Every penny spent must lever the maximum return possible in all areas of the business. No more so than with online marketing.
So what should you plan to do in 2010?
Well this year is being labelled by many online marketing gurus as “The Year of The Independent”. So what does that mean?
Well in our eyes it means that the technology has come of age and now allows the independent operator access at an affordable cost to the same tools previously only available to the larger operators or to the Online Travel Agents (OTAs)
Accommodation providers need to focus on developing online marketing initiatives that bring the highest rates of return in terms of higher rates, lower commissions and the most bookings.
So what should you’re online focus be for the next twelve months? Well it should be the things that have got the best means of providing the Return on Investment.
Concentrate on the basics as they consistently bring in the most bookings and the highest returns. Some industry analysts estimate that more than 75% of hotel website bookings originate directly from these four basic areas alone.
- Website Redesign
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Paid Search
- Email Marketing
If you haven’t done your website in the past eighteen to twent four months then it is most likely that it requires some sort of surgery. New technology will have passed it by, the design may be dated. A new website with positive images, rich content and integration of social media is now a basic of any hotel website.
It almost goes without saying that a fully integrated online reservations system such as Bookassist is essential.
Search Engine Optimisation
No point having the best website in the world if no-one can find it. Don’t expect loads of business just because your hotel name comes up first. The vast majority of your potential bookers are not looking for you by name. We’ve developed our own 3-6-9 SEO Audi which will help you analyse your website not only month on month but against your key competition. Management of SEO terms and your website content is an ongoing process that once again can provide stunning increases in traffic leading to greater opportunity to convert.
It is essential and whilst the investment may be unseen, the results are not.
If used without caution it can be expensive but managed properly pay per click can provide excellent rates of return on the money spent. It really is worthwhile to allocate a decent budget to paid search for 2010 and monitor click throughs and bookings generated. It can be easily managed and monitored and should not be overlooked.
Direct contact with your previous customers is maybe an accepted principle but it like the other basics above requires creativity and strategic planning. It’s no longer just about sending out brochures. It may involve post departure email questionnaires, deep linking to exclusive offers and certainly strong management of the design and content of newsletters. Mailing to customers who know you is very rarely viewed as junk or annoying, it may not be relevant at that particular time but one of those occasions it will push the button.
If you can focus the majority of your 2010 online marketing budget and efforts on these four areas and monitor your results so that you can allocate more of your budget to those specific elements in each initiative that works.
It doesn’t mean you systematically ignore Social Media and other offline tools but get the basics right when money is tight and can see dramatic increases in Return on Investment.
For more information on improving your ROI give us a call on 01292 521404 or send us an email