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People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 

By now, everyone is aware that hotel giant Marriott International announced on Friday a massive data breach that goes back more than four years and may have affected up to 500 million customers worldwide. 

After two years of preparation, the FlyZoo Hotel — a futuristic property that uses interactive technologies to do everything from greet guests to deliver room service — is ready for business. 

Mobile technology is fast becoming central to the entire travel experience. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research trips, book accommodation, check in at the airport, and access their hotel room. But one of the next big roles mobile has to play in the travel process is mobile payment. The idea of an entirely cashless society might still seem some way off, but mobile payment is gaining popularity. As it becomes more widely used, its fast and frictionless nature will bring benefits before, during and after a trip. 

Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing, plays a significant role to boost hotel website traffic and online bookings. Recently, many big announcements were made in the digital industry, for example when Facebook introduced a new video format for marketers, or when Google announced a board core algorithm. If you are a new hotelier and want to stay ahead in the industry, then you should know what’s going on in the hotel digital marketing industry. 
 



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Top Five Challenges Hoteliers Face Online Today

10/25/2015

There are a slew of facets to building a powerful online presence, and for many it can be incredibly overwhelming. Even a seemingly simple decision on where to begin can become a blind struggle. An ill-informed and misdirected approach can lead to money and time wasted.

We’ve worked with hotels for the past 25 years, and as such, we are too aware of the common roadblocks hoteliers face. We tackled them with a clear, defined strategy - the most important aspect. If you have horses pulling the same cart in four different directions, the cart doesn't move.

A study based on in-depth interviews with over 100 hoteliers and industry experts revealed some common struggles hoteliers face online today. (See chart above.)

Here's what we've discovered:

Let's address the top five problems that pertain to the online world. The web can do a lot of heavy lifting for your business if you know how to take advantage of it.

1. Metrics

As you can see in the chart, metrics is by far the most common puzzle hoteliers face. As successful business owners and managers, they know that stats tell the story. However, the web is like the Wild West, and everyone's giving their .02 on how it should be done. There are no objective laws, but there are some practical steps that are most likely to improve your online booking rate.

Below are five things you can focus on to help you take command of your online metrics:

  1. Bounce rate
  2. Unique visits
  3. Conversion rate
  4. Keywords
  5. Economic value

Fancy words, huh? You can learn more about optimizing these metrics from this article.

2. Human Resources

This area encompasses staffing, training and laws, with nearly half of respondents experiencing issues managing this aspect. HR entails finding, hiring, training and maintaining good staff members. With above average turnover rates and rising costs in hiring new employees, maintaining a long-term staff is difficult.

Online training videos are an automated solution for efficiently introducing new team members. This can be used for front and back systems including, housekeeping, laundry, restrooms, and more.

Below are some common tactics to hold onto your A-team:

  • Hire the right people
  • Set expectations
  • Give ongoing feedback and direction
  • Recognize and reward solid performance
  • Provide opportunities for development

Many hotels turn to outside consultants or firms, which can become pricey. Another solution to help you stay within the budget is employee leasing.

3. Guest Reviews

Guest reviews play a large factor in increasing your conversion rate. However, reviews can be hard to manage when they're scattered across the web. In addition, many hotels don't have a system in place to address negative comments.

Micheal Luca, a Harvard Business MBA did some research that revealed some interesting stats. In particular, a one-star increase can lead to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue. This means huge improvements to hotels that sit at three stars or below.

If you're adamant about boosting your online reputation and conveniently handling reviews, you can also check out WaveReview.

4. Lower Sales/Profits

One of the most influential factors in boosting your sales is through online bookings. Over 148 million bookings are made online each year. This accounts for 57 percent of all bookings. Needless to say, it's important!

Since your metrics now have some handles, you can use that information to optimize your online marketing efforts. This includes:
  • Website presentation
  • Social media
  • Email campaigns
  • Reviews
  • Search ranking

5. Guest Issues Tracking

Maintaining happy and repeat customers is the name of the game. It's much more efficient to gain one customer 10 times than it is to find 10 unique customers. Making their stay comfortable and pleasant is key to generating repeat business. Managing the needs, issues, and tasks among employees can be difficult, even small hotels can fall victim to poor communication.

Online software can create an easy to follow system for tracking and updating guest needs as they're discovered and fulfilled. It's an effortless way to keep your entire team on the same page and assure you don't miss a single request.

This kind of top-notch service is what keeps people coming back.

These are some of the five most common and critical pain points that were found among many hoteliers. Utilizing online tools and resources to improve your business is a lot like rock climbing. It's a slow and calculated climb to the top, but once you're up there the view is spectacular.

About The Author
Nimesh Dinubhai
President
Websrefresh


Nimesh Dinubhai completed his studies in 2003 and launched Websrefresh to help businesses grow their ROI. He also owns two Arizona hotels, one of which earned the Historical Hotel Award in 2014.

 
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