Customer relationships are the cornerstone of the hospitality industry. Today, however, a personal phone call to book a reservation has been replaced by an impersonal online transaction. Customers open their phones to read reviews, research accommodations, compare prices, and book destinations without a single personal interaction.
While dependence on mobile technology has caused a decrease in personal interactions, it also provides a new avenue to connect with your customers in unique ways. Digital marketing, for example, can provide opportunities to strengthen, deepen and build relationships with your clientele, attract new guests and encourage repeat bookings. Simply ignoring this increasingly mobile-first environment will cause a business to disappear among its digitally-ready competitors – businesses must harness digital marketing strategies to strengthen client retention rates while building future clientele.
Timing: Are You Ready to Be Found When and Where your Guests Look?
When it comes to travel, customers open their phone through all phases of the buying journey. They use their phones to decide where to go, book, and look for local options while there. Each one of these moments is what Google’s content marketing team, Think with Google, calls “micro-moment marketing”. Micro-moments provide “critical touch points within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, ultimately determine how that journey ends.” Take advantage of these micro-moments with content that is useful, informative and exciting to prospects trying to decide where to go for their next adventure.
Will Prospects Find You When They Search?
The key to getting to page one, or at least within the top three results, is to build a dynamic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Appearing on the first position of Google search results leads to a 33% clickthrough rate. Your ranking is determined by Google’s sophisticated algorithm, which determines where your website falls on the search results page. While regular tweaks to this calculation will cause your ranking to fluctuate temporarily, establishing good SEO best practices will help you ensure you have a high ranking for the long term. A strong SEO strategy is based on several factors, including:
Anticipate What Prospects Want to Know
If you want your website to serve as a valuable hub to your guests, create content that answers the questions your guests will have. Anticipate the specific questions people may have while researching and use your valuable web space to provide succinct, accurate and entertaining content that provides answers in a way that builds excitement. Be sure to use photos and videos to show how your services are unique, beautiful and one-of-a-kind.
Good Content is Sharable Content
One of the most prized benefits of creating useful, valuable content is that your content is likely to be shared, or linked, by other websites. These backlinks, which can also include social media shares, give your site an extra boost of exposure across the web and extends your reach to more prospects. At the same time, you receive added credibility from the website or person who shares your content. Search engines notice these backlinks, which are an essential component in helping you rise in search results.
How Do You Look on a Phone?
How quickly can consumers to find the information they need on your site and book a reservation on their phones? No one wants to get lost on your website looking for a way to book a reservation. If your images and content are squished into the screen of a phone, you will need to make new adjustments to your site’s design. A mobile-friendly website will be easy to navigate with a quick and easy way for visitors to book a reservation whether they’re using a phone, tablet or laptop. Test your site often to make sure it’s loading quickly.
Become a Resource for Local Information
When planning activities at their destinations, travelers use their phones to look for restaurants, attractions, and amenities. Make your website a trusted resource of destination information by providing fresh, regularly updated content that lets guests know where to go, and what’s new in the area. Topics can include everything from interesting historical facts and trivia, updates about new boutiques and restaurant openings, show times, best of lists, and interviews with local artists and performers.
Ninety-five percent of travelers head online to read reviews, and having a large number of reviews is important to search engines. The number and type of reviews you receive directly impact your search ranking. You can cultivate more reviews from your guests by making it easy for them to share a review directly from their phones. Reach your guests online by claiming your business on Yelp, social media sites and Google My Business, where they are already leaving ratings and reviews for other businesses and services. It’s also important to read your reviews regularly and respond, especially because more than 50 percent of consumers expect a business to respond within seven days to bad reviews. Negative reviews give you an opportunity to show, publicly, you care about your guests by making every effort to correct what went wrong.
Digital Marketing Lets You Put Your Guests First
In today’s mobile-first world, a carefully executed digital marketing strategy involves more than ensuring your site is mobile-ready. To attract today’s visitors and bookings, you’ll need to build a strong SEO strategy that is backed by carefully researched content, including video, that guests will find useful when planning their trip. To maximize the impact of your digital marketing strategy, be sure to extend the relationship long-after their experience by making it easy for them to recommend you to their friends and family, so that you can generate a steady flow of guests for months to come.