8 Tips for selling your accommodation online.

Things are picking up and it’s back to business: selling hotel rooms to visitors. But margins are tight, and 20% booking fees are a luxury no one can afford. Competitors are all offering online booking and they’re undercutting you. And then there’s AirBnB to compete with. What to do?

Easy: Take control of your own web presence!

You can easily run your own online presence, and you’ll be surprised how quickly the bookings start coming in. Read on to find out how.

1. Get yourself a Local Website Designer

Gone are the days when you needed to go to Silicon Valley to get one of those website thingys made.

Two figures in front of local shop from BBC Archives
It’s best to use local content for local websites.

Get a local web developer to create a modern, responsive (that means mobile friendly) website. Big agencies can be expensive and lack the local content imagery and linkages that make for engaging content and Organic Search Success.

Go local. You can have a website for a few hundred euro with local support. Perfect.

2. Take Really Good Pictures

Generic Inn Photo
Exterior Photo of Property should feature on homepage of site.

Gombeens naturally assume that their customers are telepathic and because they know what their premises looks like, so will their customers.

So don’t get caught: make sure you have really good pictures of your property. You’re going to need them again and again.

Get good photography of all the room types you have. Show off the features. Good imagery sells.

3. Right image, right place.

A 14mm lens on a full frame camera will show off a small room to its best.
A 14mm lens on a full frame camera will show off a small room to its best. Don’t forget to use a tripod.

You want more bookings through your website, right? Your customers need to see what they are booking.

A Gombeen that expects to be able to use a picture of their bar, car park, or grandmother to sell a room. This is a sure recipe for disappointment.

Show wide-angle images of whole rooms in the online booking room descriptions. These ‘set the scene’ and help convert lookers to bookers.

Be accurate with the room contents when you take the pictures. Don’t sell features that aren’t there.

4. Offer online booking.

Waiting for a reply
Enquiry Forms – Unpopular and slow..

If you don’t sell online, you’re losing out to rivals that do. No-one waits for you to come back to an enquiry form.

Be wary of commission heavy services. The cost has to be passed on somewhere, usually in room pricing. This has a tendency  to divert bookings into traditional channels, taking up precious staff time.

We recommend our product, BookServe (ahem). You can sign up in minutes.

5. Check the rates in your area

Man with binoculars looking at a webpage
Published Rates are easy to Find

This used to be done by getting your cousin to ring up and ask for a quote. Half the time they knew it was her and quoted her a much higher price, just to mess with you. Now with D’Internet,  it’s more straightforward.

Check the rates around and be competitive. If you find you’re getting visits but no bookings, high prices are usually the problem.

6. Consider listing on Expedia

Untitled-1
Billboard effect on Room Nights. The green line is the hotel’s own website.

It can be worthwhile to connect to Expedia. Share your excess rooms with Expedia and raise the traffic to your own website with the ‘Billboard Effect‘.

This effect works because visitors use Expedia to make a list of hotels and then look on the hotels’ own websites for direct booking.

It gives a lot of ‘reach’ for very little effort and expense.

7. Be Sociable

Kiev, Ukraine - August 26, 2013 - A collection of well-known social media brands printed on paper and placed on plastic signs. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and Tumblr logos.
Connect with your customers over social media channels..

Be social. Get onto FaceBook, register a business page.

Respond quickly. Be gracious. If you can’t ‘do’ social media, then hire people that can.

If an applicant says that they can run a campaign, hire them at once.

FaceBook page response time snippet
Social Media – Exposes weakness in social media. Be professional, friendly and prompt.

8. Go completely DIY, ya mad thing.

MeetupLogo
Meetup is people getting together to learn something, do something, share something.

If you’re technically inclined and want to make your own website, the best thing to do is join other like minded individuals.

Meetup is a great place to find those people. Click here for a list of WordPress related groups in Ireland.

gombeensguidelogoThe Gombeen’s Guide gives straightforward advice for running your own real-world business, online.

It’s written by a cat, because cats have historically been the most successful species at building an online profile.

Follow us for updates and if you have a question, or something you’d like us to cover email us.

Look back on 2011 – Irish Museum of Modern Art

2011 was an incredible year, with so much publication of work and software , that it seems like only now that there is a chance to take a pause and review the events of the year. 1st up IMMA.

Getting the White Balance

Irish Museum of Modern Art – Virtual Tours

We had been working here for some time, completing this virtual tour of the north wing and gardens in on behalf of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in 2007, but 2011 saw the project move to a completely new level.

The Gallery, following a safety review, had to limit wheelchair access to the lower floors of the buildings. It was decided to create a digital version of the exhibition and to make it available in a kiosk in the downstairs areas.

The timeframe for the completion of the project was short. We used our FastReach CMS to coordinate the collation and display of the exhibition digital assets, and worked closely with the curation team in IMMA to ensure fidelity to the exhibition in the timeframe available.

Dolly setup for a Les Levine exhibit

The first  IMMA exhibition tour, which coincides with the gallery’s 20th anniversary this year, was completed in just 34 working days, during which time 460 artworks were logged and loaded into the database, as well as 42 online HD videos and 31 virtual tours. The virtual tour of the final exhibition was released the same week.

The virtual tour provides 360 degree views of each room in the gallery. A detailed introductory synopsis of each room is provided and, as you explore the wings and landings of the IMMA, you follow the physical layout of the exhibition.

Additional social features, including artwork thumbnails and the option to pull discussions about artworks into online groups, help facilitate collaboration between groups of artists, commentators and students, and also make it easier to share links.

The IMMA virtual tour appeared on the 1st page of Google the day after its release for searches of artwork titles and, after just three days, one quarter of all its traffic was from google-generated artwork searches. Within the first month of its launch in excess of 3600 visitors viewed over 57,000 online gallery pages.

The team behind the project includes the co-founder of Rollthrus (Disabled Access Portal): Chris Healy, project manager Matthew McGee, software developer Bryan McEleney and, of course, the photographic team including Denis Mortell and others, who took the excellent, high resolution stills of the artworks, as well as the curatorial staff in IMMA.

Here are some links to the exhibitions:

Aspect Hotel Kilkenny chooses FastReach

Aspect Hotel LogoCongratulations to Aspect Hotel Kilkenny on their successful launch and their new FastReach website. As part of the new Aspect hotel brand, the hotel in Kilkenny decided to use FastReach as it’s web content delivery platform due to the ease of use through the unique backend hotel CMS and the stylish frontend which enables the brand to market the hotel using a multi-faceted approach. After a short period of training delivered using the tailored digital manual and supported by the Vinyl Matt Media team the staff at the Kilkenny Hotel took just hours to populate the site and publish the content. Situated near Kilkenny Castle Aspect Hotel Kilkenny opened it’s doors for business in mid-October.  On behalf of Vinyl Matt Media we would like to wish the team in Kilkenny all the best with their new venture.