I market my own bed and breakfast – a small 10 room property a few minutes from the beach. What I learnt while doing the digital hotel marketing for my own property can now help you:
All bookings are not created equal. Direct bookings yield highest net Average Room Revenue (ARR). Direct bookings via your own website have greatest value. Zero commissions to be paid. Its more predictable than walk-ins. It has a higher conversion rate.
Get an awesome hotel website
This is something like love at first sight, or kerb appeal for those who understand real estate. The website has to look better than your nearest competition. Your potential guest has to fall in love with it. A few hundred dollars extra invested into a professional hotel website will pay back in form of additional bookings. This is your digital property. Invest in it. (But dont project something that you arent. Doctored photographs and incorrect information is a no no.)
Invest smartly in Social Media Marketing
Social Media is Oxygen. Invest in social media pages for your boutique hotel, keep taking lots of photographs, and work on getting your customer engaged. More than just clicks, impressions and likes. Dont worry about whether its (Orkut, Ryze, MySpace) Facebook, Twitter, or something else thats new. Names will keep changing. Leverage the flavour of the season.
Proactively market via online portals that matter
The names will keep changing with time. Build your own brand via your own website. Use portals to spread your reach. Classifieds, Online Travel Agents, whatever. Monitor which sources give you results. Spend more time on the portals that matter for your specific target audience.
Maximize Hotel Reviews
Treat your customers like God. It has served us well in Web Design and Digital Marketing – we have many repeat customers, and now it has served us well in Hotels. We have high guest reviews and are #1 on TripAdvisor for our category and location. Happy guests will keep coming back. Its not humanely possible to keep everyone happy (even the most luxurious highest rated hotel has some grumpy guests), but work on guest reviews and it will work for you.