Digitization—more formally known as digital transformation—has become one of the hottest topics in the hospitality industry in recent years, and with good reason. Not only can digitization make hotel operations more efficient, but it can also open the door to new opportunities, improve the customer experience, and help you stand out from your competitors. The question is how to actually start taking advantage of these benefits? Here are seven ways to digitize your hotel business and drive more sales.
This article will give you some ideas on how to go about digitizing your hotel business and what tools you might want to use to get started!
1) Get a website
Today, every traveler is an online researcher. The majority of reservations are made through third-party sites like Expedia or directly on hotel management systems and websites. So if you don’t have a presence there, it’s very likely that guests could book your competition instead—either because they never found you or because you aren’t providing them with enough reasons to pick your property over anyone else’s.
2) Get on Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to create a business page for your hotel on Google Search, Maps, and Google+. Adding your business information to Google My Business helps customers find your hotel when they search online. One benefit of having a listing on Google Search, Maps, or Google+ is that it gives you additional control over where your business information appears in search results.
3) Use QR codes for easy check-in
Adding a QR code at check-in allows guests to bypass reception altogether, saving time on busy days. Encourage customers that are in your hotel lobby or on their way to their room to download your app, allowing you to push relevant content directly into their hands. Offering exclusive offers via an app is another great way of driving sales.
4) Use social media properly
Social media is a great tool for customer engagement, but it’s not just another marketing channel. There are a few missteps that hotels commonly make in their efforts to use social media—and it all comes down to one common mistake: confusing social with socializing.
5) Advertise on Facebook
One of Facebook’s most popular ad types is its carousel. If you have a local hotel, it might be worthwhile to run an ad that shows different events at your hotel (perhaps special meals or concerts), which will make people aware of what else they can expect if they stay with you. You could also advertise an upcoming event like a concert in town, providing an incentive for people in town to stay with you.
6) Leverage local events
If you’re a hotelier, it can be easy to forget about social media marketing. After all, who has time for that? But for local business owners—especially hotel operators—social media marketing is of utmost importance. Do you have an annual festival or convention that draws out-of-towners year after year?
7) Use discount codes
Using coupon codes for your hotel is a great way to build loyalty among repeat customers. Ideally, you’ll have several discount codes that you can use on a rotating basis—one per week or month, for example. This will help you minimize missed opportunities without making your business seem too sales-oriented. And once someone uses one of your discount codes, they’re likely to remember it—allowing you greater control over what they end up paying at checkout.
If you have one of the big three social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram—the chances are good that your hotel business uses them at least in some capacity. But even if you are using social media to market your hotel, there’s always room to improve your marketing strategy and get better results from it. Here are seven ways to digitize your hotel business, drive more sales and find new customers in the process.