May 31, 2022

Hotel Digital Marketing Strategy – New Normal Edition

by Rawin Rojanathara in Business Owner Tips

For hotels and hospitality business owners, these few years may have been one of the biggest challenges yet as Covid-19 basically put the travel industry to a temporary halt. Some adapted and downsized, some closed down and only a handful managed to thrive through the situation by changing its hotel digital marketing strategy to 

After two long years of off and on, Thai hospitality industry finally has a glimmer of hope since Thai government announced the Sandbox program, followed by the Test & Go program and finally a full opening of the border to accept vaccinated travelers into the country once again.

As the gears began to move once again, the question now is “Are you ready to be back at full operation after two years of downtime.” and also “Are you aware of how much hotel digital marketing has changed since then.” 

Now is the time. Now is the change to reset your past practice and chart a clear hotel digital marketing strategy backed with solid data and enough budget to get you back on track faster than others – including investing solely on OTAs such as Booking.com or Expedia. 

Finding the winning recipe for your hotel post Covid

Survey from Thailand Digital Outlook 2021 reports that more than 85.1% of Thais use the internet and spend their time six to ten hours a day. That’s almost half a day. Moving business to online is a key and a necessary thing to do. When finding the right hotel, guests not only look at OTAs but also would search for your hotel’s social media page to read some reviews and may also add you on LINE to see if you have any available offer. 

Thanks to the change in customer behavior, increasing book direct % mix to save your hefty OTAs commission is possible. But only if you do it right. 

Which online marketing tools should I use to increase hotel direct bookings?

We know you are familiar with the terms or are currently using some of them. However, in our long experience it is rare to see any hotel that could make the most out of each channel due to the lack of experience, lack of manpower or simply lack of investment to make it fly. As such, we seek to provide you with what each tool can do and how you may want to set your standards when it comes to using them. 

Social Media

building a brand on social media will help promote the hotel to a broader group of people and easier. Especially when the business can provide unique contents in its own memorable style that could inspire people to choose the brand over another. 

In social, investment on good photo and video are a must. We have seen most hotels slacking off saying their graphic designer could do it but it is not up to standard. With less than top quality visuals (and perhaps snappy captions) your social media just won’t look as good as you may want it to be. One thing to note is that this is the era of ads. You cannot do social media right without ads as organic reach is getting closer to zero each day. You may need to learn how to define and test your target audiences to see which one performs better. Whatever platform you use, always remember to place tracking mechanisms such as Facebook pixel to ensure you can measure your ROI. 

Do not stop asking your team for a clear ROI on ads because you can have one. And when you see how much you gain with ads, you can manage your budget accordingly. If the team could not provide you with such numbers, another option is to do ‘Message’ ads that drives users to your inbox. With this type of ads, you can use ‘cost per message’ as your benchmark.   

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

How effective would your marketing be if a guest types keywords like “best hotel in Krabi” and your hotel is at the top of the list. Doing SEO right will give you just that, but it won’t be that easy in this sector because all your competitors would want to be there.

For hotels without any SEO experience, we recommend starting with keyword research. Which keywords are relevant to your hotel and have high search volume on Google? Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find them and take note. You will need to put these keywords throughout your website where it is relevant. Be it on the homepage, in a blog post, etc. 

Then you may need further SEO optimization from a person with enough experience to tinker with your website backend. Some hotel websites may need web developer’s support in making it load much faster on mobile. 

Google Map

Whichever stage you are at today, remember that SEO takes time. It needs consistency and lots of effort to keep going for a year or more to see solid results. However, once you optimize your website well enough, you may be surprised just how much quality traffic is coming through your SEO. It is almost absolutely necessary to do SEO to gain visibility and steal back shares from OTAs. 

On this subject, also look at your ‘Local SEO’ and ‘Google My Business / Google Map’. Most hotels would have an issue of not having consistency when it comes to their address, phone number, etc. on so many online platforms. This confuses Google resulting in bad rankings. Always ensure the exact same hotel address and more to start, then try to narrow yourself down to specific location to rank even better for people searching for those specific locations. 

Paid Ads

Buy ads today and see results today. There are many forms of paid ads available for hotels such as Google search ads, Google display ads (banner) or ads on OTAs platform such as Expedia travel ads. 

Paid ads give hotels the ability to capture demand when it needs to, with tools to narrow down to specific demographics of their customers. However, depending on your hotel’s target audiences, investment may be high if you need to target large markets such as the US along with 10 other countries. 

With paid ads, you can always ask for a clear ROI which is possible with enough implementation of tracking tools. For small hotels the advertising budget could be as low as THB 15,000/mo while some larger hotels spend up to THB 100,000+/mo with a larger audience and more channels. 

KOL

Reviews from KOLs / Influencers

Create that extra credibility and deliver actual traveling experience to your potential customer with KOLs / influencers. As long as the reviews are not too good to be true and cover your unique selling points, you should be fine. 

Selecting KOLs could be confusing as well. First you need to review if their personality and style match with your property, then you will need ones with a relatively large fan base (100k+) for it to work well. With KOLs, the larger the better. But always have a good mix of macro (large) and micro influencers. We would also recommend against nano influencers as the impact would be too small to see. 

Let us support your hotel digital marketing strategy and execution

Knowing where and how to reach a destination may be even more important than how fast you can travel. Same goes for hotel digital marketing strategy. 

With our 10+ years of experience working for 3 to 5-star luxury hotels & resorts, we know exactly what to fix to improve your hotel online presence and effectively increase your book direct revenue. Moreover, we can help fill the experience gap needed when it comes to setting high standards for each marketing channels or implementing conversion tracking – all crucial to see the exact ROI on what you choose to do. 

Contact us today and hear how we could improve your hotel revenue with digital marketing. 

See more our projects here :  www.convertdigital.co.th/th/bangkok-digital-marketing-agency-project