Digital omnipresence is having a presence on as many relevant channels as possible, and it’s crucial for the modern-day hotelier. Excluding channels such as video or Metasearch, for example, can put you at a distinct disadvantage over your competitors. Knowing where your target audience spends time online is key to devising your strategy and getting started.
“Seventy-eight percent of travellers said informative content from destinations or travel brands can influence their decision-making process, and 46% said ads with informative content can be influential.”
Every year consumers are relying more heavily on digital channels for all of their travel needs, from the initial researching phase to making a booking. With new innovations and features coming on every channel we use, it can sometimes feel like your head is spinning! Take a step back and ask yourself these 5 questions:
1. Have I carried out research on my target markets and demographics recently?
You should regularly review this to ensure that you are targeting potential guests through the correct channels. This can be done with internal tools but we recommend using a third-party tool like Think with Google to look at competitive analysis and consumer insights.
2. Am I getting the most from my channels?
Pay-per-click (PPC) budget is usually where a large proportion of digital budget is spent. You should be using a cost per acquisition (CPA) percentage as your analytics gauge for your PPC campaigns and also your return on Metasearch. Do you know how well yours is performing?
- At Avvio in 2018, we achieved an average of 16:1 return-on-investment (ROI) from PPC campaigns we ran for our customers. The average (CPA) from Google Ads in 2018 was 6.5%. If your metrics are a long way off this, it may be time to review this internally or with your digital agency.
- Do you have a solid SEO and content strategy which enables your website to grow organic traffic? There are various ways you can instil good SEO practices and yourself apart from your competitors. We’d recommend looking specifically at mobile speed, local search, video and voice search opportunities.
- Ensuring you are not restricting budgets in the areas mentioned above and working to a CPA model is key. Once direct bookings are coming through to your website – at an acceptable CPA – keep the channel live! Removing ads or advertising channels gives the online travel agents and your competitors an opportunity to capitalise
3. Is my hotel using Metasearch?
If the answer is no, it’s time to ask yourself why not! This additional channel ensures an overall billboard effect for your hotel – providing potential guests with real-time availability and pricing, alongside guest reviews. Our customers got an average 14:1 ROI when using Metasearch in 2018, with over half of this coming from Google Hotel Price Ads. We‘d highly recommend using Metasearch this year and testing this effective channel to drive more direct business.
4. Am I hitting all areas of the funnel with my marketing efforts?
Keep a focus on potential guests who are still at the early stage of their booking journey, and who may not be familiar with your property. I.e. what’s nearby, hotel facilities, local attractions etc. A study conducted by Expedia showed that on average it takes 6 weeks research and 38 sessions on average for consumers to book a holiday. You can do this by enticing them with creative display ads and include HTML 5 ads and videos to get them to notice you. Following up with personalised remarketing campaigns are a great way to reinforce the booking.
5. Nurture previous guest relationships and reward their loyalty.
Ensure your GDPR compliant database of previous guests receives exclusive offers from your hotel. This might seem like common sense but is often an area that is overlooked. Channels like email marketing and PPC remarketing campaigns are particularly good for this. As an added incentive we’d suggest including a discount code or incentive for rebooking.
Once you have implemented your digital strategy, take the time to reflect. Is there room for improvement in some of your digital efforts? Content is a key area where you can elevate yourself above the norm by spending additional time researching FAQ’s around your property. Sites like Answerthepublic.com provide you with interesting ideas and topics for this. Well written, informative content, that is about more than just the direct booking is so important! Remember that most guests want to buy ‘experiences’ and not just hotel stays.
Keeping on top of innovations in digital is a full-time job and requires ongoing effort to yield success. Work closely with your digital partner to create a marketing plan with strategies, actionable items and deadlines. Want to learn more? Put on your metaphorical thinking cap, and learn to ‘Think like a Designer’.