There is no doubt that the power of the Internet has had a massive impact upon the world of marketing and advertising; if a business does not have a website then it is considered to be old fashioned. This is certainly an arena which you must consider in your marketing strategy as both a form of advertisement and an avenue for revenue.
The first step in an online marketing campaign is to have a website created for your hotel; the type of website can differ substantially. If you are on a tight budget, then a simple branded website with basic information on your hotel, accompanied by quality images, should be your goal. Information should include pages About the hotel, Location, Contact and Facilities as a minimum. It is imperative that you include the full address, contact numbers and an online contact for or email address so that interested potential guests can get more information or know who to contact to book a room.
If your budget stretches further, then you can integrate an online booking service into your website which will allow visitors to book their rooms directly. This will encourage sales as there is a bigger chance of someone landing on your website and clicking through to book than them finding your phone number and calling to book. Online bookings give a sense of security as the guest will be provided instantly with a booking reference and invoice/receipt; it also gives you another revenue stream. Allowing online bookings also gives you a chance to upsell your facilities; guests are often able to pre-book breakfast, evening meals and even amenities such as use of the spa (if you have one!), thus increasing your revenue further.
Once you have your perfect website up and running, you need to think about how potential guests will find it. The Internet has millions of websites, how can you help potential guests get to yours? Well the simple answer begins by thinking like a guest would. If you were looking for a hotel to stay at in the West End of London, where would you look first on the Internet? The answer most people would give to this question is ‘Google it’. The Google search engine is the most influential on the Internet, proven by the fact that the term ‘to Google’ has been added to the English dictionary; as a business owner, it is therefore important that your hotel website appears in the Google search results for the search terms which are relevant to your business.
This can be achieved through the process of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO means making you website appeal to Google for your keywords by making on and off-page adjustments. Websites are not only looked at by human users, they are crawled by Google robots who use an algorithm to assess the relevance of the site and place it in their index for certain keyword searches. Naturally, the Google index is massive and in order for your site to be found by human users, you need to be on at least the first page of the results, preferably in one of the top 3 positions.
In order to do this, most website owners employ an SEO company who specialise in getting websites on to Google page 1. The SEO company will raise the profile of your site through creating links, perfecting your meta data, making sure that you on-page content is well-written and relevant, creating social signals through the use of social networking sites and much more. SEO is a time consuming and skilled task; this is why it is best to leave it to a professional SEO company.
Having a functional website which can be found easily should be one of your hotel marketing priorities as the Internet is where most people will begin their hotel search.