Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Slowing Economy Got You Down? Use the Internet Dummy!

declining economyWhile many have already come to the conclusion, the economists aren't ready to admit it. We are in a recession. It may not be a "full blown" recession as economists define it, but to the average Joe it feels like things are getting worse not better. To that end, with gas prices going up and the cost of everyday necessities such as food increasing as well - the money left over for travel is way down.

The travel industry and hotels in specific are feeling the pinch. If you haven't been a part of the internet revolution in the travel space - you need to check into the 21st century and get a clue. If you have been, it's now time to reexamine your online strategy and make sure that you are covering the essentials. Lodging Interactive has a good starting point for that internet marketing reevaluation in this blog post.

They claim that. . .
Eighty-three percent of travel planning is booked online. This means that the internet has emerged as the premier distributor of hospitality. Since this is the case, it only makes sense that we work through the internet for the best possible ROI.
The keys to your success can be found in the following areas of your online strategy - website optimization, strategic linking, email and search marketing and web analytics and performance tracking. If you don't have plans in each of these areas, you should reevaluate your strategy. Much of what is covered in these areas are long term strategies for success, but supplemented by the email and search marketing you have powerful tools for filling in need times and building occupancy for terms you can't organically optimize for.

How do you move forward?

  1. Take a look at what has been successful thus far. Keep it or expand on it. If it isn't working and it is costing you ROI - then eliminate it.
  2. Use your hotel web site as an extra person selling 24 hours a day. Is the message consistent with how you sell your hotel in person? What can you learn from your site and change the process on property?
  3. What makes your hotel unique? Location? Facilities? Staffing? Make sure that the message is lound and clear.
  4. Goals are important for everything. Measure. Assess. Change. Constantly be looking for improvement.
  5. Get involved in online conversation. Word of mouth marketing is out there whether you are a part of it or not. Make sure that you know what is being said about your hotels on review sites. Search for your hotel on the search engines and see how you are being sold. Are the images correct? How about the information - when was the last time it was updated?

You may be surprised at what you find. You'll definitely be surprised at the impact that internet marketing can have to your bottom line.

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