Internet Marketing – The Art of Capturing Market Share


Historically, the Internet has been widely used by leisure travelers. More recently, however, 76% of business travelers use the Internet to research and book travel, giving properties an opportunity to capture business travelers using targeted information on their Website. Are you taking advantage of this trend?

In a crowded online marketing environment, capturing and maintaining interest is difficult. It means using creativity to differentiate your property. Accordingly, embracing ROI centric online marketing strategies is imperative for hoteliers to successfully drive revenue.

Unfortunately, many take the power of a well designed Website for granted, not knowing that it’s the single most valuable asset in a marketing arsenal. In fact, a recent study suggests that Website design is one of the highest producing ROI initiatives. While Website basics include fresh content, easy navigation and prominent placement of calls to actions, photos, videos and maps are also key in emotionally connecting the shopper to your property. It’s these very features that showcase your location, amenities and services, but are often overlooked.

Driving traffic through SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) proves to be one of the best returns on investment. In fact, research shows that 85 – 95% of users start their travel search using a search engine, and that over 50% of online bookers originated from natural searches. In today’s highly competitive hospitality arena, showing up at the top of the search results, preferably first page position is critical.

A wealth of up to date content focusing on your property’s demand generators will result in attracting more qualified travelers. In fact, search engine results pages have grown richer in content by displaying links to videos, images and local business results that feature maps for convenience. Thus, it is imperative to display your products in multiple media outlets like YouTube and Flickr along with sending a follow up email to ensure all bases are covered. To ensure that you have covered all bases, create a Google local business listing and update the information regularly.

Ken Lapp, the President of Standard Marketing Ltd has explained the importance of lead generation in one of his written articles on Email Marketing:

There’s no better way to get things going than by finding yourself a subscription list full of people who are most inclined to answer your call. It’s exactly why email marketing often receives really positive conversion rates. Because you have a chance to take control of what comes out and where its goes, which then allows you to save as much time and resources as you can, while maximizing your returns. Though, remember, before you take your chances elsewhere, give your existing customers some love by providing timely updates and promotions. After all, it’s always easier to keep your existing clients than create new ones.

— Ken Lapp “Importance of Lead Generation”

People are talking

When you think of all the ways to touch guests, be it pre/post-stay emails, comment cards, in room promotions, your goal should not only be to drive Website traffic, but to create positive customer conversations. As a matter of fact, Econsultancy states 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trust unknown users. You want to make sure guest issues are handled promptly and professionally. Because the Internet is so transparent, it’s crucial that your property lives up to expectations and maintains strong guest relations and positive reviews.

How do you know it’s working?

When it comes to online marketing, tracking, measuring and understanding analytics is key. The only way to improve the quality of traffic is to understand where traffic is coming from, how potential customers act once they arrive at your Website and what needs to be done to convert them.

Just as you should be taking time to read your online reviews, you should also designate time to review your Website statistics. These reports may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but just start with the basics- visitors, top visited pages, visit duration, referring URLs and keywords that are attracting visitors to your site. Growing traffic, online bookings and increased customer reviews are clear indicators that your Website is valuable.

Where do we go from here?

We see two very different approaches in 2010. Marketers are either extremely cautious when spending marketing dollars or liberal and eager to dabble in new initiatives such as social marketing. As consumers start dominating marketing conversations, hotels need to provide top notch stays, encourage reviews and respond.

With the proper marketing strategies, budget, interaction and tracking, your property will be poised for a successful year.

Contact HeyGoTo at (702) 475-4227 or go to www.HeyGoTo.com today to find out how we can help you! To read more industry information go to the HeyGoTo Blog at http://heygoto.com/wordpress/

Internet Marketing – The Art of Capturing Market Share
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This post was written by David Moceri