If you’re a hotelier, how could you not be interested in hearing how to drive more traffic to your hotel website?
I get the frustration though, every time you look around trying to get some new ideas, you end up reading the exact same tips you might have heard a hundred other times already, something like: optimise your hotel website for mobile devices, be present on social media, offer the best deal as opposed to the OTAs... just to mention a few. This time instead, let’s look at some proven tactics and strategies that can really boost your hotel website traffic, with little to no budget, and in little to no time.
The Basics: When users search your hotel name
This is probably the most obvious, yet the most important way to show up in multiple shapes and forms when users enter your hotel brand name in the Google search bar.
Google Map Pack, also referred to as Google Pack, is the general term used to describe the location-based results people see on a Google search results page, where it lists local businesses, like hotels and restaurants, and identifies their location on a map with little place marker icons. Each time someone searches your hotel name on Google, you have 4 ways to get traffic to your hotel:
- Website Link
- Telephone number
- Google HPA (Hotel Price Ads)
- Google Free Booking Links
Free booking links are visible when clicking “View More Rates”. They show up like this:
Whilst Google HPA comes at a cost, the other 3 are free. Both your website and telephone number come from your Google My Business profile. Here's a couple of tips.
- First, add a utm_source parameter to the website link in your GMB profile. So, instead of www.yourhoteldomain.com enter instead www.yourhoteldomain.com?utm_source=GMB. This will allow you to see exactly how much that website link in Google My Business contributes to your hotel website traffic.
- Second, make sure the telephone number that shows up in your profile is a number that can handle reservations; a switchboard number won’t be effective, so tear down all the walls between your prospective customers and their future stay at your hotel.
Offer a retargeting-only discount
You certainly have heard that it is 3 times more difficult to convert a new customer than a returning one.
The same principle applies to first-time visitors of your website as opposed to returning visitors. In other words, instead of pushing and claiming for a booking at first sight, be patient and aim at getting first-time visitors to return at a later stage when they’ll feel ready to book. And do so by giving them a valid reason to come back, like a discount, an additional benefit or anyway something “more” that they didn’t see when they first visited your hotel website.
If you offer a discount, it doesn’t have to be a huge discount like the one in the example above, even just 5% will make your message effective and appealing.
Join Group conversations on Facebook
Have a look:
Groups like these are all over the place and all over the globe. Any major travel destination has at least one casual group that gathers travel lovers in relation to that specific destination.
Look again at the above post: I guess you’d agree that this lady represents a potential lead for any hotel in London, right? Guess what, I personally checked the 74 comments this post came along with and.. not a single hotel replied to the question.
Now, it is also of paramount importance to understand that a comment that sounds like “Book Now, Come to Us, Stay with Us, Super Deal” and all possible variants that say nothing but “Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now” are quite senseless. A person asking such a question is still in their discovery phase. In other words, they’re looking for ideas and suggestions. So, simple as that: give them ideas and suggestions. Ultimately, Social Media in this setting is not the place for selling, Social Media is a place for engaging.
Pay to boost engaging content
Let’s assume you publish 2 different posts on the Facebook page of your hotel.
After three or four days you check how much engagement they got and you discover the following:
Post A) = 7 Likes and 1 Comment
Post B) = 100 Likes and 50 Comments
Clearly post B seems to be very attractive. But there’s a problem, only those users who already liked your page will see that beautiful post. So what to do? Now that you know that this is a post that people find engaging, pay to boost it and show it to as many people as possible. If this post also includes a call-to-action that points to your website, like a blog post, a gallery or a special deal, you’ve just found an easy, natural and safe way to spend a bit in advertising and get some traction and quality traffic to your website.
Why do people travel to your destination? Because of you? Or because of your destination?
Your hotel is certainly great, but the root cause of people travelling is 99% of the time either for business or for leisure. Long story short: talk about your destination, because that’s what travellers want, at least in the leisure market.
That’s what “smart” blogging is about, which is ultimately not so smart, is just pure logic: give people what they want. If you wish to know more about what kind of content you can write about with real examples of hotels that have been managing to get some additional quality traffic to their websites, you can read this other article.
Decoy room to boost social proof
Check this out:
This is the homepage of a hotel website.
Let me ask you, what call-to-action sounds more persuasive between “Book Early & Save Up to 15%!” and the one above: “Want to win a Stay?”. Sure, 15% off is always welcome, but let’s be honest, it’s quite a boring message: nearly every single hotel all over the globe offers an advance purchase discount. So where’s the deal?
“But I don’t want to offer free stays!”, you might be arguing. Fair enough, so the question is: what would make you consider giving free rooms? “Share your experience with your friends and if they make at least 3 bookings through your link, you will win a 2-night stay with us.”
Now, would you be willing to give 1 free room in exchange for 3 paying bookings that you would not have gotten otherwise? That one free room would function as a decoy option and it’s a double smart move because not only does it entice past guest to share their experience in exchange for a free stay, but it will also give a valid reason to new prospects to stay at this hotel so that AFTER their stay they will have a chance to win another stay.
And what does it cost? Nothing, isn’t it smart?
There are tactics and strategies that can’t be adopted by the OTAs, but only by you. All the ones above fall into this category. And as we’ve seen, they require little or no budget.
It’s finally time to rebound. So let’s get some traffic back.
Find out more about how we help other hoteliers, like you, get closer to their guests here.