Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
These days it’s not only business travelers who are looking for hotels which offer free Wi-Fi. A survey of U.S travelers by Trip advisor in January 2012 clearly shows that free Wi-Fi is the most sought after amenity when staying at a hotel, and 88% of travelers expect free Wi-Fi at all lodgings. For business travelers it is the single most important service for a hotel to offer.
Though the survey might not be universally representative, it still speaks to the changing services that hotels must provide these days. Obviously staying connected with friends and family is something that many travelers put a high priority on, and they want to be able to do it at their convenience.
As smart phones and other mobile devices increase their market share, instant access to information and one’s network becomes an integrated part of people’s habits and they want to take that with them on their holidays too. There are still hotels which do not provide free in-room Wi-Fi access but charge an expensive fee for access. You can be sure that many guests will think twice before staying at such hotels for a second visit.
The survey, of course, does not only speak of the need for hotels to offer free Wi-Fi (and breakfast, among others). Probably the most important point is that travelers make a reservation for a hotel and subsequently look around for other hotels. If they find a place offering better amenities, they will cancel their previous reservation. This highlights the need for not only getting the basics right but also offering services that set you apart from the competition.
Google has recently launched Search Plus Your World, SPYW for short, and as we mentioned in our previous blog post it will likely have implications on Google search results. The big change is that searches now include personal content if you are logged into Google+. Results are tailored to the individual user based on several parameters.
One of these parameters is the social profile of your online contacts and friends and this is the most groundbreaking change and one that has left some people worried about whether Google will still be able to offer the most relevant results. But the opportunity, especially for small businesses, is to create content on their Google+ page that is relevant to their target audience and the possibility to compete more equally with big companies is definitely there.
It is still early days for SPYW and it is therefore difficult to judge its impact but it signals the start of a whole new kind of personalization of search results even though so far it is for Google+ content only. It is currently a problem for Google that most people still prefer Facebook and Twitter over Google+ and a migration is not, at least in the short term, on the horizon.
Still, Google seem positive about Google+ and although it is only supposed to be users of Google+ who will see their searches affected by the new changes, people in the SEO community fear that content from Google+ will carry more weight in regular searches as well. If the new changes start to seriously impact searches there is no good reason for hotels not to sign up and use it to improve search rankings on Google. The thing to remember is it still comes down to shareable, linkable and quality content and this should be your focus no matter the platform.If it turns out that Google is stacking the deck in favor of its own product and it becomes significant for regular searches it is important to be there from the beginning to build a community around your business by sharing your content there as well.
Let’s start the new year with some fresh stories about hotel marketing:
- Google+ and Google+ Pages: This year Google launched its own social media platform and it is now available for businesses as well.
- OTAs: OTAs still play a big part in hotel online marketing. But at a high cost in terms of commission. Many independent hotels are trying to break their addiction to OTAs by paying closer attention to other advertising channels such as their own hotel websites and social media.
- Mobile Sites: More and more people are searching and booking a hotel room on their mobile devices. Mobile compatible websites for hotels have become more and more important. A lot of hotels lose customers when the booking engine on their website does not work on mobile devices.
- TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor is the main source of guest’s experiences and reviews. Throughout the year there were reports about fake reviews or forced reviews by hotel owners. Hoteliers should have ways to encourage reviews and smart ways to prevent or deal with bad reviews.
- Social Media Marketing: Social media has emerged as a new channel for hotels advertising online and at the same time engaging with customers. It can be an effective and cost saving tool especially for small and independent hotels. But it works very differently to regular advertising.
- The Use of Video: Visual appeal or photographs are not the only thing site visitors want to see, they now wish to learn about your hotel in a more experiential way by watching video of your property. Videos taken by other guests tend to be preferred over professional, managed productions.
Looking Ahead into 2012: what are the predictions?
Previously there were a lot of complaints about how Google+ Pages only had one owner who could manage the page as well as not being able to transfer ownership. But now Google is offering a new service for its users making it possible to add multiple page managers and transfer ownership to another person’s account.One Google+ page can add up to 50 managers but only one remains the page owner who can add/remove other mangers as well as transfer ownership to another one.
Here is how to add managers to your Google+ page
- Sign in to your Google+ account
- Choose the page you would like to add managers or transfer page ownership
- Go to “Option” on the top-right of your page
- Then select “Manager”
- Add managers one by one by email address and the invitation will be sent to their Gmail and they need to accept it first
Page ownership transfer can only be done between page managers. If the person you wish to transfer ownership to is not an existing manger of the page, you need to add him/her as a manager and wait for the acceptance first. Then go to setting menu (same as mentioned above) and select “Manager”. You will see “Transfer ownership” option on the right and click on it. You now can choose the new page owner and you, the old owner, automatically become a manager of the page. No confirmation is needed from the new owner.
Small Hotel Solutions has been collecting the latest news about hotel online and offline marketing which might be interesting and useful to hotel owners:
As consumers become more aware of the environmental and social impacts of their choices, companies are increasingly held to higher ethical standards than before. This attitude also travels with people on their holidays, and social responsibility is set to become a larger component of the hospitality industry in the coming years.
Smaller hotels can have an advantage over the big chains in dealing with local communities and implementing sustainable practices simply because of their size. As a small hotel, it is easier to get an overview and find out where to focus your attention. Similarly it is easier to become an actor within the community.
Becoming socially aware and involved in your local community can have surprising indirect benefits for business. When you integrate with your local community, your guests are likely to enjoy a much more authentic experience of place, a key factor to many travellers these days. There are many ways that your hotel can be a part of your local community including supporting the community’s activities, having a local workforce or buying local food and products to use in your hotel.
Hotel owners need to start thinking of local communities and the environment as stakeholders in their business and realizing their responsibilities. It does require work and it might mean engaging with, for example, local universities or municipalities for knowhow and ways to measure environmental sustainability. For many tourist destinations it is a mix of cultural diversity and the natural environment that make them attractive to visitors in the first place; therefore one should be interested in these issues anyway. If you take care of the local then the local will take care of you.
As more and more people browse on mobile devices as opposed to computers, it is important for your hotel to have mobile compatible website plus a booking engine which works well on all mobile devices. You can easily loose customers to frustration when they fail to access content or can’t book the room on their smartphones. Here are a few articles to get you on your way to achieving a mobile friendly website:
Good reviews on TripAdvisor can be magnificently useful in advertising and promoting hotels, at the same time bad reviews can damage reputation and revenue. Hoteliers should listen closely to what people say about their hotels and have a strategy in place to respond promptly. Below are interesting posts about different aspects of reviews on TripAdvisor.
Your hotel website is the first place where you and your guests meet. Most hotels websites we see today are rather similar to one another. Having a quality website, one that stands out from the crowd, will help present your hotel’s personality and, ultimately, convert site visitors into customers. Here are some good guidelines on what makes an effective hotel website:
And some articles with fresh ideas from our web development and marketing team: