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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
8. Go completely DIY, ya mad thing.
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.
It’s written by a cat, because cats have historically been the most successful species at building an online profile.
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