A recent online survey of lodging owners and managers took a close look at the marketing and sales channels that drive the most business for Independents. Not surprising, an independent’s own website was rated as the most important channel for driving bookings.
Online Travel Agencies Losing to Instant Bookings
Another interesting finding was that independent hotels and B&Bs were shifting their focus over the next two years away from online travel agencies and investing more in listings and instant booking by TripAdvisor.
Independents Have Huge Opportunity Online
While total bookings in the US still favor chains, independents have a huge opportunity to increase their market share by taking advantage of online channels. In order to drive more awareness, independents need to focus on four core areas:
Before booking a room, travelers will examine your website. Be sure your website puts your best foot forward. You wouldn’t keep an outdated, dirty lobby … don’t keep an outdated website that turns guests away.
Want to get more bookings from online listings and TripAdvisor? Get more reviews. Before booking, travelers look at 6-12 reviews. If you rise to the top of reviews, your profits will rise to the top too!
Your Social Media Presence
Word-of-mouth is very powerful … especially when it’s amplified through social media. Take the time to encourage your guest to follow you on social and give them a reason to. Once you have a strong following begin running paid ads that target those followers and their friends. It’s a great way to book return visits and increase word-of-mouth marketing.
Your Search Rankings
If you want to rank higher in search results, put some effort into your website. A website can no longer be just about your property. Look to add rich content to your site through a blog or calendar of events. Highlight local sites or festivities and you’ll see your search rankings climb. Partner with other local businesses and exchange links to build a strong inbound link profile which will help improve your rank too.
Get Started Now
It’s never too late to start building your online presence. If you already have a strong foundation, build on it. If you need help starting from the ground up, we can help there too. From website design to social media, SEO to getting more online hotel reviews, we can help!