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August 25, 2023

Successfully marketing a hotel opening

When it comes to opening a hotel, a successful marketing plan is the key to standing out from the competition and attracting customers by building a solid reputation right from the start.  Opening your establishment is a unique opportunity for you to generate buzz and create a solid base of loyal direct customers. However, this requires careful and thoughtful planning in order to adopt an effective marketing strategy that highlights your strengths and uniqueness.  In this article, we take a look at the essential elements for a successful hotel marketing strategy when it opens.   What’s involved in marketing a hotel? Understanding the issues surrounding the commercialization of your hotel is essential to its successful opening. It’s the key to maximizing your hotel’s visibility and attractiveness, so you can reach your target audience and attract potential customers directly. Stand out from the crowd The hotel industry is often highly competitive. Grabbing the customer’s attention in a competitive market can be an arduous task. Differentiating yourself from your competitors is therefore essential if you are to succeed in the eyes of travelers.  This can be achieved through a strong brand image, excellent customer service, the services you offer or promotional offers. In this way, you’ll be able to position yourself uniquely in the market. Assert your hotel’s online presence Today, everything is done via the Internet. It’s important to have a strong online presence to promote your establishment and gain popularity among travelers.  That’s why it’s become essential to establish online marketing strategies, including Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Advertising (SEA), digital advertising, campaigns on price comparison sites, social media presence, online reviews and an attractive hotel website.  These are the elements that will help you build a good online visibility and e-reputation, and help you convert more travelers directly, without going through OTAs. Anticipate changing customer expectations The expectations of travelers and your customers are constantly evolving according to seasonality, the societal context, market trends and so on. So it’s important to understand and adapt to their changing needs. There are many factors to consider in your marketing strategy: feedback on the customer experience, current market trends, the season, the technology at your disposal, the services you offer. Indeed, guest satisfaction is essential to the success of your hotel. Understanding their expectations and knowing how to anticipate their evolutions will enable you to respond quickly to their requests and concerns.  The aim is to offer a perfect guest experience throughout their stay with you, and even after they’ve left, in order to build loyalty both online and offline.Use the right distribution channels There are many channels on which to market your hotel, such as online travel agencies and metasearch.  It’s important to choose the most appropriate channel for your hotel and to maintain your presence and visibility on it. We’ll go into more detail in the next section. By understanding the issues surrounding your hotel’s marketing, you’ll be able to maximize its visibility and reach your target audience. You’ll be able to handle the competition, optimize your resources and anticipate potential problems that may arise when opening a hotel. Thus, you can lay the foundations for a prosperous long-term business.What is your hotel’s marketing strategy? Once you’ve understood the challenges of marketing, you can opt for a more effective strategy to ensure the success of your hotel business. Several factors come into the equation when it comes to establishing a strategy tailored to the success of your hotel opening.A high-performance hotel website  Your hotel website is an essential part of your business strategy, as it will have a major impact on the number of rooms booked directly.  So it’s vital to create a site that’s attractive and effective, both in terms of content and aesthetic, to grab travelers’ attention and encourage them to book directly on it.  First and foremost, the branding and design of your hotel website is essential to creating a strong identity and attracting customers to you. It needs to reflect your hotel’s identity to travelers and web users likely to book with you.There are many elements to consider in your hotel’s brand identity: Create a distinctive, easily recognizable logo and design that well represent your hotel. To do this, be consistent with the colors and fonts that correspond to your graphic charter. Include high-quality videos and photos to create a sense of excitement and to help travelers better picture themselves in your hotel. The video content is increasingly appreciated by users and converts more. With high-quality, professionally produced virtual tours and visuals of your rooms, facilities and services, you’ll attract even more attention.  Optimize users’ mobile experience. When searching for accommodation, 70% of Internet users land on a hotel website on their mobile. Make sure you have a website with an adaptive design optimized for this type of format: fluid, intuitive navigation and a layout that automatically adapts to all devices. Secondly, the text part of your hotel website needs to be just as well thought-out. In fact, you need to create relevant content that attracts travelers: Write relevant, engaging and informative content to describe your rooms and the various facilities or services available to your guests. You can also write about the experiences guests can have at your hotel and in your destination, to give them a complete picture of their stay. Display your value proposition with a clearly defined message. You need to communicate to travelers what makes your hotel more interesting than a competitor’s, what makes it unique.  Offer special deals. Your website is the ideal platform for highlighting unique offers and promotions. Whether it’s promotions on certain stays, family offers or exclusive benefits, this will encourage users to book with you and adds value to booking from your website. Collect testimonials and customer reviews. Displaying customer feedback on your site will reinforce visitors’ trust in your establishment. Positive comments and reviews will help convince potential visitors to choose your hotel. By adopting a consistent and thoughtful approach, you can create an attractive and memorable online presence that reflects the essence of your hotel and its assets.  Use metasearch to boost your direct revenue Metasearch are search platforms that enable travelers to compare online hotel offers and to book according to your availability in real time. Going through a metasearch rather than an OTA will enable you to increase the direct share of your sales. What’s more, 47% of travelers use metasearch to book their accommodation, so you’ve got everything to gain! There are several different price comparison sites on which you can display your hotel. The main ones are Google, Trivago and Tripadvisor. With these, you’ll be able to : Manage your rates and availability: update your rates and availability regularly, so that travelers can check in real time.  Optimize your ads: adjust your bids and advertising budget to maximize the visibility of your ads in metasearch. Choose or combine cost-per-click or commission bidding models such as cost per acquisition according to seasonality or market, for example. Encourage direct bookings: highlight your rates and benefits to encourage travelers looking for your hotel to book directly on your site rather than on an OTA’s.You can also launch metasearch visibility campaigns to complement your “classic” campaigns. We’ll come back to this in the next section.  By using metasearch, you can increase your online visibility and reach a wider audience, while generating more direct bookings for your hotel rooms.Raise your hotel’s profile Last but not least, your hotel’s popularity is essential to its successful marketing at the time of opening. It’s all about gaining maximum hotel visibility to reach as many travelers as possible right from the start. Develop your press relations Don’t hesitate to develop your press relations: when opening your hotel, developing press relations plays an essential role in creating successful visibility. Press relations offer a strategic platform for communicating your hotel’s unique story, distinctive features and offering to the media and the public.  Write or have written concise, attractive press releases about the opening of your establishment, the services it offers and the positive impact it will have on your region/city.  Then contact journalists to obtain optimum media coverage, so that as many people as possible can find out about your hotel. Indeed, by establishing strong links with journalists, bloggers and influencers, you can generate valuable media buzz, drawing attention to your establishment, its quality facilities and services, and its location. An effective approach to press relations when opening a hotel can therefore help establish a solid reputation from the very first days.Optimize your Google Business Profile First of all, we recommend that you optimize your Google Business Profile. With a complete Google Business Profile, presenting all the precise information about your hotel (name, address, telephone number, opening hours, website, etc.) you’ll attract up to 38% more attention from tourists.  This is a key asset not to be overlooked in your strategy, as it will help you maximize your visibility and increase your direct bookings!Launch metasearch visibility campaigns As mentioned above, you can launch metasearch visibility campaigns using solutions such as Google Property Promotion Ads, Tripadvisor Sponsored Placement and Trivago Sponsored Listing.  The aim is to place your hotel in a strategic position in a user’s search results, such as “Hotel + destination”, so as to maximize your visibility.  This allows you to reach travelers who don’t yet know your establishment but are looking for a hotel in your destination.Work on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) To work on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you can optimize the textual and visual content of your website to improve its ranking on search engines.  To do this, use relevant keywords in your content, have a fast and mobile-friendly website, visuals with alternative text, etc.  In this way, you increase your chances of improving your position in the search results pages when a user makes a query, and increase your online visibility. Invest in Search Engine Advertising (SEA)When it comes to Search Engine Advertising (SEA), define a budget that will enable you to bid on the most relevant keywords for your business: Brand protection: campaigns to protect your hotel’s name against bids from competitors or OTAs. These campaigns are highly profitable, as they attract a qualified, actively searching audience. They involve bidding on keywords corresponding to your hotel’s name and to your brand’s restricted lexical field. Generic: campaigns to acquire new customers by increasing awareness of your establishment in your destination and/or your attributes. You bid on broader keywords such as “Hotel Berlin” or “Hotel with Spa in Paris”. This campaign enables you to appear at the top of search results when travelers are looking for their accommodation.Be present on social platformsFinally, social media platforms, or social network advertising, are an excellent marketing tool for driving traffic directly to your website.  It’s one of the most appropriate formats for engaging your customers and potential customers, by regularly publishing fresh promotional and/or informative content.  With the rise of social networking, this channel is becoming an essential part of any successful marketing strategy.   How can you measure your results and adjust your strategy?  Once you’ve established and launched your strategy, it’s a good idea to measure and analyze the impact of your marketing actions, so you can adjust your strategy and optimize your establishment’s performance.  Monitor results, customer feedback and website performance to optimize your marketing and sales efforts.Collect and analyze your results To begin with, set yourself specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-defined objectives (SMART objectives) for your marketing strategy: increase in occupancy rate, direct bookings, brand awareness, and so on. In order to collect relevant data and track the results of your various campaigns and your website, you need to set up tracking tools such as Google Analytics 4 and hotel management software.  You’ll then have an overview of key performance indicators (KPIs), such as the number of reservations, your website’s conversion rate, occupancy rate, sales per available room (RevPAR), and so on. This will enable you to analyze your results and identify trends, strengths and weaknesses in your hotel marketing and sales strategy. Compare the data with your objectives. Don’t forget to regularly solicit feedback from your customers, either verbally or via online surveys and reviews. This feedback can provide valuable information on the customer experience and areas for improvement. In addition, keep an eye on your competitors’ marketing activities. Compare your performance with theirs and identify opportunities for improvement or areas where you might have a competitive advantage.   Adjust your acquisition strategy Based on data analysis, adjust your hotel marketing strategy. Focus on the channels that work best, and make changes where necessary to improve results. In addition, don’t hesitate to test new ideas and approaches to see how they influence your results. This could include targeted advertising campaigns, special offers, local partnerships, etc. Make sure your staff are well informed about how they can contribute to your hotel’s marketing success. Exceptional customer service can play a major role in building customer loyalty and generating positive word-of-mouth. Finally, the process of adjusting your marketing and sales strategy must be continuous. Regularly re-evaluate your objectives and performance measures to make sure you’re on track to achieve your business goals. By following these steps, you’ll be able to analyze the results of your hotel marketing strategy and take the necessary steps to adjust it accordingly.Conclusion  Successfully marketing your hotel in preparation for its opening is an essential step in establishing a solid foundation and attracting guests to your hotel from the outset.  All the points detailed above, such as metasearch, your website, SEO and social networking, will help you successfully market your new establishment to generate interest and reach a wide customer base.  Invest time and resources in a solid acquisition and marketing strategy. With the strategic steps outlined above, you’ll be able to create a positive image for your hotel and build lasting relationships with your (future) customers, helping to ensure the success of your new hotel business. Our hotel digital marketing experts are here to help you achieve your online marketing goals,  contact us today !

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August 16, 2023

9 ways to increase direct mobile bookings at your hotel

Want to boost your hotel’s occupancy rates? Start promoting direct mobile bookings. The average person spends 3 hours daily on their smartphone, so finding ways to drive direct mobile bookings is fundamental to your hotel’s success.    This allows you to more easily connect with potential customers and forge your independence from online tour agencies (OTAs). Let’s look at the nine best ways to increase your hotel’s direct mobile bookings.    How to increase your direct mobile bookings?  To increase your hotel’s direct mobile bookings, you need a clear strategy for each of your target audience segments. By understanding their behavior, you can more easily connect with them, increasing visibility and attracting these guests to book directly.  As mobile-first searches keep increasing, search engines have adapted the algorithm to favor mobile-optimized content. So, the more mobile-friendly your website is, the better it will rank, making it easier to increase direct bookings. Make your website mobile-friendly  Convert mobile users using a clear and simplified booking process. The design of your website matters, but you should never sacrifice usability for the sake of aesthetics. A great user experience is vital for mobile users.  Try to design a straightforward website that adapts to different screen sizes, has clear call-to-action buttons and features content designed with conversion in mind. All of this helps drive more direct bookings. Leverage your PMS data  Your hospitality management system is a treasure trove of information for optimizing guest experience and hotel operations, attracting new guests, and helping to devise a loyalty strategy. It helps you understand booking patterns: where your guests are coming from, how they’re booking and how long they’re staying. Leveraging your PMS is one of the best ways to help manage and track direct bookings. From there, you should adapt your marketing and sales efforts to target your most profitable guest segments and devise strategies that will help generate more direct mobile bookings. Offer something that OTAs don’t  To get someone to book directly through a mobile site or an app, you need to offer added value – something they can’t get if they book through a third-party site, and you want to make sure you advertise this added value on your website. Here are some ideas: complimentary services, parking, a gift, or even a free walking tour.   Because of rate parity, you can’t offer lower rates on your website than the OTAs, which makes discounts perfect for encouraging direct bookings. Give your guests a reason to book by sending them via email marketing or social media. Create a sense of urgency by adding expressions such as limited offer, available for the first five clients, or almost sold out. Provide different payment options  With the rise of mobile browsing, there’s also been a surge in alternative payment methods like e-wallets, Apple Pay, Google Pay cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wise and Revolut.  Few things are more frustrating than trying to book a room and noticing that your preferred payment method isn’t accepted.  This is why offering these payment methods makes it more likely for guests to complete their bookings. Ensure securityAs cybersecurity threats multiply, it’s crucial to make your website trustworthy. Actively communicate your efforts to protect guest data and ensure all payments go through a secure portal. You could also have guests create a login on your website, so they know that not just anyone can book. Then, once they’ve completed their booking, send a confirmation email. Be transparent with your prices  If you don’t want potential guests to abandon your booking page, be transparent with your prices. Always show the breakdown of service fees, taxes, and additional fees, such as tourist tax. Leverage social media  Leverage social media as a channel for driving direct bookings. What used to be a part of the awareness stage of the guest journey is now a powerful source of conversion.  Prepare your hotel for social media conversions by including a link to your booking engine or the reservation site on your website. Mix up conversion-driven posts with inspirational and motivational content to familiarize potential guests with your brand. And once they’re ready, they can book a room directly from social media.    Launch ads to increase your reach Advertising is another key strategy to increase mobile direct bookings helping to drive awareness, engage potential guests, and encourage them to book directly via their mobile devices.  By strategically placing ads on various platforms and channels, targeting your ideal client profile in terms of demographics, interests and behaviors, you can put your brand in the front of the minds of potential guests who meet your hotel’s target client, increasing chances for conversion.   Through increased visibility you can reach a larger audience, and highlight key features and selling points, creating brand awareness and making sure your value proposition is clear, which therefore establishes trust and credibility.   Promote exclusive offers and incentives through ads, enticing them to book directly, with things like special mobile-only promotions, which can save them money and give them an added bonus. Make support readily available  Whether via WhatsApp, chatbots, or support agents, give your guests the help they need during the booking process. Excellent customer support encourages your new guests to finalize their booking. Email marketing  Phones are multi-purpose devices: we use them to manage finances, make payments, read the news, check social media, make phone calls and respond to text messages. The key is to find an opportunity to connect. Email marketing is one way to do this.  A good email marketing strategy will help you drive direct mobile bookings. Play around with CTA buttons, attractive photos and discounts to encourage people to book directly from their phones.    Conclusion   To meet the needs of modern guests, hoteliers must accept the mobile-first approach and adapt it to their channels. More and more guests choose mobile as their go-to channel for booking hotels, so don’t delay the implementation of the practices laid out in this article. Not only will this drive more direct mobile bookings, but also boost profitability and cut down reliance on third-party sites. 

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August 9, 2023

The evolution of metasearch in 2023

In 2023, demand for travel has never been higher. To make it easier for travelers to find the best deals and rates available from selected hotels, the major price comparison sites have updated their interfaces and bidding models in recent months.  We detail for you what’s changed so far in 2023 in the metasearch engines sphere, so you can fine-tune your advertising campaigns.   Enhanced user experience New Google Hotel Search navigation interface on mobile Google has launched a new hotel search navigation interface for Internet users. Hotel search can be time-consuming, especially as the first phase of the search is now mostly done on mobile. That’s why, in April 2023, Google launched an easier way to browse and discover hotels on mobile. For example, if a user searches for “Soho London hotel”, they will have the new option of exploring each establishment as a slideshow. From here, the traveler can browse photos of different hotels and get an idea of the experience that awaits them on site. With a single click, they can also save the hotel, get more details about the area or view a summary of what other travelers find remarkable about the establishment. This is in line with the change in user experience and the growing use of mobile: 65% of current traffic is on mobile. This new interface is an opportunity to continue showcasing your establishment, and reinforces the need for your hotel photos to be up to date and of high quality, so that the first impression of your hotel is the right one. New interface for the Tripadvisor Hotel Detail page Tripadvisor has launched a new interface for their Hotel Detail page. This includes new features that enhance the experience for travelers and advertisers alike. With the new version of the Tripadvisor’s Hotel Detail page, users can now find all the information they need more quickly at the top of the page. The Hotel Detail page now displays three offers instead of just one, below the hotel images. These offers can now include commercial terms such as “Fully refundable” or “No prepayment needed”. Travelers can now easily compare rates on all three sites to determine which offer best suits their needs. For advertisers, this update ensures optimal performance and a more balanced distribution of clicks among participating advertisers. In the past, a single advertiser often obtained the majority of advertising space. This increases the number of website visitors and improves ad rankings, while avoiding rapid increases in unqualified traffic due to the single ad.New Marketing Text option in Tripadvisor Hotels “Marketing Text” is a new feature allowing partners to advertise custom marketing text on the hotel list and details pages. Partners can now promote their unique selling points and campaigns to Tripadvisor users at a bucket level, enhancing their visibility and attracting more customers. Here are the benefits for your hotel:Enhanced Promotional Opportunities: By utilizing this feature, partners can effectively highlight their promotions, discounts, and exclusive deals, such as the “Black Friday Sale” or “Extra 3% with coupon code.” Improved Conversion Rate: The ability to display custom marketing text directly on listings helps partners capture user attention, leading to higher click-through rates (CTR) and increased conversions. Targeted Advertising: Partners can control at a bucket level when and where their marketing text is displayed, ensuring their message reaches the right audience at the right time.  Please note that Marketing Text is always the last text slot after the “Fully refundable before [DATE]” or “No prepayment needed” text. This text is only visible in the chevron UI treatment (see above) and not with the text offers.New bidding models Trivago Free Booking Links Trivago has launched its Free Booking Links for hotels! These are totally free links that enable independent hoteliers to promote their official website rates. Trivago FBLs are currently available in Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Other markets are likely to open soon.  Currently, only independent hotels with no active paid campaigns on Trivago can activate Free Booking Links. If you meet these criteria, the main benefits for your hotel are :Get a new free tool to generate more direct revenue. Stay competitive and reduce the share of OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) in your distribution and sales. Gain autonomy in promoting your rates and your hotel’s visibility. Increase qualified traffic to your hotel website.However, paid campaigns generate far more clicks and direct bookings. It is therefore preferable to activate paid campaigns rather than FBL campaigns.   Trivago net commission (WIHP Exclusive)Trivago’s net commission bidding method, or net Cost Per Acquisition, is available only on Meta I/O! Activating your net CPA campaigns gives you extra security in the direct distribution of your hotel, to optimize the performance of your hotel’s online distribution.  The net CPA model allows you to set a commission amount with Trivago, and the algorithm automatically adjusts the positioning of your rate and, depending on the commission rate, optimizes the bid.  Commissions due are net of cancellations and no-shows, meaning you’ll only be charged actual stays and after your customers have departed. This guarantees you a low distribution cost and return on ad spend (ROAS).Performance tracking type update First-party tracking In order to comply with the latest RGPD laws on first-party tracking, which will come into force in January 2024, and to protect consumer privacy, search engines like Google, are gradually phasing out tracking internet users’ activity using third-party cookies.  You must therefore use “first-party” tracking to record your web users’ activity and accurately track the performance of your advertising campaigns. First-party cookies are stored directly by the website (or domain) you visit. They enable the website to collect analysis data, memorize language settings and execute the functionalities necessary for a better user experience. For example, a first-party cookie may be a user’s connection to their account on an e-commerce site. The web browser stores this data file on the user’s computer, under the domain “websitename.com”. If the user blocks first-party cookies, they will have to log in each time they visit the site, and the shopping cart will be reset after each item added. At WIHP, to continue providing our customers with a quality service, we have updated our tracking pixels, notably on our Meta I/O platform for managing metasearch campaigns.   Conclusion  The year 2023 has seen the evolution of hotel metasearch, with new features in three key areas: the user interface, bidding methods and tracking. These advances make it easier for travelers to find attractive offers tailored to their needs, while hoteliers can optimize their visibility and direct revenue.  With this constant evolution, price comparison websites continue to play an essential role in the hospitality industry, making it easier for travelers around the world to find and book hotels. At WIHP, our experts can help you achieve your online sales objectives, contact us! 

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August 4, 2023

How to gain direct bookings with Google Hotel Ads?

In today’s hotel industry, maximizing direct bookings is critical to increasing revenue and reducing dependence on third-party booking channels. For hotels, increasing direct bookings allows them to reduce commissions paid to online travel agencies (OTAs) and establish a more direct relationship with customers.  One of the most powerful solutions for achieving this goal is Google and its hotel solutions. As the world’s most used search engine, Google offers a unique opportunity for hoteliers to promote their properties directly to travelers, notably with Google Hotel Ads. With nearly 70% of the market share, it is the most used metasearch.  Google Hotel Solutions is a comprehensive suite of tools and services designed to empower hoteliers and travelers alike, transforming the way to search, book, and experience hotels. It aims to enhance the hotel industry by providing innovative solutions that optimize visibility, streamline bookings, and deliver personalized experiences for guests.  When a ready-to-book traveler searches for your hotel, having a presence on Google Hotel Ads allows you to directly reach a qualified audience and increases your direct bookings. In this article, we’ll look at how you can effectively leverage Google Hotel solutions to increase your direct bookings. How to manage your hotel Google Business Profile? Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free tool that allows local businesses to manage their online presence on Google. By creating a Google Business Profile listing for your hotel, you can improve your online visibility and help guests find your hotel more easily.  Please note that Google Hotel Ads makes it the showcase of your hotel by using all its information and pictures. It is therefore essential that your GBP is up to date and contains all the relevant information such as your hotel’s contact details, photos, reviews, and engaging descriptions that highlight the unique features of your property. Moreover, having a GBP will allow you to appear in local search results on Google Maps, and thus at the same time boost your SEO. So then again, make sure you have a complete profile that is updated regularly.  Getting positive reviews and ratings on your Google Business Profile is also essential to establishing your hotel’s credibility and gaining travelers’ trust. Encourage your satisfied guests to leave positive reviews on your Google Business Profile. The more positive reviews you have, the more attractive your property will be to potential travelers. Also, respond to reviews, whether positive or negative, to show that you value your customers’ feedback and are committed to providing quality service. Finally, add a direct booking link on your listing to your website. This allows users to book directly with you, bypassing online travel agencies.  Use Google Hotel Ads to get more direct bookings What is Google Hotel Ads? Google Hotel Ads (GHA) is a meta search advertising platform that allows hoteliers to promote their properties and reach potential guests across Google’s network platforms, including Search results, Google Maps, and Google Travel. Google Hotel Ads provide a means for hotels to increase their online visibility and drive direct bookings. Google Hotel Ads campaigns are linked to your Google Business Profile and Google Maps. Key benefits of Google Hotel Ads include:Capture ready-to-book travelers: with metasearch advertising campaigns on GHA, hoteliers can bid for their hotel to appear in the hotel search results on Google, both on desktop and mobile devices. Stay competitive: Hotels can showcase their best rates and deals alongside competitors to highlight their value proposition. Drive direct bookings: Google Hotel Ads allows users to book directly with the hotel, bypassing third-party websites or online travel agencies. Track your performance: Google Hotel Ads provides data and insights to better track hotel campaigns performance and measure return on investment (ROI).In short, Google Hotel Ads is a metasearch advertising channel for hoteliers to promote their properties and drive direct bookings.Where do your hotel official rates appear? Google Hotel Ads is specifically designed for hoteliers. These ads allow you to promote your hotel directly to users looking for your property or a property within your destination (Google Property Promotion Ads). There are many benefits to advertising on Google Hotel Ads which helps generate more direct bookings for your property. One of the main advantages is the ability to target an audience interested in your hotel or destination. You can set criteria such as users location or dates of stay to reach travelers who are more likely to be interested in your property. By targeting a relevant audience, you increase your chances of generating direct bookings with high return of investment, as you reach people who are actively looking for your hotel. One of the most critical elements for travelers when booking a hotel is the rate and availability. Google Hotel Ads allow you to update your rates and availability in real time. This means that travelers will always see the most up-to-date information when they click on your ad. Displaying real-time rates and availability builds credibility for your property and encourages travelers to book directly with you rather than searching for other options. When advertising your hotel direct rates on Google Hotel Ads, your ads will appear in your Google Business Profile (on Google Search), in Google Maps, and in Google Travel. By setting up Google Hotel Ads campaigns, you allow more potential guests to book directly with your website.   Google Business Profile  Google Maps  Google Travel  Showcase your more competitive rates One of the main reasons travelers use Google Hotel Ads is to compare rates: they often look for the best deals when booking a hotel. To attract customers to book directly with you, offer competitive rates and exclusive offers. On Google Hotel Ads, your rates are shown in real time, which is especially helpful for travelers comparing prices. By doing this, you encourage: Customer loyalty: If they have had a positive experience with your affordable rates, then they will be more likely to return on future trips. This can lead to repeat bookings and positive recommendations to their friends and family. Improved perception of value: Competitive rates can reinforce the perception of value that customers have of your property. Guests may consider that they are receiving excellent value for money by booking with you. This may encourage them to choose your hotel over another, even if they have to pay a little more. Advance bookings: By highlighting competitive rates for advance bookings, you encourage customers to plan their stays in advance. This allows you to guarantee a certain level of occupancy in advance and better manage your inventory, while offering a financial advantage to customers who book early. In addition to competitive rates, offer additional benefits for direct bookings, such as free breakfast, or discounts on spa services. Highlight these special offers in your Google Business Profile and make sure they are clearly visible on the reservations page.   Do you need to choose bidding models on Google Hotel Ads?Google Hotel Ads offers several bidding models that you can choose or combine:Cost per click (CPC) When it comes to activating bids, you have two choices: a fixed bid per night or a percentage of your room price.  To fine-tune your bidding strategy, Google offers the Bid Multiplier, allowing you to adjust your bids based on various factors like the platform, length of stay, and check-in date.  Furthermore, on Google Hotel Ads, you have the flexibility to manage your auction settings by market, such as France, USA, Spain, Canada, and more.Cost per acquisition (CPA) The CPA model empowers you to manage your campaigns based on performance alone. Google Hotel Ads offers two types of CPA options:CPA on commission per conversion: This option enables you to optimize your campaigns based on performance. By setting a commission amount with Google, the algorithm automatically adjusts your position according to your commission. In the case of CPA on the date of purchase, the commissions are determined based on the date of the customer’s reservation. CPA on commission per stay: This alternative allows hoteliers to manage performance-based campaigns, with Google billing based on the guest’s date of stay. For instance, if a traveler books a hotel room in November for a stay in January, you will be commissioned in January. This template also allows you to report cancellations and no-shows to Google.Gain free bookings with Free Booking Links In March 2021, Google introduced the Free Booking Links, which are completely free of charge. These links now account for approximately 15-16% of Google Hotel Ads traffic. However, it’s worth noting that the conversion rate for these Free Booking Links is 60% lower compared to other options. We recommend you to activate them anyway, as they can be launched in parallel with paid campaigns and is a free extra channel to get direct bookings.    So, you have the flexibility to utilize different campaign typologies (CPC, CPA, FBL) across various markets. For instance, this means you can have markets using CPC and markets using CPA for the same hotel.   How to attract more travelers to your hotel website? First of all, make sure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly.  Many travelers use different device types, such as smartphones and desktops, to search and book hotels. So page speed and a mobile-friendly site is crucial for both user experience and search rankings. How to set up an efficient SEO strategy for your hotel? Having an efficient Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is crucial for driving organic traffic to your hotel’s website and increasing bookings. Here are some steps to help you develop an effective SEO strategy for your hotel: Keyword Research: Identify relevant keywords and phrases that potential guests are likely to use when searching for hotels in your area. Use keyword research tools to find high-traffic, low-competition keywords. Focus on a mix of general hotel-related keywords and brand keywords (e.g., “beachfront hotel in Miami” “Hoxton Hotel Portland”). On-Page Optimization: Ensure that your website is optimized for search engines. This includes optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and content with your target keywords. Create unique and informative content for each page, such as room descriptions, amenities, local attractions, and other relevant information. Local SEO: Optimize your hotel’s online presence for local searches. This involves setting up a Google Business Profile (GBP) and ensuring all the information is accurate and up-to-date. Encourage guests to leave reviews on your GBP listing and respond to them promptly. Link Building: Build quality backlinks to your hotel’s website from reputable sources. Focus on getting links from local directories, travel websites, and industry-specific directories. Forming partnerships with local businesses can also help you gain backlinks. Online Reviews and Reputation Management: Encourage guests to leave reviews on platforms like Tripadvisor or Google. Positive reviews can improve your online reputation, which can influence potential guests and search engine rankings. Monitor and Analyze: Use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to monitor your website’s performance. Track your SEO efforts, analyze what’s working, and make adjustments based on the data. SEO is an ever-evolving field, and search engine algorithms change regularly. Stay informed about the latest SEO trends and best practices to adapt your strategy accordingly. Remember that SEO is a long-term strategy, and it takes time to see significant results. Be patient, consistent, and continuously improve your strategy based on data and feedback.   How to have an effective Google Ads strategy for my hotel ?  Having an effective Search Engine Advertising (SEA) strategy for your hotel can significantly improve your online visibility, drive more relevant traffic to your website, and ultimately increase bookings. Here are some key steps to create a successful SEA strategy for your hotel: Define Your Goals: Begin by setting clear and measurable objectives for your SEA campaign. Examples could be increasing direct bookings, promoting a special offer, or boosting occupancy during specific periods. Know Your Target Audience: Understand your target audience’s preferences, interests, and online behavior. This will help you bid on relevant keywords that your potential guests are likely to use. Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify the most relevant and popular search terms related to your hotel and services. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or other third-party tools to find valuable keywords for your ads. Create Compelling Ad Copy: Craft engaging and persuasive ad copy that highlights your hotel’s unique selling points and offers. Include relevant keywords in your ad copy and ensure it aligns with your target audience’s needs and interests. Ad Extensions: Utilize ad extensions to enhance your ads with additional information. Extensions like site links, call extensions, and location extensions can improve your ad’s visibility and provide users with more ways to interact with your hotel. Set a Budget and Bidding Strategy: Determine your daily, weekly, or monthly ad budget. Additionally, choose a bidding strategy that aligns with your goals. Options include manual bidding, automatic bidding, or target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) bidding. Geo-Targeting: Take advantage of geo-targeting to show your ads to users in specific locations relevant to your hotel’s target audience. This can help you reach potential guests who are more likely to convert. Monitor and Optimize: Regularly monitor the performance of your SEA campaigns. Track key metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI). Use this data to make informed optimizations to your campaigns. Seasonal and Promotional Campaigns: Plan special SEA campaigns for peak seasons, holidays, and promotional events to take advantage of increased search traffic and capitalize on potential guests’ buying intent. Remember that an effective SEA strategy requires continuous monitoring, tweaking, and adaptation. The digital landscape is ever-changing, so staying up-to-date with industry trends and adjusting your approach accordingly will be crucial for long-term success.   Track your hotel online selling performance on Google Analytics 4 Take advantage of Google Analytics 4 (aka GA4) to track and analyze your website traffic, user behavior and booking conversions. This data can help you refine your marketing strategies and optimize your direct booking efforts. It is designed to provide organizations with more advanced information about user behavior and website/application performance. GA4 introduces several significant changes and improvements over its predecessor, Universal Analytics. Here are some key features and functionality of Google Analytics 4:Event-based tracking: GA4 focuses on event-based tracking rather than the traditional page view-based tracking in Universal Analytics. It allows you to track different user interactions and events on your hotel website, giving you a more complete understanding of user behavior. Machine Learning Capabilities: GA4 incorporates advanced machine learning models that can help hoteliers automatically gain valuable insights from their data. It includes features such as automated insights, predictive metrics and anomaly detection that can help identify trends, opportunities and potential problems. Reporting and Analysis: GA4 introduces a simplified reporting interface with predefined analysis reports and a more intuitive user interface. It offers customizable dashboards, real-time data and more flexible data exploration for deeper analysis.At WIHP, you can manage or let us manage your metasearch campaigns from one single interface, our Meta I/O platform, where you can also keep an eye on your results thanks to the Report Center. Retrieve all your data and personalized your report to better track your results.    Conclusion Google Hotels offers a unique opportunity for hotels to increase their direct bookings and reduce their dependence on online travel agencies. By following the strategies mentioned in this article, you can optimize your presence on Google Hotels, attract more travelers and get them to book directly with you. By combining these strategies, you will be able to increase your direct bookings and develop a more direct and profitable relationship with your customers. Trust WIHP, your Google Ads integration partner. Our experts are here to help you increase your direct bookings, contact us!

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July 28, 2023

Why use social ads in your hotel marketing strategy?

According to a study led by Smart insights, 60% of the world’s population now uses social media. That’s just as many opportunities for brands to reach the ideal customer over and over.  Social ads are a powerful channel that make it easier for hoteliers to connect with travelers and (future) guests. It is a huge part of today’s marketing strategy for every business, so hospitality should hop on the train if it’s not already the case.  Plenty of travelers now look at social media before choosing a hotel to stay in, so having a presence on social networks is more than useful ! In this article, we give you a couple reasons why investing in social media presence for your hotel’s marketing strategy could really benefit you.    Why you should consider social ads for your hotelBrand awareness There is a lot of potential for you to improve brand awareness and your brand identity with social media ads. This is a key element in attracting more travelers to you as well as staying on top of their mind.  Basically, this means that you can convey your values and your story to a large audience, and thus give your establishment its own identity to differentiate it from others. Thanks to that, you can show its uniqueness, and its assets.  Indeed, generating brand awareness is a marketing strategy that will allow you to make your brand recognizable and memorable: you will be able to lead consumers to instinctively develop a preference for your hotel. Plus, with the diversity of platforms and formats you can use to promote your hotel, you have a lot of room for maneuver depending on your goals and the image you wish to send to travelers. Instead of promoting your hotel as just a place to stay for the night, you can advertise it as a unique experience. Engagement Social ads are mainly community based, allowing you to interact with your customers and guests. Indeed, social media platforms allow new creative ways to interact with the audience and communicate directly with your potential clients. This is how you can increase the engagement of travelers and your customers with your hotel.  Plus, users also have the possibility to share some content with their friends, which can help you gain visibility and reach more people. Finally, it’s also a great method to get proper feedback  from the guests on their stay at your place.  By having an online presence on those media, you will therefore increase your relevance and transparency, as well as attract a younger demographic to your doors who otherwise might not have been attracted to your hotel.  That can be enhanced by your e-reputation, that you can better build or improve and control if you properly manage your image and your presence on those media platforms.  Indeed, customer’s reviews and opinions are crucial in the decision-making process of other potential guests. Generating engagement through comments, reviews, likes etc. is therefore an important lever that will contribute to your online reputation. Social media are the perfect tool for that, as they are conceived to encourage people to interact constantly on their platforms. Exposure More and more, people tend to check the social pages of hotels before booking a room. It has therefore become crucial to have an updated account on social networks with content that encourages the user to come directly to you. This can be informative content, inspirational content… Posting all this content will increase your visibility thanks to paid referencing (SEA) as well as organic referencing (SEO), and thus help you boost traffic directly to your hotel website.  As we said before, online platforms are a great opportunity for you to post more pictures and videos showcasing your hotel’s room, uniqueness and surroundings. Basically, it will help give more exposure to your property. Not only can you show off your establishment and services, but also the location you are in. This will allow the travelers to better project themselves there, and have a better view of your offer.  According to mediaboom, about 72% of travelers like to know more about a service or accommodation via video content rather than a text or a blog post. Having a presence on different social platforms can help you have a grasp on your online image. Choose how to present your brand and your hotel by covering as many aspects of your offer and your services on as many different media platforms as you wish, corresponding to your target audience.  Also, with this type of large exposure, you can reach people who are not yet aware of your hotel to ultimately increase your popularity. By showing the kind of experience a traveler will have when booking with you thanks to social ads exposure, you’ll be much more likely to boost the engagement of travelers towards your hotel. In the end, this will contribute to driving more direct bookings.  It can also help promote your products and services. Indeed, not only are social media beneficial for your popularity, but they can also help you display your full offer and occasionally showcase special rates or seasonal offers that are time sensitive offers.   What are the main social channels you can use  There are plenty of different social media you can use to advertise your hotel. Each one of them has its own codes, and you can use them differently according to your goals that you want to reach.  However, it might be difficult to have a consistent presence on all of them at the same time, so it is better for you to choose wisely the most appropriate ones according to your objectives.  Here are the main social media platform that you can use for different goals: Instagram  Right behind Facebook comes Instagram. This media is largely for visuals, which is good for aesthetic purposes like showing off your property.  It is one of the most important channels today for businesses to advertise their products and / or services to a vast audience.  Initially known for pictures sharing, videos also known as “reels” are now largely trending on the platform, as well as stories.  You can use those tools to promote your hotel through enticing high-quality pictures and videos, to make the most out of this media.  Put a location tag, some hashtags, and don’t hesitate to post stories to increase engagement and visibility! Facebook  Facebook has one of the largest user bases among all the social media platforms. It goes without saying that it gives a lot of opportunities to advertise your hotel.  There is no limit in terms of words or video size that you can post, which can be a great asset depending on the type of content you wish to publish.  You can acquire the highest engagement on Facebook by encouraging your guests to post photos and / or videos of their stay with a location tag, or by running some contests as well.    Pinterest Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their various projects and interests. People create and share collections (called “Boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”) to organize things and plan trips and projects. You can make your hotel more visible by optimizing your Pins for keywords, just like you would do for Google. As a result, pins are seen by more than just your direct followers. Pinterest is mostly used by women. Now, 70% of travel decisions are made by women, and when you add in online travel purchases, that number jumps to 92%! According to digital marketing agency Omnicore, 87% of pinners have made a purchase based on something they saw on Pinterest, including booking accommodations. Pinterest is a great place to find highly engaged followers and encourage them to become repeat customers. It’s a powerful tool to educate, entice and drive traffic to your hotel’s website that can convert to hotel revenue.   Snapchat Snapchat, just like instagram, is a highly visual platform. This is a type of media that can be really useful for a hotel’s promotion since the platform relies a lot on visuals to attract customers by displaying beautiful amenities and eye-catching rooms.  What differentiates Snapchat is that it is seen as a more natural content, more genuine and without artifice as it is ephemeral and only stays online for 24 hours. On this digital app, there are some opportunities to build your image with branded filters for example, that could become part of your digital advertising strategy on social media. Those are “geofilters”, which can be personalized with your hotel name and reused by guests when filming content on the app for their friends.  Younger generation, which are the most likely to use snapchat on a daily basis, will then help you advertise your hotel thanks to a branded geofilter that indicates where they are without you having to pay extra fees and spend extra time on it. Basically, free advertisement!     Tik Tok TikTok’s success can be attributed to its emphasis on creativity, entertainment, and ease of use. The platform has gained massive popularity, particularly among younger audiences, including millennials and Gen Z. It has become a powerful tool for content creators, influencers, and businesses to reach a wide audience. TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms globally, with billions of active users. This presents an enormous potential audience for your hotel to reach, including travelers and potential guests. You can create visually appealing videos showcasing your hotel amenities, services, and beautiful locations, which can capture the attention of viewers quickly. Highlight unique experiences and behind-the-scenes glimpses that may not be as easily conveyed through other marketing channels. This can create a sense of authenticity and exclusivity, enticing potential guests. TikTok is known for its emphasis on user-generated content. By encouraging guests to create and share content about their experiences at your hotel, you can tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing and leverage the social proof generated by real guests. Embracing TikTok can give your hotel a competitive advantage over competitors that may not be leveraging this channel effectively.   Conclusion  Social ads and social media are great tools to drive traffic directly to your hotel website by advertising it and your brand online. These platforms are perfect for you to engage with your old, new but also potential customers by publishing brand new promotional content regularly.  With the rise of social media, you can implement new marketing strategies to capture qualified leads thanks to the brand awareness, engagement and exposure it allows.  Indeed, social media allows you to be proactive by directly reaching out to a wider audience. By promoting your offer on all these different platforms with various formats, you can draw people in and by doing so, you can identify new potential customers and turn them into guests. Our experts help you drive direct bookings, contact us!  

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July 18, 2023

How can you promote your eco-responsible hotel on Google?

82% of consumers say they are more concerned about sustainability now than before the pandemic, according to a Google study. In response to these new environmental challenges, Google is introducing new solutions to highlight hoteliers’ green initiatives. Google has launched an eco-certification, which can be awarded to hotels that meet a set of standards, such as waste management, water and energy consumption, by an independent organization accredited and recognized by Google. In addition to this certification, you can select new attributes on your Google Business Profile. In fact, once you’ve received your eco-friendly certification, go to your Google Business Profile, go to Info > Hotel About page, and you’ll find the “Sustainability” and “Eco-certifications” attributes. Here you can list your sustainable practices and certifications. These new features are designed to help web users make choices that align with their environmental values and the desire to practice sustainable tourism. Therefore, it could be very interesting for your eco hotel to position itself on these eco-friendly criteria in order to communicate your environmental commitments and actions to your clientele. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know to promote your eco-responsible hotel on Google.What are your hotel’s sustainable practices? The sustainable hotel attributes are entered in your Google Business Profile.You will then be presented with a list of 4 distinct categories, and it’s up to you to classify your practices in one of them. You can find: Energy efficiency: energy-saving programs, energy from carbon sources, solar energy, green architecture, low-energy lighting, etc. Water protection:  towel reuse program, water-saving shower taps and flush toilets, etc. Waste reduction: composting surplus food, recycling program, water fountain, compostable food containers and cutlery, etc. Sustainable sourcing: responsible purchasing policy, vegan and vegetarian meals, locally sourced food, eco-friendly toiletries, etc.What is eco-certification and how do I get it? “Eco-certified” hotels are those that have taken steps to promote sustainability and reduce their environmental impact. In fact, 62% of French people say they prefer a hotel with a certification or label attesting to its environmental responsibility (according to a 2023 study by Booking.com). Google is not responsible for awarding these certifications. It is the hotel’s responsibility to take all necessary steps to obtain certification from a qualified third party.  For a certification to be recognized by Google, it must meet a number of criteria: The certifying body must use internationally recognized criteria.The hotel audit must assess environmental impact in at least four categories: energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and sustainable procurement. The organization must conduct an on-site audit or use an independent third-party auditor to validate the hotel’s sustainable practices. Here’s a list of companies to get you started: 29 Companies Recognized by Google.   How can I promote my environmentally responsible hotel to travelers?  According to a study conducted by Booking.com in 2023, 79% of respondents said that sustainable travel is important to them. This shows a strong desire on the part of the French to travel more ethically, although there are still obstacles in the way.  It is therefore in your interest to make your hotel environmentally responsible, and to make this clear and accessible to the general public. What better way to do this than through Google, one of the most popular search engines for Internet users?   Make your environmental commitments visible on Google  Acquiring these sustainable development attributes and an eco-certification translates into a green leaf icon next to your business name. Simply go to your Google Business Profile and click on “My Hotel’s Attributes” in the “Info” section to add them. This way, when a traveler clicks on the green leaf icon, your list of attributes will automatically be displayed. If you also have an eco-label, the process is the same. Go to the “Info” section and click on “Eco-certification”. Then check the one you have.  The words “eco-certified” will automatically appear next to the name of your hotel. It may take a few days for Google to update your listing.Sustainability certification on your hotel’s Google Business Profile (Hôtel De Neuve by HappyCulture)  Detail of the “Sustainability” tag in Google TravelWhat impact will this have on my SEO? The main advantage is that travelers will be able to see your commitments through this eco-label that will appear on Google Travel, which can help you stand out from your competitors.  Indeed, this is all the more relevant in Google Travel’s filters: travelers can filter their search results with the mention “sustainability”, giving you a significant competitive edge.  Obtaining certification or registering your eco-friendly attributes on Google does not significantly impact your natural referencing in classic Google search results. However, if the traveler types in keywords directly related to sustainability when searching, these criteria can help to improve your position in Google search results thanks to keywords related to this topic (“eco-friendly hotel”, “organic food”, etc.).   Promote your eco-certification on your hotel website You can share all of your hotel’s values, especially its environmental values, on your hotel’s website. Don’t hesitate to tell the story of your hotel and the weight of your daily commitment, without going overboard and falling into greenwashing, of course!By highlighting your hotel’s values on your website, you can set yourself apart from the competition and attract customers who share these values. For example, with eco-responsibility, you will attract customers who favor environmentally friendly practices. In fact, 77% of French travelers say they want to travel more sustainably in the coming months: by highlighting what makes your hotel unique, you can attract customers who are looking for a specific type of experience. Being transparent about your values and beliefs also helps build trust with potential customers. They’ll feel more comfortable booking with a hotel that shares their values. It also benefits your brand image and reputation. It can lead to greater loyalty not only from your customers, but also from your employees. When they understand and share your hotel’s values, they can feel more engaged and motivated. This can translate into greater job satisfaction and a higher level of service to customers.   Conclusion By promoting your environmental efforts and your hotel’s uniqueness on Google, you can reach and attract travelers who want to travel more sustainably.  Google is working hard to make this process as comprehensive and convenient as possible for all hoteliers, including making elements such as eco-labels and sustainable attributes available to you at a time when these issues are becoming more decisive every day.  It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to highlight your hotel’s values on your website through engaging, high-quality text and visual content. Visitors to your hotel website will then be able to get a better idea of the identity and experience they’ll have when they book with you. This is critical in today’s consumer decision-making process.  Our team of hotel digital marketing specialists is here to help you highlight your values and beliefs to Internet users, contact us!