Expand Your Target Market Internationally to Regain Online Revenue
1. Research and Indentify New Geographic Markets
The first step in expanding your target audience is to research new geographic markets that may already be visiting your property. The use of web analytics tools will help to determine which countries your website traffic is originating from. This information will allow you to tap into unrealized target markets that are frequenting your website and have potential interest in visiting your hotel. In addition, pay close attention to the latest international travel industry trends to learn where people from specific countries tend to travel to. For example, over the past year, the number of western European visitors to the U.S. rose by 8% and New York City experienced a 22% increase in visitors from outside North America [USA Today, 2008]. This background information will help you determine which country and/or countries to address with online marketing efforts.
2. Test Marketing in the New Markets
Now that you have identified your new, potential target market(s), the next step is to execute a trial paid search campaign. Before investing money on translations, utilize your pre-existing paid search campaigns. Using your keyword list, test your native language paid search advertisements on your target country’s search engines (i.e., Google UK, Yahoo! France, etc), regardless of the markets primary language. For these advertisements, it is important to incorporate the proper name of your hotel within the ad copy, as your hotel name is recognized and utilized universally. Use web analytics tools to see how your paid ads are performing on the international search engines. If you begin to see positive results and increased traffic via these ads, take the next step and invest money in translating the advertisements for the specific country that showed interest.
3. Translate, Translate, Translate
It is important to hire a reputable translation company that understands the semantics and nuances of different languages, specifically the language of your target country (i.e., the use of accommodation versus room or holiday versus vacation). Do not just select a company based on price. Take the time to check references and examine samples of their work. Start by translating: (1) your paid search campaigns, (2) select landing pages, and (3) your reservations page on your booking engine. Your translated paid search advertisements should direct traffic to the corresponding translated landing pages. The landing pages should be translated versions of the most popular pages on your website, such as accommodations, reservations, specials and packages, and meetings and events. These landing pages, in turn, should link to your translated reservations page on your booking engine. This full circle process, from paid search advertisements to booking engine, will capture the new target audience(s) and keep them engaged through the booking process to further establish your international presence.
4. Evaluate Results
After launching your translated paid search advertisements, landing pages, and booking engine, be sure to continuously track your new international marketing efforts through web analytics. Compare your website traffic patterns from before and after you tested and executed your new international marketing campaign. If you see increased traffic and bookings after you launched the translated marketing campaign, consider moving forward with translating your entire website, email marketing campaigns, and additional online advertising. As good practice, allow time for your new e-marketing efforts to work and always closely monitor the results.
Expanding your online marketing efforts and tapping into new geographic audiences is just one way to increase revenue during these times of decreased lodging demand. Online marketing remains the only advertising medium with completely quantifiable success metrics as well as one of the most cost effective ways to generate a high ROI. Be sure to evaluate and ramp up all of your online marketing efforts including paid search, email marketing, Local SEO, and strategic linking to help maintain and grow your market share and set you up for future success.
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About TIG Global: TIG Global, headquartered in the Washington, DC metro area, is dedicated to assisting hotels with exceeding their online marketing goals and specializes in hotel internet marketing and destination internet marketing. Serving an extensive portfolio of clients worldwide, TIG Global combines its industry knowledge and e-business expertise to help clients maximize the online channel. TIG Global offers multi-language websites, a vast network of internationally based strategic linking partners, email and pay-per-click marketing campaigns tailored to all international markets, custom Web 2.0 solutions, and websites optimized for major search engines around the world.