How Hotels are Using Inbound Marketing to Boost Profits
As mobile technology advances, and the world of social media expanded, more and more hotel brands are turning towards the Internet to increase revenue and generate greater brand awareness.
In the wild world of Twitter, SEO, Analytics, and lead nurturing, failure to adopt early is business suicide.
See how social-savvy hotels are marketing themselves in the exploding inbound marketing category.
A New Frontier: Migration of Hotel Services to Online Offerings
In 2010, online travel agents cost hotel operators about $2.5 billion dollars. Each booking from an online travel agency costs the hotel between $40 and $120. Whereas, a hotel who manages their own online booking spends $2 – $6 per booking and $6 – $10 for over-the-phone bookings. Online bookings have skyrocketed between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, only 1% of bookings were online. In 2010, over 50% of bookings came from the Internet. According to several studies, 61% of Internet users in the US research travel online before making a purchase.
Bottom line: bookings made from a hotel’s website cost less.
Hotel Social Media Presence: How to Win Customers and Influence Brand Identity
Social sharing, without a doubt, significantly improves a hotel’s website exposure. Hotels with social sharing experienced a 12% increase in pageviews over 3 months. Even still, only 40% of hotels enable social sharing. In fact, hotels without social sharing experienced a 2% decrease in pageviews over a three month period.
What Content Is Most Popular on Hotel Facebook Pages?
- Hotel Features: Rooms, Photos, etc: 0.31%
- Contests: 0.25%
- Company News and Events: 0.20%
- Local Tourism: 0.19%
- Promotions and Deals: 0.15%
Give people what they want! Only 10% of hoteliers offer full booking services on their Facebook Page.
Hotels with the Greatest Growth Rate of Facebook Fan Page “Likes” (Feb 2011 – Feb 2012)
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts: 101%
- Radisson: 63%
- Park Hyatt: 33%
- Concorde Hotels & Resorts: 30%
- InterContinental Hotels & Resorts: 22%
- Conrad Hotels & Resorts: 21%
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts: 19%
- Renaissance Hotels: 16%
- Hotel Indigo: 16%
- Sofitel: 14%
Where Hotels Are Spreading Their Social Seeds
- 63% of hotel brands are on Google+
- 58% are on Foursquare
- 19% are on Instagram
- 17% are on Pinterest
- 13% are on Tumblr
Hotels Gone Mobile: Keeping Customers Engaged with Branded Hotel Content
Behind retail, hospitality owns mobile engagement. Of hotel brands surveyed, approximately 2/3 support a mobile-optimized website with mobile-booking functionality. MGM’s mobile phone app, which, reportedly, has been downloaded over 800,000 times, allows users to make reservations, buy show tickets, order room service, and enjoy geo-targeted content and offers. Some hotel iPad apps allow guests to control room temperature and lighting, order room service, arrange car services, make restaurant reservations, and set spa appointments.
The industry is wise to cater to these mobile users. Often, these users use their mobile device to book same-day services, when the price is higher – resulting in higher profit margins for the property. In fact, mobile services have led to an 18% increase for in-room dining orders.
The Big Payoff
How individual hotels have leveraged online marketing to increase revenue and brand awareness to unbelievable heights.
The Lenox Hotel reported that social media promotion generated $55,000 in additional revenue and 257 room nights. An email campaign earned $40,000 and 144 room nights.
Roger Smith Hotel reported food and beverage sales were up 32%, event revenues 37%, and 75-175 rooms per month filled directly due to social media efforts.
The Washington Court Hotel says that, prior to their social media campaign, online resources generated $68,000 in revenue each year. After 6 years, online services now account for $4,000,000 a year.
The Rancho Caymus Boutique Hotel reports Internet reservations are up 224%, room nights are up 252%, and website revenue is up 330%.
The Orlando Hotel says website revenue has increased 100%, conversions are up 280%, and totally revenue increased from $50,000-$60,000 a month to over $120,000 per month.
Lastly, the Inn at Eagle Mountain reported Internet reservations up 372%, room nights up 345%, and total revenue is up 58%.
While some major hotel brands have taken advantage of the new age of marketing, it is concerning that only 27% of hotel websites offer live chat ability between customers and the brand; and so few are taking advantage of social media powerhouse Pinterest.
If you represent a hotel brand and would like to use social media to build your brand, increase customer awareness, and boost your bottom line, I would love to help you. Shoot me a note below and let’s get started!