How To Get Your Website Noticed – Increase Business, Increase Profit, Increase Satisfaction. Innkeepers wear so many hats, which it can be difficult to focus on enhancing your marketing. Luckily, we exist in a time with a wealth of online marketing resources and technologies plus research for boosting results. But the ideas go above and beyond high-tech and tactics to the heart of conviction. I’ve provided a list of 10 marketing pearls to get guests to your Inn:
1) Blog – Blog – Blog
Don't underestimate the power of blogging. Make your blog work overtime for you. The content you write should be of high relevance to your business and watch your rank soar. Make your blog interesting and tell a story. No one wants to read a drab meaningless account of the same material. Engage your reader on a relevant topic and encourage feedback.
It is not enough to blog; you need to push your posts out to all of the social media, i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. There is software that will do this job for you. Invest in it and use it to get the face of your Inn out there.
Another great marketing tool utilizing posts is email. Using an excerpt from a post, and perhaps throwing in a special you are running at your Inn, or a package deal, emailing to a select group of recipients via an email service. One such service that is easy to use and economical is MailChimp.
2) Use Photos that Show Experiences
When you display photos online via your site, sell the experience of your establishment, not the layout. Do not simply display pictures of the rooms and bathrooms. Have you ever seen pictures of an Inn where the rooms were spotless, the bed was fluffy, the bathroom tile was white and sparkled? Then when you showed up, the bathroom was gray and drab, the bed was worn and not comfortable, and the room as anything but spotless. The point here is anyone can post pictures if you want to project your Inn, sell experiences. Show guests enjoying a hearty breakfast family style and more guests enjoying the sunshine on your beautiful wrap porch. Visitors will connect with these photos and want to experience what these pictures depict.
Reflect on the following pairs of photos. Which photo in each set are you most drawn to?
Chances are you chose the first photo because you connected with the emotional experiences they provided. Keep this in mind when you decide on images for your website.
3) Be social
Maximize the use of all social media outlets, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Yelp, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The social network sites can be helpful with marketing and connect you with your audience. The more social media site you can post to the greater your exposure will be. Ideally, this will translate into traffic into your B&B website. Once you have traffic on your Inn's website, you can start to promote specials and packages to help attract more business. There is a bit of a learning curve to using some of the social media sites effectively. It is worth the investment to look into tutorials and software to assist you with the ins and outs of social media.
4) Capture Guest Contact Information
Your website can be a powerful tool to capture contact information from prospective visitors. Let's say potential guests are browsing your website packages and specials for Valentines because your great SEO brought them there. Now they are on the page considering these packages and may or may not have questions. The best way to capture these guests it to encourage them to complete a “Contact Us” form. However, we know if someone has to leave a page to fill out another page or form they are less likely to contact you. Add the “Contact Us” form right to the Packages and Specials page. If you want to encourage guests to complete the form add a little gift for completing the form, say a coupon/voucher for $20.00 off their next stay. Once they complete the form, you will have contact information for that guest and will have the start of a great guest list.
5) Monitor Website Performance
How well do you understand how your website is performing? Do you know how quickly visitors are abandoning your reservation system? There is analytics that can help you measure this important rate. If you have serious problems with the performance of your website how will you know about it if you aren't monitoring it? Google Analytics is one tool available to you to help monitor the indicators of your system's performance. Test your landing pages, analyze with Google Analytics and check the landing pages again. To use Google Analytics, test your landing pages, analyze them with Google Analytics and then test again. Your performance will go up using this tool. Once you catch on to how Analytics works, you will find it is a very powerful and can put you up ahead of the competition.
6) Reach International Markets
Reach out to the international market and increase bookings and profits. There are many ways you can reach out to international travelers. Working with booking.com can generate international business. This booking accommodation is international and handles over 40 languages. Adding a translation feature to your booking software will also encourage international bookings.
7) Automate On-line Room Allocation
Leverage software or guest reservation companies to automatically manage room allocations for you. By assuring you always have the proper number and ratio of rooms allocated to the popular on-line travel sites, like Trip Advisor. The downside to not allocating any room via one of these services it that guests who prefer to using one of these on-line travel sites will be sent to book with one of your competitors. Keep in mind many guests will often route directly to your website to have a peek for themselves and end of booking directly with you. Keep up on this information and make sure the information is current and fresh.
8) Must-Haves for On-Line Booking System
Address all of the “must haves” for your on-line booking system. Some of these include: high-resolution photos, a prominent “Book Now” button that captures the guest's attention, real-time booking, integrate the various social media into your site, offer Pay-Pal as a payment option, different language settings can be provided, popup calendar for booking dates, and on-line support. These are just to name a few. Many “must haves” go to supporting your on-line booking efforts. Perform regular testing and monitoring to determine effectiveness.
9) Play on Consumer's Emotions
Play on people's emotions when you sell your rooms. Everyone knows that they can analyze accommodations and amenities by reading up on it or looking at a picture, but what sells the place is when we connect with emotions. People will conclude that the lodging is perfect for them if they view images of other people at the property having fun and doing the things they also enjoy. People connect emotionally with this and will instinctively decide to book with this property because they have made this instinctive connection.
10) Fish where the fish are
Advertise and market where you will have an audience. Make the biggest impact for your advertising dollar. Would you cast a line into a wishing well? The answer is no of course not. You would find a lake where the fish are actively biting, they are the fish you want, and you would find good bait. Marketing is no different. Market your property and your services in areas where you know there is a decent volume of tourist activity. The same principle applies to on-line traffic. Identify and attract your target audient by creating posts that match the interests of your audience. For example, if your guests typically enjoy outdoor activities, create posts about hiking the nearby trails. Attach your flyer, brochures, maps, and interesting facts. Remember people like to read stories.