It’s hard to believe, but the official start of summer is upon us! With summer vacation often comes the need for a hotel. As a multi-location hotel brand, what is your business doing to ensure that a future traveler chooses your hotel over the competition?
Eighty-three percent of U.S. adults want to book their trips online. Similarly, 82 percent of all travel bookings worldwide took place without human interaction in 2018, and this number has continued to grow. The data speaks for itself. Hotel brands must have a robust online presence to meet customer needs and stand out from the competition.
This blog will break down five tactics your hotel brand can leverage to digitally prepare for the summer months and beyond.
1. Re-Evaluate Your Local Social Efforts
If your hotel brand doesn’t already have local social pages claimed for each hotel property, that’s a great place to start. Three out of four consumers say they have discovered a new local product or service based on recommendations and posts on social media. A solid local social strategy can increase your hotel brand’s online visibility, boost bookings, and raise brand awareness.
While having local social pages is a must, they don’t provide much benefit unless your brand is using them correctly.
SOCi’s 2022 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report analyzed top-performing hotel brands and found that when it comes to social media, hotel brands can focus more on their posting frequency and the type of content posted, which will increase engagement rate.
Hotel brands studied in the report were posting 3.3 times per month. Of those posts, 68.8 percent contained photos, while 9.2 percent included videos. Your hotel brand should be meeting if not exceeding these averages to keep up with competitors.
While your hotel brand might need to ramp up its posting frequency, it’s important to remember the importance of localization. Data has found that localized content performs 12x better than content that is not localized.
When posting at the local level, your hotel brand can include:
- Images of the local hotel – Potential guests want to be able to picture themselves at your hotel.
- Information about upcoming promotions or sales – If a customer purchases three nights do they get the fourth free? This should be shared on social.
- Customer reviews and testimonials – If you have any previous guests who raved about your hotel, share their reviews or testimonials on your local social.
- Local events and happenings – If there’s a big concert, sporting event, or something noteworthy happening in your local community, it could be worth mentioning.
For more insight on what it takes for your hotel brand to boost its local social efforts, check out SOCi’s Localized Social Content Guide.
2. Level Up Online Reputation Management Efforts
As you would expect, your hotel brand’s online reputation can play a significant role in whether or not a potential guest will choose your hotel over another. Eighty-one percent of travelers find online reviews important for a hotel and 49 percent will not make a reservation for a hotel that has zero reviews.
So, what hotel guests say (or don’t say!) about your property in the form of text, photos, or videos influences the minds of potential guests. Is your hotel brand’s online reputation up to par?
When auditing your hotel brand’s online reputation, you should consider your local:
- Star ratings
- Review response rate
- Percent of reviews responded to
- Review count per property
- Percent of positive reviews
- New reviews received per month
Keeping an eye on these metrics will help you understand where your hotel brand has room to improve your reputation management efforts. For instance, 98 percent of consumers feel that reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions. If one of your hotel properties lacks reviews, it might hurt your chances of converting a potential customer. Similarly, if your hotel brand isn’t responding to reviews, you’re likely missing out on customers.
Data from the previously mentioned 2022 LMBR provides benchmarks for hotel brands regarding the reputation management metrics you should be paying attention to.
3. Improve Your Hotel Brand’s Local Listings
As you would expect, updated and accurate local listings are a must for hotel brands. Your hotel brand should ensure it has listings claimed across Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other relevant sites such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Tripadvisor, and more.
Your hotel brand’s local listings should include an updated name, address, and phone number. Some listing sites like Google or Yelp allow you to have more information about your brand within the local listing, such as a business description, hours of operation, and photos. When that is the case, the more information included, the better.
Many listing sites also allow you to select the category that your business falls under. In this case, it would likely be “hotel” or “travel.” This helps your hotel brand show up in relevant search results. Similarly, including relevant keywords in your business description and throughout your local listings will again contribute to your hotel showing up in applicable searches.
4. Optimize Local Pages
Local pages are another tactic that shouldn’t be forgotten when strengthening your hotel brand’s digital presence. With local pages, potential guests can get all of the information they need about a specific hotel property without doing extra digging. Google considers local pages as a ranking factor when determining where your business should appear in search results.
When building or optimizing your local pages, ensure that your hotel brand:
- Has determined a keyword strategy – Whether your hotel brand is just starting to build local pages or already has them in place, it’s important to consider keyword strategy to boost the page’s online presence.
- Included helpful business information – Like local listings, potential guests should be able to find everything they want to know about your hotel from its local page.
- Added in CTAs – Including a call to action to book a room from the local page makes local pages an excellent tactic for collecting leads.
- Maintained brand guidelines and kept consistent messaging – Ensuring that all of your local pages include the same tone of voice, logo usage, and consistent imagery is essential. Customers should recognize that your local hotel is associated with the same corporate brand across properties. After all, hotel brand loyalty matters – loyalty-related bookings account for more than half of the total hotel bookings in the U.S.
Following the steps mentioned above will help your hotel brand crush its local page strategy and bring in more bookings.
5. Freshen Up Your Customer Service Tactics
Last but not least, hotel brands are in the hospitality business for a reason. Ensuring your hotel’s customer service tactics are up to par across properties is essential. While you likely already have a customer service strategy in place, how do you know if it’s succeeding?
Analyzing the reviews your hotel brand receives is one way to see what previous guests say about their experience. Are there numerous negative reviews about the friendliness of your front desk staff? What about the cleanliness of the hotels? When reviewing how your customer service efforts are performing, these are things to consider.
Your hotel brand can also leverage social listening to look for online conversations about your brand. Again, is there a common theme among the conversations providing insight into where your hotel brand can make improvements? Ensuring that your customer service tactics are five-star worthy is essential.
Vacation season is here! There’s no better time than now to ensure your hotel brand’s localized marketing efforts are optimized. By completing the tactics mentioned above across all your hotel properties, you’ll kick off the vacation season with more bookings than ever.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darcy Bickham is a graduate from Texas A&M University and has worked in education related fields for the past four years. Over the years she has developed experience writing on a variety of topics including business, local politics, transportation, and both primary and higher education.