You are used to updating your rates seasonally, but what about your hotel information and descriptions? A dynamic shift in travel is well underway due to the rise in younger travellers seeking out new experiences. To get ahead of this trend, your online profiles, website, and social media have to be flexible and current.
To help you, we’re going to show you what to update and when.
Can’t wait to get started? Now is a great time to test out this new strategy. By practising these tips now you’ll be able to integrate local celebrations like Carnival in Notting Hill or St. Patrick’s Day in your home town, attracting more guests throughout the late winter.
For the purpose of this post, I’ll stick to Carnival as an example of such an event, but when using these tips feel free to tailor them to any festivities in your town, no matter how big or small.
The tourist has changed into the traveller
Previously, the travel market was rife with middle-aged, sock and sandal wearing groups of tourists. Map and printed tickets in hand, these people were and are, predictable. Staying at chain hotels and checking major attractions off of a list is their preferred vacation.
Once the bread and butter of the industry, they have become a dying breed. Literally and figuratively.
Now there’s a new kind of traveller. They’re youthful and international. They crave the romance and natural beauty that ‘undiscovered’ global destinations have to offer. According to a study by MMGY Global, 60 % of these travellers would rather spend money gaining an experience than on something material. They crave discovery and bragging rights.
These are what we like to call, ‘experiential travellers’.
The Statue of Liberty, the Tower of London, and the Parthenon are not top priorities for them. Rather they want to enjoy the tastes of Brooklyn, the rich agricultural history of the British countryside, and fishing with seasoned Grecian sailors.
So help them discover you, your hotel, and all that your little corner of the world has to offer.
Update your website as often as your rates, educating travellers about local culture and festivities
Your website is one of your most valuable marketing tools. Now, a majority of hotel bookings are made online versus in hotel. According to Google, roughly 70 % of travellers consult the internet first when planning a trip. Many travellers use engines and official hotel websites primarily when planning their accommodations.
In the case of Carnival, many worldwide travellers know of the events in Venice, Rio and New Orleans, but what about Notting Hill’s event or those of a small-town winter carnival?
Use town-wide festivities to attract the global traveller.
How? Leverage your website. Treat it like a store front to charm travellers browsing online. To start, include seasonal information on your website’s main page.
For example, a simple line like this can be quite effective:
“Venice is not the only place Carnival is celebrated. Come enjoy our town’s take on this age-old winter tradition from (enter dates here)”.
This can help your website rank for the events and activities people are already searching for. Adding local photos, links and event schedules to your website will show potential guests that you have a unique experience that they shouldn’t pass up. This also works to entice travellers much like a striking window display. They were just passing by, but now something novel has caught their attention. As with store window displays, this should be updated regularly to reflect the given season.
Use candid photos before, during and after events take place to entertain travellers
According to a study by Digital Visitor last year, about half of the travel brands on Facebook believed they received more bookings because of their presence on that social media channel.
If you are not on Facebook then you should be. Creating a page is easy. Keeping it active can make all the difference between attracting more guests or not. Numerous studies have shown that the majority of people expect business to be active on social media as well as accessible. This means you should check it often for messages and reply quickly to inquiries.
According to a study by Vocas, 85% of customers expect this. Forbes magazine also recently discovered that 82% of customers trust companies using social media more than those who don’t use it. Google and Eye for Travel have also stated that over half of all travellers use social media to plan a trip.
Facebook business pages also rank well in Google, which means your hotel can be found more easily by travellers.
Just remember, any exposure is good exposure.
Sites like Facebook are free to use but take time to generate content. Instead of letting your page lay dormant, add photos of last year’s events before they happen again this year.
For example, in the week leading up to Carnival, a winter fair, or St. Patty’s, use social media to tell potential traveller’s that the event is just around the corner.
Include photos from last year’s décor, town parties and parades, and share related local news articles with captions like “it’s that time of year again in (name of your town) #carnival”
If the specific event has a branded name or hashtag (#) use that so that you leverage traffic from others who are using it.
Don’t stop there. Add photos of current events and of your hotel all throughout the festivities. Encourage your guests to share photos of themselves on your social media pages too. User generated content saves you time and can do wonders to build your reputation and trust among other travellers.
After the event, share the highlights again and feel free to use captions like this: “Thanks to all of our guests who enjoyed Carnival with us this year. It wouldn’t be the same without you”
Engage travellers with Hotel News as they plan their trips
Last but not least, use your online hotel profiles to communicate with guests directly.
Here’s how it works:
Hotel News is a feature available for free to all PRO members of trivago Hotel Manager. It helps you tell your story and it gets noticed. It appears prominently in trivago search right next to your hotel contact details.
On a regular day you can use it to mention that you have the best rates in town or a special deal. During local events and festivities, use it to tell travellers what makes your place ideal instead. Emphasize the experience that they’ll have by staying with you. This is something that rates aren’t indicative of.
Many hotels claim to have great prices so make yours stand out like this instead:
“Travelling during Carnival (enter dates here)? Our town is known for this rich tradition. Experience it alongside the locals and call our hotel your home. For the best rates this Carnival, book today before prices go up.”
With messaging like this you let guests know about your incredible pricing while enticing them with a unique experience that they may not otherwise associate with your location.
You can edit your Hotel News as often as you like and it’s suggested that you do just that. This will work to keep your hotel profile fresh. By updating your Hotel News you differentiate yourself from the local competition.
Have summer festivals, wine tastings and fall harvest celebrations? Don’t hesitate to let travellers know with this feature.
Not convinced? Search online for other hotels in your area. The websites, social pages and hotel profiles you’ll find are often similar. Pictures of suites, maybe the breakfast bar and a shot of the pool and exterior are common. So is saying you’ve got the best rates in town.
Instead, differentiate yourself with current and seasonal photos of your hotel, local festival listings, and details.
Show potential guests how staying with you will be a fun and unique experience; one to brag about and blog about for years to come.