Low Demand Period Blues? Search Marketing's The Cure
For years, during low demand periods, hotels and resorts have turned to the Internet to offer discounted rates as a last-ditch effort to fill rooms. After years of proven results, properties have worked this strategy into their annual marketing plans. Although it works fairly well, search marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click ads (PPC), social media and banner ads, can seriously improve the results.
Not only are hotels and resorts harvesting as much information as possible from their own search marketing teams and outside agencies on PPC, but they are also proactive and informed about the nuances of SEO. Utilizing all this information, hoteliers can now sell low demand inventory far in advance – helping eliminate what was revenue loss in the past. At least now, maximizing the sales of discounted, low demand period rooms provides increased incremental sales.
Choice of Words: Priceless
With search marketing becoming increasingly sophisticated and impactful to the travel industry, hotel and resorts of all sizes have realized the advantages. Search marketing intelligence has been passed down from the larger players in the hospitality industry, resulting in a highly competitive arena.
As we've known in the industry for almost a decade, the power of keyword and content research should never be underestimated. This simple strategy has brought amazing results by allowing shoppers to reach properties' Websites via search engines. It's easy to monitor too, by researching where you're ranking for certain keywords and phrases.
Selling to consumers seeking discounts during low demand periods is more efficient when they are identified and marketed to from the start of their travel planning. As hoteliers, you can direct them about when to book for the lowest rates by offering specials and promoting discounts year round. Find something to attract them too. Whether it's a seasonal activity or just a way to avoid the crowds – give them a reason to travel in the off season.
Many of the same amenities can be enjoyed year round. Other demand generators such as wildlife viewing, rafting, hiking, golf and horseback riding may be available and more affordable than skiing at the same resort, for example. Lure visitors in with the perks, prices and points of interest throughout the year.
Search marketing efforts can help boutique hotels, brand hotels and resorts boost occupancy rates by as much as 10 percent or more. Most property owners are pleasantly surprised to discover the number of travelers expressing interest in visiting their properties in, what has traditionally been, the off season.
Occupancy rates tend to increase as time goes by and the seasonal gap lessens with repeat customers and new customers from search marketing. Therefore, the off seasons are not so "off" anymore, and they no longer offer such great deals. Hence, the continuing search for new property locations as the cycle repeats itself.
Consumers have grown and will continue to grow more Internet dependent for their hospitality needs and travel planning. The hotel Internet marketing industry is in position to make a huge imprint on the future of hospitality, and the travel industry in general.
Updating your e-mail list is an ongoing effort. Add to your list of subscribers by simplifying the sign-up process as much as possible. Only ask for necessary information. Think of ways you can learn more about your customers from your own sources, so you won't have to ask them for excessive information.
Search marketing experts help hoteliers by manipulating seasonality to gain conversions. In fact, some experts believe seasonality may become obsolete, as search and other online marketing gets smarter and more strategic. Others maintain that seasonality in travel will always be impacted by factors such as the basic economic law of supply and demand, politics, natural disasters and weather conditions.
In either case, having search marketing experts in your corner is the best way to season-proof your bottom line and build more consistent occupancy.