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July 18, 2023

Best practices to gain bookings on your hotel website

In today’s digital age, a user-centered hotel website plays a crucial role in attracting and converting potential guests into bookings. With travelers increasingly relying on the internet to research and book accommodations, having a website that prioritizes user experience and meets their needs is of utmost importance.  A user-centered approach ensures that your website is intuitive, visually appealing, and provides the information and functionality that potential customers are seeking. By focusing on creating a seamless and engaging online experience, you can significantly increase your chances of gaining bookings and achieving success in the competitive hospitality industry.   What are the marketing stakes of having an efficient hotel website? Having an efficient hotel website brings several selling and marketing benefits. Here are the key stakes associated with an efficient hotel website:Improve your profitability, and cost-effectivenessFirst of all, a fast and efficient hotel website allows guests to book directly with your property, eliminating the need for intermediaries. This helps you avoid paying high commission fees to online travel agencies (OTAs) and increases your revenue per booking. So, direct bookings through your website typically yield higher profit margins compared to bookings through OTAs. By reducing reliance on third-party platforms, you can maximize your revenue and profitability. Furthermore, an effective hotel website serves as a cost-effective marketing channel. Indeed, by investing in website optimization, digital advertising, and more broadly digital marketing, you can reach a larger audience, engage potential guests, and generate bookings at a lower cost compared to third parties. As a result, in a competitive marketplace, having a website made to drive bookings gives you a competitive edge. By providing a user-friendly and engaging online experience, you can outperform competitors who may have outdated or poorly optimized websites.Keep your (future) guests happy Driving direct booking strategies through your website enables you to establish a direct connection with your guests from the initial booking stage. This opens up opportunities for personalized communication, guest loyalty programs, and post-stay engagement, fostering stronger relationships with guests and repeat bookings. You can also create exclusive offers, loyalty programs and packages available only on your hotel website, for guests who book directly through your website. This can include discounted rates, complimentary services, access to additional amenities, or bundled packages that provide added value to direct bookings. To keep up with travelers’ research behaviors and the millennial generation, with the increasing use of mobile devices for travel bookings, having a mobile-responsive website is crucial. An efficient hotel website that is optimized for mobile ensures a seamless user experience, leading to higher conversion rates and bookings from mobile users. Your hotel website acts as a platform to showcase guest reviews, testimonials, and awards. By managing your online reputation effectively, you can build trust and credibility among potential guests, influencing their booking decisions.   Optimize your branding, and visibility A well-designed hotel website gives you full control over your brand identity and messaging. It allows you to showcase your unique features, amenities, and experiences, thereby differentiating yourself from competitors and attracting the right target audience. Also, a well-optimized hotel website increases your visibility on search engines, allowing potential guests to find your property more easily. By implementing effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, and technical parameters, you can improve your organic rankings and attract organic traffic to your website. Finally, your website provides access to valuable data and analytics: take advantage of it! By leveraging tools such as Google Analytics 4, you can gain insights into visitor behavior, booking patterns, and demographic information. This data helps you make informed marketing decisions and optimize your website for better performance.   Overall, an efficient hotel website plays a vital role in driving direct bookings, maximizing profitability, establishing brand identity, and nurturing guest relationships. It serves as a powerful marketing tool to attract, engage, and convert potential guests, contributing to the long-term success of your hotel business.   What are the best practices to gain bookings on my hotel website? To gain bookings on your hotel website, it’s important to optimize your website and employ effective marketing strategies. Here are some best practices to help you increase bookings:   Get a website designed to generate bookings Of course, first, you need to implement a reliable and user-friendly online booking engine on your website.  Then, ensure your website has a clean, fast, intuitive, and mobile-responsive design. Make it easy for visitors to navigate, search for availability, and book rooms. Optimize the booking process by minimizing the number of steps required. Don’t forget to place clear, prominent and visually appealing calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout your website. Use phrases like “Book Now” or “Check Availability” to encourage visitors to take immediate action and enter a seamless reservation path. Ensure to display it strategically on multiple pages, making it easy for visitors to initiate the booking process. We detail this part later on in the article.    Showcase compelling contentUse professional photos and videos to showcase your hotel’s rooms, amenities, and common areas. High-quality visuals create a positive impression and entice potential guests to book.Aligned with visuals, write well-written, short paragraphs that make for compelling storytelling. Craft engaging and persuasive content to describe your hotel’s unique features, benefits, and experiences.  Highlight the benefits of booking directly on your hotel website such as any special offers, packages, amenities, flexibility, better cancellation policies, or personalized services that set your hotel apart from competitors. Similarly, you should put forward any best price guarantees: assure potential guests that booking directly through your website offers the best rates and benefits, thus incentivizing them to bypass third-party platforms. Don’t hesitate to leverage your website’s collected data on your visitors and clients to develop an email marketing strategy. Indeed, you can reach out to potential guests and nurture relationships with previous customers. Send personalized offers, newsletters, and exclusive promotions to encourage direct bookings.   Advertise your hotel and rates on all channels Utilize online advertising platforms, such as Google Ads, Metasearch Ads or social media ads, to target potential guests who have shown interest in your destination or hotel. Search engine advertising (SEA), such as Google Ads, allows your hotel to appear at the top of the search results pages, and helps you drive targeted traffic to your hotel website and increase bookings. Define your advertising goals: brand protection and/or generic campaign. It will guide your  keyword strategy, to identify relevant keywords and phrases that potential guests are likely to use when searching for accommodations. Focus on both broad and brand/specific keywords related to your hotel’s location, amenities, and unique selling points. Promote your hotel on metasearch platforms to increase your direct bookings and visibility. Metasearch engines like Google Hotel Ads, Tripadvisor, and trivago allow travelers to compare prices and availability across multiple OTAs and hotel websites in one place. Utilize metasearch advertising to appear prominently in search results, optimize your listing with accurate and up-to-date information, high-quality visuals, and competitive rates. By capitalizing on the reach and convenience of metasearch, you attract more potential guests to book directly on your website. Establish an active presence on social media platforms relevant to your target audience through ads and organic content. Share engaging content, promote special offers, and interact with users to build brand awareness and loyalty. Last but not least, you can also implement remarketing campaigns to remind previous website visitors about your property and encourage them to book directly.   Analyze and optimize your performanceYou need to optimize your website for search engines to improve its visibility and organic rankings. Identify relevant keywords and incorporate them naturally into your website’s content, titles, meta tags, and URLs. Continuously monitor website analytics, conversion rates, and booking trends as well. Analyze the data to identify areas for improvement, such as optimizing website performance, adjusting marketing campaigns, or refining your booking process. Use data to make informed decisions about website optimization, marketing strategies, and pricing to maximize direct bookings.Remember, gaining bookings on your hotel website is an ongoing process. By implementing these best practices and adapting to market trends, you can increase your website’s conversion rate and drive more direct bookings. Your performance results may vary depending on your pricing strategy.We recommend you to regularly review and optimize your room rates and packages based on market demand, seasonality, and competitor analysis. Consider offering exclusive deals or packages for direct bookings to incentivize guests.    Focus: Having a user-centered website Increasing Conversion Rates The ultimate goal of a user-centered hotel website is to drive conversions and generate bookings. By understanding your target audience’s needs, pain points, and desires, you can optimize your website to provide solutions and incentives that motivate visitors to make a booking. Streamlined booking processes, clear calls-to-action, and persuasive content all contribute to improving your conversion rates and maximizing the return on your website investment.Enhancing User Experiencehttp://wordpress.wihphotels.com/wihphotels/media/sites/50/2023/07/Lodji-Hotel-1.mp4 A user-centered hotel website prioritizes the needs and preferences of potential guests, making their journey from initial search to booking as smooth as possible. By providing intuitive navigation, clear information, and an easy-to-use booking process, you can eliminate friction points and create a positive experience for visitors. A well-designed and user-friendly website increases the likelihood of visitors staying on your site, exploring different room options, and ultimately making a booking. Streamline and simplify your website’s booking process: minimize the number of steps required, reduce form fields to essential information, and make it easy for guests to review their booking details before finalizing the reservation. Moreover, mobile devices have become the primary means of searching for a hotel for many travelers. A user-centered hotel website is mobile-responsive, meaning it adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes and maintains optimal functionality and aesthetics on smartphones and tablets. By catering to mobile users, you tap into a large and growing segment of potential guests, providing them with a frictionless booking experience on their preferred device.Building Trust and Credibility A user-centered website instills trust and credibility in potential guests. It demonstrates your commitment to providing a high-quality guest experience, even before they step foot in your hotel. By offering comprehensive information about your rooms, amenities, services, and policies, along with professional visuals and guest testimonials, you build confidence and reassure visitors that they are making the right choice. When guests trust your website, they are more likely to proceed with a booking rather than seeking alternatives.   Conclusion By implementing these strategies and continuously refining your website and marketing efforts, you can increase the number of direct hotel bookings, reduce reliance on third-party platforms, and boost revenue for your hotel. In an era where travelers increasingly rely on online platforms to make their travel arrangements, having a user-centered hotel website is paramount. By prioritizing user experience, building trust, catering to mobile users, personalizing the experience, and optimizing for conversions, you can significantly increase your chances of gaining bookings.  A website that puts potential guests at the center of its design and functionality is a powerful tool for attracting, engaging, and converting visitors into loyal guests, ultimately driving the success of your hotel business.At WIHP, our website specialists are here to help you increase your bookings on your hotel website : get in touch with us !

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July 18, 2023

How does Google Hotel Ads’ commission program work?

For hoteliers, metasearch engines play a major role in increasing their direct bookings. In the fiercely competitive hospitality industry, hoteliers face the constant challenge of attracting and securing bookings amidst a sea of OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) and hotel booking platforms. In such a landscape, metasearch engines have emerged as an invaluable channel for hoteliers, offering unique opportunities to increase direct bookings, enhance visibility, and optimize revenue management strategies.  Understanding the importance of metasearch for hoteliers is crucial in today’s digital age, where a strong online presence can make a significant difference in a hotel’s success. Embracing metasearch as a key component of their digital marketing and distribution strategy is crucial for hoteliers who aim to thrive and flourish in the dynamic and evolving hospitality landscape. Google Hotel Ads is the most used metasearch by travelers who search for a hotel. Apart from the commonly-used cost-per-click bidding method, it also offers a commission-based bidding model. Let’s dive into what it is, how it works and what are the benefits for your hotel. We will also detail all the basics about Google Hotel Ads so everyone is on the page.   What is Google Hotel Ads?Google Hotel Ads (GHA) is a metasearch or price comparison site that allows hotels and accommodation providers to showcase their properties and attract potential guests through targeted advertising. It is designed to help travelers find and book accommodations directly from Google Search results, Google Maps or Google Hotels. With Google Hotel Ads, you can display your hotels rates, availability, and other relevant information to users who are searching for a hotel. The ads appear prominently in the Google My Business of your hotel to capture the attention of potential guests. It provides a user-friendly experience for travelers to research, compare, and book accommodations while allowing hotels to drive direct bookings and increase their online visibility. By leveraging this advertising channel, you can drive more direct sales, and reach a highly qualified audience.  How does the commission-based model work on Google Hotel Ads? Setup & Display First, to advertise your hotel prices on Google Hotel Ads, you have to partner with a certified integration partner, to connect your inventory and rates to Google Hotel Ads. They will assist you in setting up the necessary API connections.  Then you need to provide your property’s inventory and rates to the integration partner, who then communicates this information to Google: this step involves configuring your rates, room types, availability, and any restrictions or special conditions. Often the integration partners will connect directly to your current CRS or iBE systems to get all the necessary data. Regarding your ads display, when users search for hotel-related queries on Google Search or Google Maps, relevant hotel ads are displayed alongside organic search results on the SERP (search engine result page). Your ads appear under the “Compare the prices section” in the Google Business Profile of your hotel.  Your rates also appear in Google Hotel Immersive, in the price section. Users access Google Immersive where they can view detailed information about the hotel, when they click on the “Book a room” button in your GBP (Google Business Profile) If the user chooses to click on your official website link, they are directed to your hotel’s booking engine to complete their direct reservation.   Commission model explained Hotels participating in Google Hotel Ads may pay for ad placements using different bidding models, including cost-per-click (CPC) or commission-based models. In the commission-based model, hotels have the possibility to pay a commission to Google for each completed booking generated through the ads.. You decide on the commission structure you are willing to pay to Google for each completed booking generated through Google Hotel Ads. The commission is a percentage of the total booking value.  Configure the settings with your metasearch partner to indicate that you want to participate in the commission program and specify the commission percentage. Two types of commissions bidding methods Commission per acquisition (CPA) model, hotels are charged a fixed commission for each completed booking on the official website booking engine coming from Google Hotel Ads campaigns. The commission is due on purchase date.  The commission is calculated on the amount of the reservation when it has actually taken place. It allows you to manage your campaigns in a more simple and automated way, while accessing a certain level of detail. The metasearch system will optimize the bids and guarantee the cost of distribution of your campaigns. Commission per stay (CPS) model, the commission is calculated based on the total value of the guest’s stay. The commission percentage is decided by the hotel. You manage your campaigns in the same way as CPA, but the commission is due after your guest stay, it is net of cancellations and no shows, which further guarantees your distribution cost, and return on ad spend (ROAS). Finally, note that commission rates vary depending on the metasearch and the markets in which you sell your establishment. However, to achieve your goals, you can combine your bidding methods by market and/or metasearch. What is the right commission rate to choose? There is no right commission rate applicable to every hotel because it depends on the property, the objectives, the market, etc. It is up to you to determine what is the commission rate you are willing to pay according to your visibility, activity and your digital selling goals.  There is no official minimum commission rate on Google Hotel Ads but you have to bid to appear on metasearch. Indeed, Google determines your hotel’s position in the listing according to your commission: an e-CPC is calculated based on the number of clicks divided by number of conversions and the commission amount.  This e-CPC is correlated to a quality score, and is in competition with OTAs. All of this will determine your hotel position in Google Hotel Ads per market. The benefits of commission-based modelsOne of the primary advantages of the commission-based model is the ability for hoteliers to compete on an equal footing with larger players in the industry. This levels the playing field, giving smaller or independent hotels an opportunity to showcase their unique offerings and stand out among competitors. Additionally, the commission-based model incentivizes metasearch engines to actively promote and market participating hotels, as their revenue is directly tied to successful bookings. Metasearch engines invest in various advertising channels and optimization strategies to drive traffic to their platforms, increasing the visibility of hotels listed within their search results. This expanded exposure can result in a higher volume of direct bookings, reducing reliance on third-party booking platforms and saving hoteliers on distribution costs. What about Google Free Booking Links? Google Free Booking Links (FBLs) are free links that show your official rate in the “All options” category on your Google Business Profile. Once set up, they allow your hotel website to be displayed on Google. Thus, depending on the dates of stay selected by travelers, you will display the best available rates.  The Free booking links from Google Hotel Ads appear under the paid ads. When they appear, the official website always gets the first position of the free space.By clicking on a Free booking link, the traveler will be automatically redirected to your website’s booking page, increasing your traffic. Make sure you have a fast, user-friendly website with a simple purchase path, with the room in question and rates clearly displayed. FBLs are automatically activated when you launch classic paid Google Hotel Ads campaigns: paid GHA campaigns will bring you more direct bookings but FBLs can account for up to 40% of hotels’ direct bookings. These organic links allow all hoteliers to increase their direct income for free, including those who do not have a Google Hotel Ads connection. Tracking & Optimization  Google provides conversion tracking tools that allow you to measure the effectiveness of your Hotel Ads campaigns. The conversion tracking helps determine which bookings can be attributed to your Hotel Ads campaigns, enabling accurate calculation of the ROAS (Return on Ads Spend) and commission value on commissions programs.  Regularly monitor the performance of your Google Hotel Ads campaigns, including impressions, clicks, and bookings. Continuously optimize your Google Hotel Ads campaigns to improve performance. This may involve adjusting your bidding strategy, refining your targeting locations, length of stay biding, device, checkin day, etc. You can also implement special promotions to drive more bookings and maximize the return on investment. At WIHP, we provide you a turn key solution Meta I/O metasearch management platform. allowing you to connect, optimize, monitor and track all your metasearch campaigns and performances.    What are Google Hotel Ads benefits for my hotel?  Google Hotel Ads offers several benefits to hoteliers. Here are some key advantages of using Google Hotel Ads:Direct Bookings: With Google Hotel Ads, you have the opportunity to drive direct bookings. When users click on a hotel ad, they are typically directed to your hotel’s booking engine to complete the reservation. This helps hotels maintain control over the booking process and potentially reduce reliance on third-party booking platforms.Targeted Reach: Google Hotel Ads allows you to target your ads to specific geographic locations, devices, dates, length of stay, etc. This targeting capability ensures that hotel ads are shown at the right time to users who are already interested in your property, increasing the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.Showcase Competitive Advantages: Hotel ads on Google allow you to showcase your unique selling points, such as special offers, discounts, members rates, cancellations policies, exclusive add-ons etc. This helps differentiate yourself from competitors and attract potential guests with compelling features.Mobile Optimization: Google Hotel Ads is optimized for mobile devices, which is crucial in today’s mobile-driven world. As users increasingly use smartphones and tablets for travel research and bookings, having mobile-friendly ads ensures a seamless user experience and maximizes the chances of conversion.Increased Visibility: Google is one of the most widely used search engines, and by advertising on Google Hotel Ads, you can significantly increase your hotel’s visibility to potential guests. Hotel ads appear prominently in search engine results pages, increasing the chances of attracting relevant traffic.Integration with Direct Booking Systems: Hotels can integrate their direct booking systems or preferred partners with Google Hotel Ads, streamlining the booking process and ensuring accurate availability and pricing information. This integration enhances operational efficiency.It’s important to note that the benefits of Google Hotel Ads may vary. You should assess your specific needs and goals to determine what Google Hotel Ads strategy aligns with your digital marketing objectives and budget allocation.   How to drive more direct bookings with Google Hotel Ads?Here are some strategies and best practices to increase your direct bookings:Optimize Your Google Hotel Ads Campaign:Highlight unique selling points, such as exclusive offers, amenities, or promotions. Include competitive pricing information to attract price-conscious travelers. Leverage ad extensions, such as callouts or structured snippets, to provide additional information and entice users.Optimize Your Hotel’s website:Ensure your website is user-friendly, visually appealing, and mobile-responsive. Streamline the booking process to make it quick and easy for users to complete their reservations. Display clear and transparent pricing and availability information. Make it easy for users to proceed with the booking by providing a seamless user experience from the ad to the booking process.Leverage Special Offers and Promotions:Create exclusive offers and promotions for direct bookings, such as discounted rates, free upgrades, or value-added packages. Highlight these special offers in your Google Hotel Ads to incentivize users to book directly with your hotel.Monitor and Optimize Performance:Regularly analyze the performance of your Google Hotel Ads campaign. Track metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS). Use the insights gained to optimize your campaign, adjusting bids, ad placements, or targeting to improve performance.Utilize Remarketing:Implement remarketing campaigns to target users who have previously shown interest in your hotel. Show personalized ads to these users as they continue browsing the web, reminding them to book directly with your hotel.Remember to regularly evaluate and adjust your strategies based on performance data and user feedback. By continually optimizing your Google Hotel Ads campaign and providing a compelling booking experience, you can increase the likelihood of driving more direct bookings to your hotel.   Conclusion In conclusion, the commission-based model in metasearch engines has transformed the way hoteliers approach marketing and distribution strategies. The commission-based structure allows hotels to reach travelers actively searching for accommodation and only pay a commission when a booking is made. Leveraging the data insights and optimizing revenue management strategies within the commission-based model can result in higher bookings and revenue for hoteliers. Embracing this model can lead to a more cost-effective and performance-driven approach to marketing and distribution in the competitive hospitality industry. Our team of meta search specialists are here to guide you in reaching your direct revenue goals through efficient metasearch advertising campaigns : contact us !

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June 30, 2023

7 design trends to convert travelers on your website

Visiting your hotel’s website has become an almost mandatory part of a traveler’s booking process. It can be the deciding factor.  Taking care of your website is crucial because it’s the first interaction between you and your potential customer. Of course, it’s important to have a fast, efficient and intuitive website. But it’s just as important to take care of its appearance as well as its technical parameters.  A modern web design in line with current trends will help you convert travelers into customers and thus increase your volume of direct bookings. Here are 7 design trends for 2023 that will give your website a boost and make it more attractive to Internet users.The challenges of designing your hotel website  The branding of your website is a key element that you have to consider if you want it to be effective in your marketing strategy. In fact, it is from this branding that your hotel’s visual identity will be shaped. That’s why it’s so important to choose your graphic charter, design and logo carefully, so that they reflect what you want to convey to travelers (atmosphere, values, etc.).  In the case of a hotel takeover, for instance, don’t hesitate to rework these visual elements by creating a new website, to make the establishment your own and to give it a new identity in line with your objectives.  The same applies to the creation of a new hotel: a great amount of work on this part is crucial, as it’s an indispensable tool in the marketing of your services. As well as giving your hotel an identity, it will make it easily recognizable to customers and potential guests, and will therefore play a major role in your digital distribution.7 web design trends for your website 1.   Think mobile first  Today, 70% of Internet users visit your hotel’s website on mobile devices. It goes without saying that it has become essential to have a mobile version of your hotel website that is as worked and polished as the desktop version. By implementing an adaptive design layout, you ensure a smooth, pleasant navigation for travelers who land on your site no matter what device they’re using.  With this type of design, you can rethink your user experience and user interface to adapt them to the screen your visitors are using (mobile, tablet, computer, etc.).  This means you can manage the way each element appears and is arranged on the screen, depending on its size and format. You’ll deliver a better user experience, because page content will be displayed in an optimized way whatever the platform. Unlike the responsive web design, which has a single layout that adapts content automatically to the screen size of the browser without taking its display into consideration.2.   Focus on experience  At a time when technology and artificial intelligence are booming, putting the hotel experience and the user at the center of your hotel website’s communication is paramount.  Creating life-like scenes in your photos illustrating your offer can help travelers project themselves into your home, and give your hotel an authentic, real-life dimension. You can also address visitors directly on your website to create a close relationship with them.3.   Bring your website to life Engaging web users is an important factor in the decision-making process.   A more interactive design helps to arouse browsers’ curiosity, with a progressive “reveal” of the products or services on offer, for example. Adding these aesthetic touches is also a way of modernizing your website’s design. This also involves the aesthetic choices you make when designing your hotel website. To move in this direction, bring modernity and engage web users, we recommend adding hover effects to your website. When the mouse hovers over a button (called a call-to-action), or an image.  The CTA is an essential element of a hotel website, as it’s what enables visitors to book, visit your room pages and discover your hotel. It’s a good idea to keep the “Book” button on every page of your website, to make it easier for visitors to book.  4.   Help visitors picturing their experience through videosThe video format is also gaining ground in the hotel industry. A short, captivating video can increase the amount of time a visitor spends on your website.  In the same way, as a selection of beautiful, high-quality photos, inserting short videos helps to create a storytelling around your establishment, and therefore encourages traveler engagement, making it easier for them to picture themselves into their stay. Adding a video of your hotel to the home page, for example, allows visitors to immerse themselves in the atmosphere and unique experience they’ll find during their stay at your hotel. Another increasingly popular feature is aerial photos. Not only does this give your establishment a sense of grandeur, it’s also a good way for travelers to visualize the setting in which the hotel is located. It’s nothing new, but high-quality photos are essential for your website: the same goes for aerial photos. Don’t be afraid to invest in high-quality content!  As it has been for years, photos remain a crucial element to highlight on your hotel website. To modernize this and breathe new life into your site, you can choose a photo carousel.  The photo carousel will add dynamism to your website and allow better navigation and access to your images by visitors. You’ll avoid an overloaded effect without sacrificing the visual aspect that illustrates your establishment. Just make sure that the image size and shape are optimal for the space your photos will occupy. 5.   Create an inclusive website  Another trend that has become increasingly important in recent years is having an inclusive site, which helps you retain more potential customers. Indeed, by making it more accessible to all, the audience you reach will be much wider. According to the WHO, 16% of the population has a disability: that’s just as many potential customers who could represent a missed opportunity! Adding alternative text to all your images or using high-contrast graphics in your website’s charter will benefit people who are color-blind or have poor eyesight. At the same time, you’ll be able to take advantage of the opportunity to improve the SEO (Search engine Optimization) of your website. It’s also one of the simplest elements to implement to make your website more inclusive. A legible typography with an adapted size is also a point that could benefit travelers with dyslexia, for example.  If your hotel website includes videos, it’s a good idea to include a transcript. In general, transcribing all the media files on your site can only make it more accessible. This way, users who can’t hear the video can still learn about its content. If you do it in several languages, you can reach an even wider audience, especially in the hospitality sector. 6.   Having clean and impactful designs In the hotel industry, it’s good taste to keep web design simple and uncluttered. With a consistent font and fluid, intuitive navigation, you’ll naturally guide travelers to call-to-actions (CTAs), especially the “book now” button on your website, which will stand out more. Use space intelligently to make reading fluid and pleasant, avoiding visual overload. Following these recommendations will result in a more sophisticated, polished look, with a calm atmosphere emanating from it in response to the noisy world that travelers try to escape from during their vacation. To sum up, both textual and visual content are important. It’s advisable to avoid overloading your website with widgets, pop-ups and other elements that will pollute navigation by creating “visual noise”. The trend is “less is more”, with minimalist, elegant hotel websites that focus on the user experience. The aim is to facilitate the traveler’s decision to book on your official website.  7.   Designing “room” pages http://wordpress.wihphotels.com/wihphotels/media/sites/50/2023/06/Tel-Video-Blog.mp4 “Room” pages are where web users spend the most time. Creating a visually appealing experience while providing as much relevant information as possible is therefore essential, as it can have a decisive impact on a potential customer’s final decision to book with you directly. There are a number of ways to make them stand out in the eyes of travelers: make a listing showing every room in a suite, and dedicate a complete page to each, like for the Five Seas Hotel in Cannes, for example.   In addition, to make sure you have a complete description of your rooms, you can, for example, detail their surface area, the equipment available, the number of beds, the presence or absence of a bathroom, heating, wifi and any other relevant element concerning your offer. Don’t hesitate to use pictograms to illustrate this information: visual and quickly understandable, they will enhance the user experience.   Conclusion These are the 7 design trends that are gaining momentum this year. Of course, it’s up to you to adapt your website to suit your branding and the image you want to project. The choice of colors, photos, structure and so on. It’s all up to you to adapt your website to your digital hotel marketing objectives.  Contact us for personalized support in the creation of your attractive, efficient and polished website!

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June 26, 2023

Running a metasearch campaign for your hotel

Metasearch engines are used extensively by travelers preparing their trips. Posting your rates on metasearch will give you greater visibility and increase direct bookings on your hotel’s website by up to 30%! A metasearch site is a price comparison tool. It lists hotel rates according to criteria such as destination, room price or the number of stars the hotel has. Google Hotel Ads, Trivago, Kayak and Tripadvisor are some of the metasearch platforms you can use to quickly and easily attract more customers to your establishment. To be able to exploit metasearch to their full potential, you need to understand the recurring concepts that enable you to navigate these platforms. Here’s a metasearch lexicon and the keys to a successful campaign.   Metasearch glossaryMetasearch campaigns Metasearch campaigns represent all the ads promoting your official rates on the various price comparison sites. This is an important channel for reaching a ready-to-book audience and increasing your direct bookings, without using OTAs. So, by advertising your hotel on metasearch, you’ll greatly boost your traffic acquisition to your website and convert more travelers.   Ads When an Internet user performs a search on Google, two distinct elements appear: organic search results and advertisements. Ads are part of Google’s advertising programs. They are sponsored links that appear at the top of the page, usually before the organic search results. In Google Hotel Ads, ads (sponsored links) are the links that appear in your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), under the “Compare prices” selection. These links redirect to booking pages called landing pages. So, for your hotel, you can use this type of ad to display your website’s rate on the dates selected by web users, with the mention “official site”. For price comparison sites like Tripadvisor and trivago, ads work in the same way, with dynamic rates displayed on your establishment’s page.   trivago display (left) / Tripadvisor display (right)   Google Free Booking Links Unlike previous booking links, clicks on Google’s Free Booking Links are free: they are available at no charge. These free links will also display similar information with your establishment’s rates based on the stay selected by the traveler. When a traveler performs a search, the results page will first display ads (paid booking links classified according to an advertising auction system). Free booking links will then appear, ranked according to their usefulness to the traveler making the search. Google Free Booking Links under “All Options”  Also, trivago launched its Free Booking Links this year for hotels. These are totally free links that enable independent hotels to promote their rates on their official website, only for those who do not run paid ads on the trivago price comparison service. Trivago Free Booking Links are currently available in Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Unlike Google Free Booking Links, there is no separate section for free and paid links. As such, they will appear as a normal “hotel website” direct channel ad. Finally, trivago FBLs appear after the 3rd position in the list of search results. If your official website offers the lowest rate, then it will reach the 3rd position, which is the spot reserved for the lowest price.       Auction models Biddings determine the ranking of your ads. There are several bidding models available on price comparison sites. With each new request from web users, the display of your ads, and therefore your official site rates, will be in competition with other advertisers (OTAs). Below you’ll find all the bidding models available on the various price comparison sites:Cost-per-click (CPC): payment is made when the traveler clicks on your ad. Cost-per-conversion or cost-per-acquisition (CPA): a pre-set commission rate that you pay only when the traveler books a room in your hotel. Commissions per stay: you pay only after your customer has stayed with you. With this bidding method, you can declare no-shows and cancellations, so you don’t have to pay commission on an unfulfilled stay.Landing page The landing page is the booking engine page to which Internet users are redirected when they click on your ads. Metasearch campaigns redirect all traffic to your booking engine, with check-in/check-out information and the number of people pre-registered to facilitate booking. This makes it easy for Internet users to make a reservation directly on your booking engine. Example of a landing page on Google Hotels  What market share for metasearch? Today, 72% of Internet users use metasearch as part of their purchasing process. Positioning yourself on this channel can therefore be a very interesting way of increasing your direct revenues. They become a new source of traffic, enabling hoteliers to use them as a showcase to display their rates to Internet users. Indeed, traveler behavior is evolving, and since the pandemic, new parameters have to be taken into account by hotels to better sell online. From research to booking, most travelers use the Internet to organize their stay. We’re also witnessing a gradual shift in travelers’ preference for booking on the hotel’s official website. Take advantage of this trend to continue maximizing the promotion of your direct rates and your hotel website to stay competitive with the OTAs (Online Travel Agencies). Finally, 53% of travelers are spending more time looking for the best price than they did two years ago. So offering a rate that competes with other retailers on metasearch is a decisive factor for your hotel. There have also been a number of digital innovations in the hotel and travel sectors. Google Hotel Ads, launched by Google, continues to develop and thrive, with the introduction of Free Booking Links in 2020 and the launch of Google Performance Max for travel goals in 2023, for example.   How to run a successful metasearch campaign To benefit from all the advantages that metasearch has to offer, you need to be able to run an effective campaign. That’s why it’s important to define your objectives and your budget, so as to establish an effective strategy that matches your business. Here are a few tips for running an optimized campaign.   Be present on more than one metasearch It depends on the budget you choose to allocate to metasearch campaigns, but it goes without saying that the more you are present online, the more likely potential guests are to come across your hotel. There are, of course, the best-known and most widely used metasearch platforms, such as Tripadvisor, Google Hotel Ads and trivago, but don’t forget Kayak and Skyscanner, which can play just as important a role in helping you gain notoriety as the bigger metasearch platforms. Each platform has its own specific features, although they remain very similar. For example, when it comes to geographic targeting, Kayak is more likely to operate in North America. Taking this into account, you can decide to adjust your strategy to remain as relevant as possible on each hotel metasearch engine on which you want to appear. So, while adopting a one-size-fits-all approach may save you time in the short term, it won’t always be the most effective. You can adapt your pricing strategy with the bidding models you wish to use until you find a balance that maximizes your return on investment (ROI) and return on advertising spend (ROAS). Last but not least, to guarantee your presence on metasearch, make sure you create a complete and up-to-date business listing, listing all your services and relevant information. Each metasearch platform has its own registration procedures, so it’s best to check each one individually. Then send them your rates and availability so they can promote your rooms.   Measure the effectiveness of your campaigns Once your metasearch campaigns are up and running, it’s time to measure their impact so that you can adjust them according to your objectives. There are a number of metrics for this purpose, and here are a few that may be worth tracking:Impression rate: gives you an idea of how visible your metasearch campaigns and rates are. The closer your impression rate is to 100%, the greater your visibility. Conversion rate: shows how many visitors who have made a reservation on your website have done so thanks to a metasearch campaign you’ve launched. In other words, it shows how many prospects you’ve turned into customers. You can then compare your different campaigns to see which ones work best, analyze these results and optimize your campaigns. Click-through rate (CTR): this indicates the percentage of users who clicked on your ad among those who potentially saw your ad on metasearch. The higher the CTR, the more users have clicked… and therefore the more interested in your ad!Once again, the choice of KPIs to track will depend on your objectives. There’s no one right approach: every hotel can adopt a different strategy and still achieve good results. Make sure you tailor your strategy to your expectations and your hotel.   Offer the best rate Travelers who visit metasearch do so with a view to finding the best service for the best price. Offering the best rate will help you stand out from the competition and attract more customers to you. So, in addition to positioning your ads at the top of the metasearch results, you’ll be sure to be the most competitive in terms of price. Once on your site, it’s a matter of converting these travelers into customers. You need a high-performance website to keep visitors on your pages: quality photos that show off your establishment and your rooms, clear and visible calls-to-action, up-to-date information and a smooth customer experience.   Conclusion Promoting your hotel and your official rates on metasearch is the first step towards increasing your revenue. Hoteliers have a vested interest in exploiting the various metasearch platforms to continue attracting new customers. This trend received a boost in the wake of the pandemic and continues to grow. At WIHP, we support hotels in developing their websites and implementing digital solutions to increase their direct bookings. We’d be delighted to hear from you. Visit our website to find out more about our solutions, or contact us.

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May 31, 2023

Preparing for the high season: hotel challenges to increase your direct bookings

40% of leisure travelers say they are making more effort and spending more time preparing their trips. And in May 2023, the majority of European travelers had not yet finalized their summer vacations. It’s now or never, don’t miss out on capturing this demand and attracting potential customers right up to the last minute! With summer just around the corner, we’ve compiled a list of the major challenges and issues in the hotel industry, so you can prepare for the summer and increase your direct bookings.   Hospitality industry trends for the second half of 2023 The 2023 current economic climate presents a number of challenges for the travel and hospitality sector, but travelers have not said their last word. Indeed, we are still seeing a high volume of research from travelers, the trend is still upwards. For the hotel industry, 2023 is shaping up to be as good or better than 2022, the record year ahead of 2019. In a post-Covid-19 pandemic era, the travel industry is thriving, as travelers seek to escape from their hectic lifestyles. Though, faced with an often uncertain environment, travelers’ behavior has changed. More and more of them are booking their holidays at the last minute, even though they are spending time preparing their trip: in April 2023, almost 75% of European travelers had still not booked their summer vacations.  Americans in particular continue to travel, especially in summer. The pandemic has led to a permanent shift in preferences, particularly for the younger generations who value personal experiences over material goods. According to Chip Rogers, CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the coming summer months could “set a record or come close to it” in terms of room occupancy. A recent Bank of America survey showed that 68% of Americans plan to take a vacation this year. Nearly three million Americans took a vacation in March, the highest number for that month since 1976 (Current Population Survey). In addition, there is a growing demand for vacations that offer the chance to discover new regions, establishments and experiences, previously inaccessible, for example, with new countries opening up to tourism. A greater proportion of travelers are looking for slow-paced local experiences, which also correspond to ecological values towards deceleration, contemplation and intimacy. They are turning to establishments that offer wellness solutions to disconnect and recharge their batteries in a natural setting. Meanwhile, business travel demand is high in Europe this year despite rising air and hotel fares. According to FCM Travel Solutions, global business travel demand remained “strong despite mixed economic conditions” in the first quarter of 2023, with more travelers looking to book online and earlier to “secure options and book at lower prices”. Hotel prices are also rising worldwide, according to FCM, with average corporate rates up 19% in Europe in Q1 2023 (vs Q1 2022), the third highest quarterly rise in hotel rates, behind Asia (26%), and the Middle East and Africa (22%).   How to make sure to sell directly on my website rather than via OTAs? Today’s web users are used to receiving personalized suggestions from their favorite platforms. Everything is done to take into account their lifestyles in order to offer them the content that best suits them. In the tourism sector, OTAs are already taking advantage of these personalization algorithms to propose the best offer to web users looking for a stay or a hotel. To stay competitive with Expedia, Booking or Hotels.com, we recommend that you integrate personalization into your strategy to win direct bookings. Determine what most influences your target customers when they book a hotel room with you. A booking engine will provide you with detailed reports on your distribution channels: you’ll be able to identify which ones bring you the most customers and which channel is the most profitable. This way, you can improve your online sales strategy to increase your direct hotel bookings. Take advantage of the technology that today brings new tools to strengthen your relationship with travelers: you need to know your customers, but also collect usable data about their preferences, and be able to put it to good use. Interact intelligently with your customers and offer your services on mobile, with support throughout the customer journey: before, during and after their stay. Investing in tools that harness data and algorithms enables you to better meet the needs of digital natives, who are different from their elders in that they are used to receiving results in real time, while ensuring the security and privacy of their data. As you can see, digital marketing is now a prerequisite for the success of your hotel business. It’s the cornerstone of your sales strategy in which you must invest your time and resources.   How can I prepare for the summer with my hotel website? Have a website designed to generate bookings First of all, your hotel website needs to be linked to a booking engine so that your rooms can be booked online. It needs to be user-friendly, easy for your future gues to navigate, fast and adaptive (adaptable to all desktop and mobile devices). Create a high-performance, personalized website based on what makes you unique and brings you closer to your future guests. This will enable you to reach a qualified audience and convert more customers to your hotel website. Focus on an attractive presentation of your rooms, with detailed descriptions, quality photos and videos to showcase your establishment and its rooms. Don’t hesitate to use a professional photographer. Make sure rates, amenities and canceling policies are easily accessible and clearly displayed. See the example of the Five Seas Hotel in Cannes :The information on OTAs about your hotel and rooms must be identical to that on your official website, to reassure potential customers who can easily compare your offers/rooms with those of the Online Travel Agencies. What’s more, did you know that 40% of visitors leave your website if your pages take longer than 3 seconds to load? Your site’s speed is crucial to keeping visitors on your pages and converting more customers. Hosting and media file optimization, notably, are two elements on which you can act to increase the speed of your website. In addition, the customer/booking path must be fluid, user-centered and intuitive, otherwise you’ll lose out on the number of bookings on your website, and therefore direct revenue. We advise you to favor an adaptive, uncluttered design to limit visual noise, facilitate the booking process and emphasize calls-to-action (especially the ‘BOOK’ button). Take advantage of textual content to tell your story and what makes your hotel unique, detailing what sets you apart from the competition. Text supports images in conveying emotions. Make sure your storytelling is well written and enhances the value of your hotel. You can take inspiration from the Domaine de Verchant and Les Hortensias du Lac’s websites, which WIHP, your hotel marketing agency created in their image. Guarantee the best price on your hotel website Travelers are often looking for the best deal. That’s why we advise you to offer the best rate on your website. You’ll be more likely to generate direct bookings and increase your sales.On the other hand, the “offers” page is one of the most visited pages, accounting for an average of 20% of a hotel website’s traffic (internal source). Internet users are looking for good deals. We recommend punctually proposing special or exclusive offers to encourage them to book on your website. You can offer: breakfast included, access to the SPA, a gift box, a hotel-restaurant offer, a family offer, or a 3 nights + 1 free offer. You can keep your offers simple, while still convincing travelers to stay at your establishment. Finally, collect the e-mail addresses of visitors to your site so you can send them promotions and special offers to encourage them to book. You can also contact your customers to win their loyalty with exclusive offers. Email marketing is an effective way of reaching potential guests and bringing back travelers who have already stayed at your hotel.   Use metasearch engines to maximize your direct revenues Metasearch accounts for up to 30% of a hotel’s direct bookings! There’s no secret: the more channels you’re visible on, the greater your chances of increasing your direct revenues. This is even truer for meta engines, as you’re reaching qualified customers who are ready to book a room in your hotel. To maximize your visibility and direct revenue, we recommend that you appear on all the metasearch engines, each with its own characteristics and advantages. Don’t limit yourself to Google Hotel Ads, Tripadvisor and trivago. Explore other, more profitable price comparison sites, such as Kayak, Skyscanner or Bing Hotel Ads, to attract a maximum number of customers in different markets. Google Hotel Ads, Tripadvisor and trivago are the most widely used metasearch engines globally for travelers looking for a hotel online. Bing Hotel Ads is a rising player that generates a good ROAS. As for Kayak, it performs well in certain geographic zones, notably North America, its historical market, and in Asia since the acquisition of HotelsCombined. In short, one of the best strategies is to make your establishment appear on all the metasearch engines. This has become essential to your digital marketing efforts. This increases your acquisition of qualified traffic and gives you an additional distribution channel to compete with OTAs. It’s an excellent way of reducing the proportion of commissions paid to OTAs, and thus increasing your share of direct sales. Finally, don’t miss out on the latest news and features of price comparison sites! We’ll take a look at them for you below. Choose trivago at CPA NET (WIHP’s Exclusive) The trivago net commission bidding model, or CPA net, is now 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. Net CPA allows you to set a commission amount with trivago, and the algorithm automatically adjusts positioning according to the commission rate, optimizing the bid. Above all, it’s net of cancellations and no-shows, meaning you’ll only be charged for actual stays and after your customers have departed. This guarantees you a low distribution cost and return on advertising investment (ROAS). Take advantage of trivago’s free booking links Trivago has launched its Free Booking Links for hotels! These are totally free links that enable independent hoteliers to promote their rates on their official website, thus generating qualified traffic and more direct income. For the time being, trivago FBLs are available in Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. At present, 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 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 bookings. It is therefore preferable to activate paid campaigns rather than FBL campaigns.   Capitalize on your hotel’s name with Search Ads Search Engine Advertising (SEA) involves buying sponsored links on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex, targeted by keywords. SEA campaigns are adverts that enable Internet users to be precisely targeted according to a number of criteria, such as their browsing history, location, media used, demographic data, etc. The advantage is an increase of visitors to your hotel website. The advantage is an immediate increase in your hotel’s visibility on search engines and the recovery of qualified traffic for your site. It’s an effective way of acquiring potential new customers. Ultimately, it allows you to increase your direct sales and compete with OTAs. With brand protection campaigns in particular, you’ll be protecting your hotel name against those bidding on it, such as competitors or OTAs. These campaigns are highly profitable, as they attract highly qualified Internet users who are actively searching for your hotel. The key is to bid on keywords corresponding to your hotel’s name and your brand’s restricted lexical field. In particular, it’s more effective to use an “exact expression” or “exact keyword” keyword strategy than a “broad query” keyword strategy. Finally, buying a brand name has several advantages:Be at the top of search engines: travelers searching for a hotel on the Internet generally don’t differentiate between a paid and an organic link, and 55% of clicks are concentrated on the first 3 results. Reclaim the traffic that’s rightfully yours: if someone types your hotel’s name into the search bar, it’s only logical that they should come across your site, and not that of an OTA. However, if you don’t buy your hotel’s brand on Google Ads, it’s the OTA that’s going to get the booking that should go straight to you.  Activate Performance Max (and soon the Travel option) In March 2023, Google hotel search announced an evolution of Performance Max, specifically for travel players: the launch of Performance Max for travel goals, sometime in 2023. The aim is to increase points of contact with travelers during their journey of discovery, consideration and purchase. This will increase your hotel’s visibility and direct bookings across all Google advertising channels. This new ad format is powered by Google’s artificial intelligence and will deliver your hotel ads across all Google platforms: Search, Display, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, Maps and Google Hotel Ads (second half of 2023). Google’s AI will automatically create all the ads for you to cover all the available advertising space. You can modify them manually if you wish. The connection with the Google Hotel Ads feed will enable Google to dynamically promote your prices. Google also retrieves data from your Google Business Profile, which must be up to date.   Use free Google tools to generate direct bookings Monetize your Google Business Profile Your Google Business Profile can help you gain visibility. It’s your hotel’s identity card on Google. It brings together all the information that characterizes your hotel, making it visible and accessible with a single click. By optimizing your Google profile, you can attract up to 38% more attention from travelers: add all your business information, link your website, list your additional services, and so on. The more complete your listing, the more effective it will be. The GBP also enables you to improve your local search ranking by making your establishment appear on Google Maps. Many Internet users search for hotels directly on Maps, which increases your chances of being spotted and selected by a traveler. Finally, hotel guests can leave online reviews and photos on your Google Business Profile, so they generate visitor engagement by responding to negative and positive reviews. Activate Google Free Booking Links Free Booking Links are totally free links that show your official rate in the “All options” category.By clicking on a booking link, the traveler will be automatically redirected to your website’s booking page, increasing your traffic. Make sure you have a user-friendly landing page with a simple purchase path, the room in question and rates clearly displayed, and a fast website so as not to lose travelers. Check that all your establishments are listed in the FBL, with up-to-date information, and that the prices shown match the prices advertised on your official website. We advise you to activate FBLs in addition to classic Google Hotel Ads campaigns (CPC or Commission), which today account for at least 75% of bookings generated by the Google Hotel Ads channel.   Track your performance with Google analytics tools Get the most out of Google Analytics 4 With the implementation of all these solutions, tracking your permanences is crucial in order to analyze your results and potentially adjust your strategy. An essential tool for tracking your online performance, Google Analytics 4 will replace Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023. More powerful, GA4 collects data from your hotel website and its visitors to understand the customer journey. This enables you to measure your performance and the effectiveness of your marketing actions. GA4 brings several new features:Events: The data model is event-based (room reservation, page click, etc.) and you can track up to 300 events! Reports: Customized reports with predictive analysis: access to your data is faster and more detailed, enabling you to make decisions in real time. Performance: Google Ads can extract performance data from GA4, perfect for boosting your performance and conversion rate.GA4 is therefore a more innovative tool than its predecessor, offering a range of features to boost productivity through automation, while respecting the privacy of Internet users. Anticipate search demand with Google Travel Insights In addition to Google Analytics 4, you can use Google Travel Insights, which collects data and analyzes travel trends in real time, based on world regions. This platform enables you to track market trends, helping you to adapt your decisions. Google Travel Insight consists of :Hotel Insight: find out where your customers are coming from and from which countries searches are most important, and target the right audience. Destination Insight: gauge interest in a specific destination, and stay on top of global trends with data updated daily.These free analysis tools enable you to monitor the performance of your hotel website, and better steer your hotel marketing strategy and relevant business decisions.   Conclusion Digital marketing will enable you to increase the share of direct sales in your total revenue against OTAs, and optimize your online distribution. With favorable traveler behavior in 2023, with a high-performance hotel website on the metasearch, innovative free and paid tools and a follow-up of your results, you’re sure to have the weapons you need to prepare for the summer high season. After the summer, if you want to increase your occupancy rate in the quieter periods, we recommend you turn to solutions such as Google Property Promotion Ads, Tripadvisor Sponsored Placements or trivago Sponsored Listing to attract new customers to your destination, those who know where they’re staying but are still looking for accommodation. We’ll help you build an effective hotel digital marketing strategy tailored to your business, to increase your direct bookings. Contact our specialist teams!

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May 16, 2023

How to sell your rooms with your hotel website?

A hotel’s website has become a must for selling rooms online. It allows hoteliers to get direct bookings and to reduce the share of OTAs on their turnover.

The final goal is to convince the traveler to book on your website and not elsewhere. That’s why, on your website, you must provide future customers with the most pleasant booking experience possible.

This is done by providing relevant information to the internet user on your hotel website. Find below some elements that will allow you to better sell your rooms on your site.