In this episode we share the online marketing strategy we use with clients in the hotel, tourism and hospitality space.
This episode is designed to be a broad strokes guide for businesses of this type an is similar to what we’d present in one of our online marketing workshops.
A warning upfront: the strategy outlined here could easily be a 12 month project so important that you take this into consideration while you’re listening and not get overwhelmed.
The episode is split into two sections, quick wins, must haves and low hanging fruit and then the more broad higher level business strategy.
Quick Wins, Must haves and Low Hanging Fruit:
High quality photography
This goes without staying that you need the best possible quality photos on your site but so many businesses have horrible photos on their website.
You know yourself when you’re booking at hotel or looking a booking a trip or making some sort of reservation one of the first things you probably look at one a website are the photos.
Especially in the tourism and hospitality space, high quality, professionally taken photos are an extremely important part of your overall marketing strategy.
Our episode with Matt Reed is a fantastic one if you need to up-level your photography or are simply not sold on the power of photos, here’s the link:
Click play on the video below and here from Matt directly about why photos are so important:
Video can also be an extreme powerful online marketing tool, a brief about us or “tour” style video can really up-level your sales and marketing game (if the video is done well!)
Here’s a great example from a DidgeridooBreath.com, a didgeridoo shop and popular tourist destination in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Online Booking Capability
People expect to be able to book flights, hotels, trips and make reservations online. They want to be able to make a true booking with a credit card and not just submit a request through a form.
In today’s world this is not optional, customers need to be able to buy, book or reserve AND pay directly on your website.
Reviews & Review Management/Monitoring
This is simple. You need online reviews. After looking at the photos the next thing website visitors do is check the reviews so it’s critical that you have a strategy in place to get reviews on an ongoing basis.
This can easily be automated with a tool like getfivestars.com
It’s also important you are monitoring reviews on an ongoing basis and respond to negative reviews in a timely manner
Airbnb & Tripadvisor profiles
Airbnb.com can be a goldmine for small hotels and accommodation providers and is definitely worth testing as a marketing channel.
A profile on Tripadvisor.com is pretty much mandatory these days as it’s generally the goto place for most people when they’re looking for reviews or travel suggestions.
Many business owners have the wrong mindset when it comes to online marketing strategies.
Fixing your mindset, particularly around time and cost investment, is a key part of making your online marketing strategy work effectively.
Unfortunately most small businesses owners choose services based on price instead of features, benefits and expected performance. Looking at the expected return on a service first, and then working backwards to determine what you can afford or an appropriate budget is a much better approach.
Other common mistakes in thinking and mindset:
- The blind quest wanting to be “number 1 in google” – for which term, which device, which location and which number 1 are you talking about? The Adwords results? The Google Maps results? Google Shopping or just the regular unpaid, organic search results (which are now often halfway down the page)?
- Thinking “Adwords is expensive”, it’s not if it works!
- Having a set and forget attitude – those days are over. You website and marketing strategy needs regular attention in order to deliver consistent and regular results.
- Looking at competitor websites and Google rankings continually/regularly/obsessively without working on your own site.
- Expecting overnight success and falling for sales gimmicks and tricks, e.g. “don’t pay until you rank”. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Those too good to be true offers do work in some cases but in other cases they can damage the underlying SEO fundamentals of your website so badly that you need to rebuild the site on a new domain.
- Only taking action when your business is in trouble…this is the worst time to be trying to get online marketing momentum!
Having website content that matches the market expectations is critical, pages you’ll commonly need:
- a photo or gallery page
- testimonials and review page
- online booking page
- contact us page
- location page for every location with an embedded Google Map and link to Google Maps
- a detailed page for each product, service or experience you offer
High quality email and web hosting
There’s no excuse for email problems with today’s technology. Our email hosting providers of choice are Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 is the better one if you’re used to using Microsoft Outlook. Google Apps is the business version of Gmail.
Many businesses try to get the cheapest web hosting possible which is a terrible idea. You know yourself, if a website is slow to load or unreliable you quickly lose patience and click away. Visitors to your website behave in exactly the same way. Slow and unreliable websites also hurt your Google ranking!
Brendan’s company has built a high performance, search engine friendly hosting product specifically for this reason: https://www.thesearchengineshop.com/website-hosting/
For more detailed information on hosting check out our hosting episode:
SEO & Adwords (aka a search engine strategy)
If you’re planning on getting traffic from the search engines then you’re going to need an SEO and Adwords strategy.
At a very minimum you should have an Adwords campaign running against your brand name as aggregator sites and booking agents like Agoda and Tripadvisor will absolutely be advertising and ranking their sites for your brand/business name.
Email marketing & social media
Email marketing is generally underdone in the hospitality space or done extremely poorly.
In episode 8 we talked in more detail about email marketing: http://www.businessmarketingshow.com/episode-8-email-marketing/
Click here to listen on iTunes or click the Play button below to play from your web browser.