One thing that we should think about during the New Year 2015
I already presented an overlook of some of the UNWTO’s barometer at the end of 2014. After having a look to this general information, I would like to talk about one are that I think should be improved (or at least, we should take our time to think about it
Communication: improving sales and loyalty by promoting direct communication
We speak a lot about social media. And I think we are doing fine; my opinion is that hotels that are aware of their online image and reputation are in a better position to know more about their guests and about what they can improve (getting ideas, reading reviews, etc)
But there should be much more than that. For example, hotel’s online reputation is concerned as well by the quality of its website. I’m afraid hotels started to be worried about their website’s design very recently.
I think that a hotel’s website should essentially be a quick reservation center, where it would be possible to find as well the rest of the information that guests are interested in when looking for the perfect destination.
There is one thing I don’t like at all, and is the time we need to make a reservation directly through a hotel’s website. Try to do it: in many cases we will have to “search” this option, because it is not easily findable; in other cases we will discover that the room category is not clearly specified or that the rates are not very well described.
It all means that words like “Reservations” “Bookings” “Arrival date” or other key words related to hotel bookings are hardly ever where they should be: clearly and in the best place!
Let’s learn from our enemy…
After three years working for this industry, I still haven’t found a person that is happy with the role the hotel has face to Online Travel Agencies; but my point today is not to speak about pieces of cake, commissions or allotments. I just want to say that Online Travel Agencies have their webpages focused on getting reservations.
And that is my point: why do not we, hotels, make the same? I mean, it is great to find beautiful photos of the hotel and long descriptions about all the services we offer; that is what we have and we are pleased to show it. But, why do not we put a big MAKE ALREADY YOUR RESERVATION sign beside one of those beautiful photos or descriptions?
e-mail and newsletters
Hotels should recover the main role when treating guests. In my opinion it is quite strange to see many people that do not hesitate to provide their e-mail to a virtual WHOEVERNONECESSARYCHEAPER.COM and then they have much trouble to provide the same information directly to hotels.
How could we recover the way guests trust in hotels? By taking care of them, not using their e-mail for spam purposes but to send them well-adapted quality forms after their stays, by offering key services when special moments approach, or by offering some advantages for booking directly with the hotel instead of using another intermediate source. http://www.revinate.com/blog/2013/07/5-best-practices-to-increase-direct-hotel-bookings/
To finish with, I would like to talk about the web positioning of hotel’s website.
It is very easy to find a hotel through the page of an OTA, but in many cases, including luxury 5 stars hotels, hotel’s website is not found in the first place on Google.
This can be corrected, changed and improved. Being first on Google when we write the name of our hotel can be done and must be done by adapting our websites and designing a useful online campaign.
We have 365 days in front of us to improve our online communication. By improving this, we will be more prepared to face the macro economic instability.