WEB

What do you do if you want to find a good hotel to stay while you are on the move for business? Ask your travel agent or company’s travel desk? These days business travelers seek good hotel deals and complimentary stuff. Where do they get these from? Yes, from good travel websites. The new young traveler searches online extensively and find deals. They go through trip advisor reviews, photographs, compare the rates with other hotels and find out which one suits their needs. Now how to reach out to this growing segment of people who searches online before they take the booking decision.

Mobile responsive

69% of travelers begin their search online using a mobile device. Is your website responsive to all devices, like mobile and tablets? If not, that is the first step to go digital smartly.

Design

Is your website designed to create a wow factor? Hospitality businesses thrive on making the travelers’ anticipation of comfort, luxury or feelings of indulgence. Are the visuals in the website creating that impact? Take professional photographs which can make instant impact on the traveler. Create curiosity. Photographs of pleasant staff, property features and the unique story of the property makes it attractive for thoughtful travelers.

Storytelling

What is the unique and interesting story you are trying to convey using the website? Or is it a plain functional website with usual line up of boring details like tariff, rooms and gallery with boring photos? A creative approach is what is most needed in the crowded marketplace. How your property story stands out of the noise and clutter.

Navigation

Users come to the website and never return, 92% of the time. We need to follow them using Google re-marketing tools and create a follow on campaign using email and social media. Many websites look like ordinary marketing brochures. You will lose customers’ interest with such mediocre efforts. Explore a adventurous creative user experience — making it a visual journey which can persuade potential customers to recall your brand. User experience of the website demands expert help. It is worth the time and money.

Website speed optimization

Get your website speed checked. It is an important indicator of Google will treat your website when it ranks on the search list. How many times have you left a site because you cannot spend another second waiting for it to load.

On-page optimization

While building your website, ensure that your agency does on-page optimization which can help your SEO efforts later.

Booking button and payment security

After all hard work, you want your potential customers to click on the booking button and pay. This is one of the hardest tasks. How to make them reach there depends on user experience design and making the whole navigation easier and must build massive trust on the way. A proper payment gateway and website security is a must in making the process hassle free. One bad experience is going to make you lose lot of time in winning the customer back.

SOCIAL

Social media is powerful. But, how to use it effectively? Travel companies, hoteliers and agents are using the social media to reach out their target audience in an informal manner. Creative campaigns catch attention of travellers. AirBnB and Oyo rooms do such eye-catchy campaigns in social media.

Facebook

Fresh, well-designed and candid photographs make it exciting. This activity requires a smart and creative approach. 3 posts per day to boost views. Include Facebook links in all communication. Email signatures, emailers, front office — everywhere. Let people see what you do. Give extra discounts to people who promote your property on social media. Facebook’s consistent activity builds trust in your audience. Find interesting ways to communicate. Don’t be boring. Ask guests to post photos. Thank them. Promote them. Let them share it to their audience. Make it shareable, not just promotional content. Add human touch. Visit well-managed Facebook pages, find examples — use it. Time to dedicate energies for Facebook for your property. Spend 3 hours a day. Facebook promotes videos you embed in it, than the YouTube links you post. Offer discount code to your audience. Make them feel special.

Facebook

Fresh, well-designed and candid photographs make it exciting. This activity requires a smart and creative approach. 3 posts per day to boost views. Include Facebook links in all communication. Email signatures, emailers, front office — everywhere. Let people see what you do. Give extra discounts to people who promote your property on social media. Facebook’s consistent activity builds trust in your audience. Find interesting ways to communicate. Don’t be boring. Ask guests to post photos. Thank them. Promote them. Let them share it to their audience. Make it shareable, not just promotional content. Add human touch. Visit well-managed Facebook pages, find examples — use it. Time to dedicate energies for Facebook for your property. Spend 3 hours a day. Facebook promotes videos you embed in it, than the YouTube links you post. Offer discount code to your audience. Make them feel special.

Twitter

Having a twitter handle is not enough. Post content. Follow people. Favourite them. Find influencers, bloggers and social media celebrities. Use hashtags. Retweet things which favour your location, property, country or even humanity. Be neutral in sensitive issues. Promote. Excite. Share. Engage. Have conversations. Twitter is used by many customers as enquiry, complaint or testimonial. Acknowledge their efforts.

YouTube

You must have a beautiful 2–3 minute video of your property. Invest in it. That is the best first impression for the potential guest before he decides to book rooms. Use micro-videos. Have such 5–6 videos. Create a YouTube channel, subscribe to analytics. Put proper descriptions. Take the activity of video publishing seriously. Use the YouTube link in all communication — emailers and social media. Let your video agency get the best equipments, lighting. Shoot only before 9 am and after 4 pm. Magic light is key for video quality. Show candid happy moments — make it in non-linear fashion. Show it to your well-wishers and take their feedback to improve. This is worth the time and money — the single most important digital asset which matters to a travel property. Videos to tell your brand story.

Blogs

Find bloggers on freelance basis. To write for you. Pay them per word. Demand good content. Pay for performance if it gets good traffic, pay them more. You get good freelancers in various websites. Let 2 articles appear every month about your property, destination and tag yourself. Content marketing is key for travel business. Shamelessly promote your blogs using social media. Let Google find your content and put you up in the pages.

Instagram

Photographs talk everything these days. Don’t miss it out. Youngsters love Instagram. Use it to win them. Have hashtag contests. Get audience worldwide. You get mindblowing photographs of your property — totally user generated. This is an great engagement tool. Link Instagram to your Facebook.

Linkedin

When you work with agents across the world, especially for group and corporate programs — a well managed Linkedin profile helps to generate trust.

Online reviews

Take the reviews which come in TripAdvisor, Zomato etc as social conversations. Reply to queries, complaints faster than possible. Make it look fast and friendly. Surprise them with goodies or complimentary stuff.

Tools to monitor

Use tools such as Facebook Insights and Google Analytics can not only tell you how many people have gone to your website, but also the age, gender and unique visitors. These tools are free and powerful.

What are your digital goals for 2016? Have these nine ones in place.

  • Redesign your website with on-page optimization and responsive.
  • Set up Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and Instagram in place.
  • Design a content strategy — to create text, images, audio and video content for your property.
  • Create a social media calendar — schedule things, do it and review it.
  • Invest in producing a mind-blowing video. Let it talk for you.
  • Train your staff to make them digital savvy, to respond customers in social media and use it interestingly.
  • Reward and loyalty program for your audience you have built. Excite them, retain them.
  • Spend time to think, reflect and organise digital marketing activities. Trust but verify to whom you delegate.
  • Celebrate key successes. Reward performance. Aim higher goals.