Friday, September 20, 2019

Defeating Digital Oversaturation in the Hotel Marketplace

The digitisation of travel purchases has revolutionised the hospitality industry in a variety of ways from online virtual tours and customer service chatbots to comparison tools that offer consumers hundreds of hotel choices to browse. Unfortunately, with skyrocketing capabilities come unintended consequences in the form of marketing challenges as comparison sites make it difficult for individual brands to stand out from the pack. Furthermore, now that every brand and booking portal has developed an Internet presence, search engine optimisation can be a tough nut to crack. That means the key to a successful hotel marketing campaign is therefore cutting through the clutter in a way that really connects with prospective guests.

So Many Rooms, So Little Time

According to Statistic Brain, a combined 34.5% of online room bookings are made through merchant websites that allow for mass comparisons, opaque sites that enable customers to name a price, and retail portals that act as distributors for hospitality brands. This means that over a third of consumer interactions with hotels take place in a forum that pits them against seemingly equal options and takes a hefty commission for any sales made. As a result, hotels are increasingly viewing travel-booking sites not as an asset or partner but as competition to their own web offerings.

Part of the issue is that so many of these rooms are being booked on the go, with less time spent researching individual locations, as a whopping 65% of tourists will now secure hotel reservations for the same day using a mobile device. This greatly increases the importance of breaking out of the comparison site mold and directly reaching people looking to book at the moment they are ready to do so.

SEO Isn’t What It Used to Be

There was a time in the early 2000s when individual properties could own terms like “hotels in Chicago” that would ensure their placement at the top of search results, but the Golden Age of hotel SEO is behind us. Today, if you try searching for a term like that, the top hits will all represent hotel finder sites. Boutique hotels get lost in the shuffle and even the world’s largest brands cannot compete with heavily trafficked comparison tool powerhouses.

If you’re actively trying to improve your rankings, you have the options to consider investing in high-quality content and trying to own more niche search terms as these are ways to highlight your unique offerings. Or, you can look to optimise your marketing efforts in a way that ensures you are taking steps to qualify and draw in the leads most likely to close.

Standing Out and Booking Up

Marketing campaigns that target the most appropriate audiences, driving inbound calls to your business in real time, enable brands to retain a competitive edge with consumers by fostering personal interactions. The right performance marketing partner can distinguish your hotel from the seemingly endless array of choices by pinpointing interested parties with optimised technologies then presenting the opportunity to build real connections via phone conversations.

RingPartner worked with a leading international hotel chain to see how this strategy could improve their booking rates. During a four-week period, nearly 60% of the inbound consumer calls driven by the campaign were qualified Pay Per Call conversions, with the average call lasting about 3 minutes. After learning how to leverage Pay Per Call best practices, that same hotel chain now enjoys a 72% Pay Per Call conversion rate.

The success of this inbound campaign indicates that even as consumers grow accustomed to booking online, there are still plenty of travelers who are ready and willing to make reservations while reaching out to someone for answers to their accommodation questions.

Your hotel’s success within the hospitality industry is generally based on fluctuating consumer demand and your ability to entice guests in need of a room to consider your location. By optimising your digital marketing efforts with qualification tools that drive inbound phone calls you can overcome the noise of an oversaturated digital marketplace, delivering on ROI while driving increased occupancy rates.

Sarah Gulbrandsen
Sarah Gulbrandsen
Sarah Gulbrandsen, VP of Client Operations at RingPartner. Sarah has spent 15 years crafting marketing and communications strategies for digital organisations. As the VP of Client Operations at RingPartner, Sarah oversees the sales, marketing and ad operations divisions.

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