2017 Digital Trends for Hoteliers -Must Read!
The New Year welcomes a clean slate for new goals and aspirations for the year to come. These 2017 digital trends are key to upping your game in the hotel and lodging industry this year! 2017 is looking to be an exciting year in Wisconsin’s hotel and tourism industry and here are some of the helpful ideas and digital trends that are sure to get you noticed.
The independent lodging industry is in for a treat in 2017. Domestic vacationing is one of the hottest trends of the year, and what an ideal trend for the hotelier! Travel agents in the United States are expecting to see an increase in domestic travel in 2017. This means that your hotels, resorts and lodges could see increases in travelers staying at your properties, so how do you prepare? The first thing to do is realize that domestic travelers are looking for quick and easy trips. This means that weekend packages are going to be a hit. Partnering with local business to create packages to offer your guests, or offering incentives for booking at your hotel or lodge are two cost efficient ways to bring travelers to your hotel. Offering these in your website and integrated into your booking engine will help convert this coveted type of booking. Give it a try!
Look the Part
Keep in mind that the website for your lodging property isn’t the only place that travelers are seeing who you are. Online travel agent websites such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Kayak are great places to get your hotel or lodge noticed by travelers. When your hotel or lodge is featured on an online travel agency site, there is a chance the traveler might not make it to your website before booking your hotel. What does this mean? It means that hoteliers need hedge their bets by looking their best on all websites promoting their hotels. Be sure to update and add recent professional photos to your online travel agency websites as well as your own website! Hoteliers that actively add current photos to their online travel agency sites saw increases of 138% in customer engagement. A simple task with a great return! By consistently updating photos to your own websites and to your booking agents’, the customer engagement can only rise.
So your hotel can be found on a physical map but there is an even better way to get your hotel found by a huge potential client base. Google likes to rank websites based on their SEO (search engine optimization) rank, or the specific keywords that are used on your websites to get it noticed. So how do you get your property’s site noticed and found on the Internet? The first thing to do is to continue maintaining your website. Keeping your website current and updated will help you maintain control of what the customer sees when they visit your site. Next, you need to continue adding good solid content to your website. This means blogging about things that interest your guests and updating the content that is on your site. A helpful hint when blogging and adding content is to be as specific as possible! This means that instead of saying ‘hotel’ you will want to say ‘hotel in southern Wisconsin’. The more specific you are, the better luck you have of a search browser indexing your website content. The last key item to remember in regards to getting your website found is to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. Updating your website to include the newest technology will only benefit your website when Google’s crawler visits and then decides who has earned the top spots on their search pages. If you can do these things to your website you are sure to see improvement and have guests finding you online.
We warned you, the mobile era is here and there is no way to avoid it! In our blog Google Mobile, Goodbye Desktop—Hello Mobile Ranking, we talked about the importance of optimizing desktop websites so they can be easily accessible and user-friendly on mobile devices. One of the big trends for hoteliers to be aware of in 2017 is how the user utilizes both the desktop and mobile websites when booking. Travel agents are finding that nearly 90% of travelers jump back and forth from desktop to mobile websites when booking, making it critical for both mobile and desktop websites to operate with ease. What does this mean? The first thing to do is to ensure you also have a mobile-ready website for your hotel. Mobile-first design has actually taken over in priorities over desktop. Sites that are designed responsively, like the ones we create, do that mostly by default –and in tandem. That said, some final tweaking will still be needed make sure everything looks attractive on all devices and proper content is optimized for each.
By understanding these trends and maximizing this knowledge, hoteliers will start the 2017-year on a very strong foot! Interested in implementing one or more of these strategies? Give us a call, we’d love to help you with that.
Resources and recommended blogs: Words of Vikram, HotelMarketing.com