With increasingly connected and mobile guests, hotels are finding it important to adapt in order to maintain and grow their market share. Traditional marketing channels, though still available and relevant, are no longer the place where hotels are finding the majority of their customers.
Instead, guests are relying on digital technology more than ever to find and book hotels, and the most successful hotels, and those pulling market share away from their competitors are the businesses effectively leveraging these digital technologies.
There are three things that you as a hotelier should be doing in order to maximise your presence online, and therefore remain competitive against other hotels in the area:
A strong presence on a mobile device
Mobile websites need to be developed and organised differently to conventional websites. Developing a strong mobile website takes work, but it’s an essential effort to make. Consider this; currently 8% of all online bookings are made through mobile devices. And more data from SiteMinder’s free eBook ‘How to diversify your hotel’s distribution strategy’, shows that this number is escalating rapidly. It’s predicted that by 2018, the number of bookings via mobile will be closer to 38%.
In real terms, that means that without a strong, compelling mobile website you’re giving up on over a third of your customers within the next three years. That’s a sure-fire way to shrink, not grow, your market share. Alternatively, with a compelling mobile website, you’re going to pick up a lot of business from those who aren’t investing in mobile technology.
A strong presence on social media
Social media can be a pain, and you only need to read the news to realise just how wrong a social media marketing campaign can go for a company. But building a strong social media presence is essential for any modern business, including hotels.
Statistics show that 52% of travellers use social media to help plan their trip. That means that if you have a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, the traveller is much more likely to find you, than if you rely on them discovering you through other means.
Furthermore, if your hotel is popular on social media, 76% of travellers will pay more for a hotel that has a higher guest satisfaction. So do your best to get those online reviews and ratings on websites such as TripAdvisor going.
Each social network requires a different approach, and developing these skills does take time, but the most prominent businesses on social media tend to be the ones that become the go-to and the must-visit.
A strong presence across online travel agents
There will continue to be a role for traditional travel agencies, and it’s important that as a hotelier you maintain these robust channels as an opportunity for outreach into the community. At the same time, it’s impossible to ignore the growth of online travel agents (OTAs), which according to SiteMinder’s free eBook ‘How to diversify your hotel’s distribution strategy’ have reported 11% growth year-on-year for the past six years.
Being present, visible, and well-represented with OTAs online will be a key way your hotel attracts and converts new guests. And new business means drawing market share away from rivals.
There are, of course, many other things that hotels can do to maximise market share growth. These three, however, form the core digital strategy that statistics show will be most effective in the years ahead.