Only last week the proprietor of a small hotel moaned to me that she had done "everything" to promote her hotel but was still unhappy with her hotel occupancy and hotel revenue. Everything turned out to be that she had a website (done by a nephew now at college) and she was on LateRooms (although never updating her rates).
I am often amazed by how much hotel owners decide to take on as they plan how to market a hotel. There is only just so much that you can do in a day and with your operational priorities and the specialist knowledge required something has to give. Undoubtedly hotel marketing is the key factor to focus on.
So here is my list of some of the hotel Internet marketing activities that you should consider outsourcing to professionals:
1. Hotel Website Design – it requires a great deal of time to create pages which are informative, visitor friendly, and attractive. You need to know the industry as well as have technical knowledge. Your website also needs to be optimized (different to SEO below) so that it delivers exactly what you want it to, once visitors land on it.
2. Maintenance of Website – your website needs to be constantly updated and changed so that the search engines find new and relevant content.
3. Creation of Content – text writing is a very specialized activity where you have to understand the mind of the website visitor.
4. Advertising – it is possible to put together a pay per click (PPC) campaign in a few hours, but research, testing and modifying the campaigns takes a lot of expertise and ongoing time in order to be effective.
5. Optimization (SEO) – making sure that your website is found by the search engines is vital. You need effective on-page SEO (meta tags) and you can participate in all sorts of link building and article writing activity but it is time consuming and needs to be very focused.
6. Social media – participating in sites like Facebook has been promoted as some sort of panacea. It can be effective if done well but it can also eat up much of your time to little effect. It all depends on how relevant participation is to your target market.
7. Management of Online Reputation – although Google Alerts can keep you up to date with what people are saying about you online, monitoring this and taking effective action can be very time consuming.
8. E mail marketing – e-mail is an effective channel to use to keep in touch with your customers. However crafting good newsletters takes time and expertise that you might not have in-house. Everyone's inboxes are much cluttered and it is a challenge to get your message opened let only acted upon!