The following is a post from Brian C. Silengo, associate vice president of sales for TIG Global.
Independents are consistently struggling to match the efforts of the big brands, and in a difficult economy where brands can scale most of their efforts, it becomes even more challenging to compete. Using the examples set forth in this article, there are some key interactive approaches we as marketers can utilize to keep the playing field level:
A Local Presence: It is important to be a strong supporter of the local community, but also think of ways you can capture additional visibility and revenue in partnerships with the local community. If there are businesses (i.e. theatres, theme parks, etc.) in your area that could drive additional traffic through to your website, it might be worth a call to one or more of those companies to forge linking partnerships. Not only will that assist with your search engine optimization, but it can also drive additional room nights for travelers reading through those websites for recommendations.
Websites: Optimization of your website is ideal for driving what is most likely the most qualified traffic to your site for conversion. Also think about proactively marketing to your website. Using Pay-Per-Click campaigns to offer lead rates and packages for highly trafficked keywords are proven to produce.
Great Service: Create a landing page with customer testimonials, or create a TripAdvisor feed directly to your site. Most consumers will go to Consumer Review sites to research their choices, so why not incorporate these features and keep them captured in your website?
Clean up. Fix up. Paint up: This can also refer to your web presence. Unfortunately, in the online space technologies that are cutting edge today will be old news in six months time. Always consider ways that you can spruce up the content on your website and plan to invest each year in that content. We also recommend a redesign every other year to renew your image.
Technology: Think of mobile websites, Podcasts and mobile marketing as possible ways to reach out to additional customers. Embrace these changes in technology and use them to your advantage. There is a lot of business to be had through these channels and being an early adapter can capture that market share before your competitors do.
Direct Sales: Think of your website as a sales person and as your property team would; allow the website to be a tool for your proactive sales organization and as a tool to drive room nights. Remain focused on funneling visitors to your booking engine. Place “call to action” links and buttons throughout your site that push people to “book now.”
In this economy, it doesn’t have to be expensive for Independent Hotels to get their piece of the pie. Instead, it’s just a matter of thinking outside of the box and finding more opportunities and channels to capture more business.
Interested in ramping up your web presence? TIG Global offers a full suite of interactive marketing tools and award winning website design. Click here to learn more, or give us a call at 301-841-4700.