Hotel Industry Online Marketing Blog

Digital Marketing Solutions for the Hospitality Industry.

 

  • How to grow Direct Bookings Online

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Over the last few years there has been a significant growth both in the number of Hotel Brand Protectionthird party options for booking a hotel room online and also in the level of competition to capture more of a hotel’s brand revenue in a cluttered online market.

    At the Hospitality Technology Show held in London earlier this year, a panel of experts discussed how hotels can capture more of their direct business online and the highlights of the discussion are included in  -http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Article/13157/How-to-capture-direct-bookings-guest-data.

    Although the level of competition online, for a hotel’s brand and key terms, can very greatly depending on the type of hotel or the location, all hotels can benefit from paying attention to the basics when it comes to managing their brand online and growing direct revenue.

    Website:

    Ensure that your website is easy to navigate. That there is relevant and fresh content, to inform and capture interest. That there are strong visual elements – images, galleries, videos etc and clear calls-to-action and reasons to book.

    Customer Database:

    Use rewards & incentives to encourage customers to convert to direct online when next booking. Implement personalisation of communication with customer databases and good data capture at check-in and pre and post stay communications.

    Product:

    Ensure that the best rates and offers are always available on your own site and any discounts or promotional campaigns running on third party channels should at the very least be matched on the hotel site. Clearly highlight the benefits of booking direct on both the website and in the engine and also include incentives or rewards for booking direct.

    Get Social:

    Use social platforms to encourage interaction and to generate brand awareness and loyalty and to also create social and user-led content.

    Although third party channels will continue to deliver significant levels of bookings to hotels, the value of effectively managing direct bookings will pay dividends as they often come at a much cheaper rate, and also ensure that the hotel can manage a direct relationship with each customer with future benefits with repeat business and shared recommendations.

  • Some Thoughts on Mobile

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    There is no denying that the percentage of visits and bookings to hotels from mobile devices continues to grow and as its relevance increases, so does the discussion Mobile Websiteson what constitutes best practice for mobile marketing. In1 Solutions has been providing both mobile websites and mobile booking engines to hotels for a number of years and we have included some of our findings below, together with some industry tips:

    • Minimal Mobile Design – keeping the colour schemes simple and the mobiles sites uncluttered. You can read more on minimal mobile design on the Econsultasncy blog and how keeping it simple can often work best in the restricted space of a mobile environment.
    • When to be Responsive – deciding when a responsive solution is best for your property or when to default to a mobile designed site for mobile devices? We have found that in some cases defaulting to a mobile device can work best when the market is looking for a quick and easy way to book accommodation online, rather than looking to browse through multiple pages and sections on various products and services on offer in a hotel. However, when promoting weddings or destination spas, then it can be more suitable to provide the full website in a responsive format for mobile devices, an example of this is our responsive site for the Shelbourne Dublin wedding site.
    • Keep it Fresh - when offering a dedicated mobile website as opposed to a responsive site, it is just as important to keep the content relevant and interesting. Up-dating the information and offers on a regular basis will ensure that your mobile site delivers online.
    • Mobile PPC – When devising your Pay Per Click campaign you need to ensure that you research your market and understand their online habits, with regard to the various devices they use and which they are most likely to make online purchases on. You then need to ensure you have the right allocation of your monthly budget to mobile devices, keeping a close eye on the conversion rate, geo-targeting and particular objectives for each campaign.

    All companies who offer their product for sale online are operating in the mobile marketplace, as it is just a device option for viewing or purchasing online and as such should form part of an integrated online marketing strategy. However, there are two key elements that warrant paying particular attention to the mobile element of you strategy and they are size and data. With a well designed responsive website there is no real difference between viewing a hotel site on a desktop, laptop or tablet and in general they are viewed using an internet connection. However, although a responsive site can help to alleviate the issue of viewing a website on a mobile, if they are viewing without a WiFi connection, then the size of the content on a site can be an issue. Fully understanding your market and their online preferences and adapting your mobile strategy to best meet their expectations, will ensure that you have an effective mobile strategy that delivers.

  • Fully Realise the power of Imagery in 2014

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Two key elements running side-by-side will determine more than ever the success of online marketing campaigns, and they are content and imagery. PictureWe have already highlighted the importance of content in a number of blogs over the last few months, however, whilst relevant content is also important for SEO, Social media and websites in attracting visitors and encouraging them to interact, the power of relevant and attractive imagery should never be underestimated.

    For both websites and social media platforms the emphasis on strong visual content has increased over the last year with Facebook campaigns receiving more likes, comments and shares for those with strong and relevant imagery. On both Google + And Facebook, photo uploads has been the most popular activity over the last year. The increased use of mobiles and the growth of responsive technology has seen a move to adaptable sites which rely more on imagery to create an impression and encourage engagement.

    Ensuring you have high quality, relevant and appropriate imagery will enhance your online marketing presence, increasing visitor numbers and interaction, whether it is on websites or social media platforms.

     

  • Some SEO Predictions for 2014

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    2013 saw a number of key updates to search engine optimisation from Google, such as Hummingbird. Many of these changes to approach and updates to algorithms will only  become apparent during 2014. SEO These changes include some of the impacts discussed in this blog back in October 2013 - Google’s latest algorithim – “Hummingbird” – such as semantic search and the increased relevance of content marketing.

    Reviewing some of the many predictions released in early January from online marketing companies and SEO specialists from around the world, we have provided a summary of what we feel will be key influencing factors for the coming months.

    • Content Marketing – compelling, quality content that is relevant and encourages the visitor to engage will continue to be an important factor
    • Semantic Search  -  in essence search engines have become more intelligent. Search based on a better understanding of searcher intent increases the importance of relevant content, with less emphasis on individual keywords.
    • Mobile  – With almost half of all emails viewed on a mobile device and mobile search continuing to grow it is more important than ever to ensure that your mobile site is well optimised and that the site performs well with regard to loading time, general speed and overall user experience.
    • Social Media – having a strong social presence continues to grow as an influencing factor and should be completely integrated into a cohesive online marketing strategy to work hand-in-hand with more traditional SEO activities and content marketing.
    • Relationship based Link Building – to be effective and avoid penalties, link building should be based on strategic relationships. This is a much slower way of creating a link strategy, but will be much more effective.
    • Long-Tail Keywords – As with the growth of semantic search and natural language queries, search now better handles long-term keywords which are often less competitive and more relevant for particular searches. Although they have been around for a while, they have often been overlooked as a way of delivering more visitors.
    • Well structured websites, with relevant on-page SEO  – Although social and content have grown in relevance, it is still important to ensure that a website is well structured with good navigation structures and on-page SEO that is drawn from sound keyword and market research
    • Google + – Predictions have been made for a while now as to how relevant Google + will be to search engine rankings and whilst the jury is still out there is no denying that it continues to grow as a social platform and has been further integrated across other platforms and Google products to ensure that it is a player in Google world! Elements such as Google + posts appearing in search result pages will continue to grow.

    The above are only a selection of factors which we believe will impact on SEO for the coming year and whilst some will be more important that others, factoring them into SEO strategies for 2014 will enhance their prospects for success.

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  • Responsive Websites – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Back in April we wrote an article on whether To Be or not to Be Responsive, Responsive Website Designhighlighting the benefits of an improved user experience across all devices. At the time responsive website design and build was still a new phenomenon, however, since then it has been widely adopted by small and large companies and with the number of people accessing the internet on multiple devices, it has become even more relevant.

    While there are many well documented benefits to using a responsive website, there is also the bad and the ugly of responsive website designs. These include;

    • a longer than normal development and build process – with a requirement to design and test the site according to a large variety of screen sizes and to ensure that each element will respond effectively on all devices and most importantly of all suits the user as well as the device.
    • a certain percentage of users will still have older browsers which offer limited support for responsive sites

    One of the main reasons to move to a responsive website design is to improve user friendliness and usability across all devices. The key is not to focus on a design that works across all devices, but to deliver a responsive site that not only works well across all devices, but that delivers content and a user experience that delivers on their expectations and thereby supports a higher conversion rate on whatever goals have been set for each section of a site.

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