Does hotel internet marketing really work?
That sounds like an odd question coming from a marketing firm, doesn’t it?
Aren’t we supposed to just tell you that you need internet marketing? End of story.
With all the commotion about the “most important” new hotel internet marketing tools (global distribution, social media, meta-search etc) you might feel compelled to just do lots of “marketing stuff” to keep up with your peers.
So we decided to put our biased feelings aside, ignore the status quo and look at numbers from recently published research about the effectiveness of hotel internet marketing.
This is what we found:
1. Internet Travel Booking has increased by 73% in the Last 5 Years
Our first finding comes to us from Statistic Brain Research Institute, and it might not come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s been in the hotel business for more than five years.
But what does this stat tell us about online marketing? That it works. Marketers have been increasingly informing and engaging guests in ways that encourage them to book online. If they weren’t, phone sales would be up.
As the percentage of online bookings continues to rise—as we suspect it will—more and more guests will expect to make decisions without picking up the phone.
2. Almost 60% of Affluent Travelers Book Travel Plans Online
Resonance Consultancy recently released a study that showed almost 60% of travelers with household incomes over $150,000 book travel plans online. The study showed that younger travelers in this group were also more likely to book online.
Unfortunately, the younger group is also less loyal… and more apt to use an OTA instead of a hotel direct website. In other words, the future is definitely online. The question is will you spend your money on OTA commissions or your own direct marketing?
3. 87% of Travelers Use the Internet for the Bulk of their Travel Research
Even when a guest books over the phone or through an agent, it’s likely they’ve researched you online first. According to a global study done by the European Tour Operators Association, 87% of travelers do most of their research online.
A few years ago, you may have gotten away with a basic website and a Facebook page. You could give them just enough to motivate them to call you. Then, you could build a relationship over the phone. Today relationships are begun and built online. Guests expect to not only find answers online, but also get a deep understanding of your unique value proposition and how they will FEEL when they arrive at your property or destination.
You can’t wait for guests to call. Because they won’t.
Do you see the impact of internet marketing at your hotel?
Where have your greatest successes been?