Hotel Owner Hotel Owner July 2017 digital - Page 50

MARKETING MATTERS | AGONY AUNT Q&A WITH ANGIE PETKOVIC Marketing Matters It seems that a common theme to a lot of your queries is how to increase direct bookings and reduce the commission paid to booking engines. There are also a number expressing concerns over these search engines ranking higher than your own site, and how to tackle this W hen it comes to direct bookings, place fairly regular but inconsistent bookings, from anyone searching. Your focus needs there are two key customer streams; we have been able to reward businesses to be on using available digital platforms to existing customers who are returning with loyalty rates and in one or two cases, drive awareness and rankings. Search engine to you and new customers visiting for the first have even worked with the business to rankings are not an exact science, but you can time. These two audiences have to be tackled provide hotel stays as employee perks. Not influence rankings quite easily with some of the in different ways. all of the businesses have been receptive, following tricks: due to challenges with procurement • Keyword your site well – think about what Building loyalty with existing customers processes, but it has been effective enough someone will be searching for, and make I recently did an exercise with a client looking to warrant doing. sure you have a page about it. For example, at their bookings over the last three years; 3. Communicating regularly. You’ll be surprised if people might search “Hotels Oxford Town one statistic in particular stuck with me. The how few hotels communicate specifically business has a lot of corporate custom, and and regularly with their repeat guests. They each year, approximately 35-40% of their total may do an emailer to the entire database, sales are from repeat guests; even though but not to this specific segment. By sending keywords are a great way to improve this represents over a third of the business, of regular reminders, offers, updates and even rankings; a) they provide space for you to these repeat customers, only 41% book direct a targeted promotional item, customers are add more keywords, b) they keep the site with the hotel, the rest rebooking through starting to make more direct bookings and current and c) they give you scope to link third-party providers. This repeat custom was less booking engine ones. your business to others in the area. For therefore costing the business more than The perk is that these customers are already example, writing a blog about guests visiting £15,000 per year in commission fees alone on your database, and there is no need at all the Eden Project Bulb Mania will help you – a total and unnecessary waste of money! for them to use booking engines. This means appear on the list when someone searches Speaking specifically with a cross-section where your website ranks and performance for hotels near the Eden Project (if you are of these guests, common reasons for using have a limited impact and you can make booking engines include ease, and difficulty small but mighty changes to your revenue, remembering the hotel’s name. quickly and simply. Centre” then make sure you have a page that talks about your hotel in Oxford Town Centre. • Start a blog – blogs, populated with actually nearby of course). • Encourage reviews and PR – getting external sites linking to yours makes it more relevant. Inviting journalists to visit and review, This statistic is powerful and although I hesitate to do mid-year performance analysis, Gaining new customers encouraging bloggers to come along, using the initial changes that we made to marketing Gaining new customers is more of a challenge review sites, all link back to your website and are already having an impact on commission. and you will find it difficult to get your own For the first six months of the year, average website, with its several thousand visitors, to • Drive traffic via social media and email – monthly commission is down from £1,250 to rank anywhere close to the booking engines don’t forget your own platforms; sharing £690, and the direct bookings have increased who have hundreds of thousands of visitors visual posts and interesti [ܛX][ۂH IHو\X]\Y\ NIH HH[]XY\X\][Y]ˈ]XHX[YYXH[[XZ[[\Y\[[ܙX\H܈H\[\ˈXY][\۸&]]\YX[]\H]\K]\]ܜH]HX[XZ[Z[[\[\ݙ[Y[\Y[ۙH[YH^\Έ[H]HH[Z]Y\Z[\[\ݙH[[˂KXYX[H\[Y\X\X\H[[\[H[\X[B[[\ݙH[[˂\X[[HY[HXܘ]]K[]\[[H܈[ˈHYX[[ܙHۙ]\K[H[Z]\\H[\Z[H[ܙH[[[[\]H[[[Y[Z\[ۋH[[\]H[\]\K]H H]]\[H[HYYHۜ\[ ]HY[XH[ܙX\HH[YHو]X[]HX[Hܘ[[YH[[Z[] XYX[[\HH\[[^XܘYX[XX[]YX[[H\[\ˈ[ ܈[\[YH[[\H[\Z[[\ݙ\[YK\YX[\H\[ۙ^H[HY]\X[[\[X[ZHۙ\]\[H܈Z\X[K[[[]\ٙ]H[Z\[ۈ][]H[YH]ݚX\X[Y[œX\[H][\[X\܈YۚYX[ۙ]\H[Y]ˈ\X܈وTX\][ H[\]HݙY[\۝X[H\[\\[\B[]YX[ H\K\X[\[\\]L˚[ۙ\˝Z–[HYYX\[H۸&]^YYBY[H]HHX\][X]\[[وH[[[\][H[[x&YZH[YH[\[XZ[HY[Y\H\]X][[ۈ[YP\X\][˘˝Z’[H M