trust. Social media are also helpful in supporting word of mouth and viral marketing. Well-designed social media campaign can reach a large group of potential Guests at low cost and in little time. Additional targeting options available for advertising campaigns (e.g. on Facebook) allow for optimization in real time (real-time marketing). Our chain made the most of this opportunity in the case of wedding campaign, directing the message to a particular group of people
Enables creation of personalized offers based on Guest's location and then delivers desired content automatically. What does it mean? It means that we can send region-specific (taking into consideration particular language, culture and needs) offer to people from a particular region or city. Detailed offer personalization becomes the key to success these days. It is the way to offer even more detailed and tailored offer resulting in higher return.
ROI - the growing role of analytical tools
More and more advanced analytical tools enable us to obtain even more detailed feedback for online advertising campaigns. Conscious spending is not another cliché but a cold fact these days. ROI facilitates assessment of profitability of our actions. Qubus Hotel uses the ratio to monitor its investments in campaigns (analysing the relation of profits to costs).