How to promote a hotel online

The ins and outs of hotel online marketing.

A lot has changed in the last 20 years of hotel marketing. Where newspaper ads and brochures once ruled the roost, today’s world is well and truly digital.  In 2020, promoting your hotel online isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s an absolute necessity.

Knowing how to make your hotel stand out online could take your business further. Read on to find out why and how to promote a hotel online.

Why is online advertising for hotels so important?

As of July 2020, almost 4.57 billion people were actively using the internet. And after an increase of 440 million from 2019, the number of global internet users are only climbing higher. With a vast majority of the world now searching for and booking accommodation on the internet, there’s never been a better time to embrace change and up your hotel online marketing game.

The best way to promote your hotel online: where to start.

The best place to start your hotel online marketing journey is close to home, with your hotel website. Online advertising generally links through to your website, so you’ll want to make sure it’s looking its best. Consider investing in professional photography that captures your property’s good side. Check that your website’s SEO is up to scratch (more on that, soon). Make sure your site is easy to navigate, and test your online booking system to check that it’s as clear and simple to use as possible.

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When reviewing your hotel website, try and look at it through the eyes of a potential customer. Is your property’s point of difference clear? Does the wording feel friendly, welcoming, and warm? Does the photography show off your best assets? Is it easy to make a booking?

Popular types of hotel digital advertising explained.

Once you’ve got your hotel website looking amazing, you can start using online advertising to encourage potential customers to visit it. Here are a few common hotel online marketing strategies that could help you keep those clicks coming.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Put simply, SEO is the process of improving your website’s ranking in Google. The better your website’s SEO, the higher your hotel will appear in Google search results – and the easier it’ll be for potential customers to find you. Improving your SEO is all about showing Google that your site is current, up-to-date, and relevant. It’s also about showing that your website (and your business) is legitimate, and well worth a visit.

Here are a few techniques to improve your hotel website’s SEO:

  • Include relevant and specific keywords or search terms in your website’s text (eg. “Best Great Barrier Reef hotel”).
  • Write content specific to your street or town.
  • Check your website is free of broken links or pages.
  • Keep your site updated with fresh content regularly.
  • Make sure your site is formatted for both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Check your images are optimised for the web (i.e. image quality and loading speed).
  • Write relevant meta titles and descriptions (and include keywords).
  • Be sure that your website loading speed is as fast as possible.

If technology isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Get in touch with an SEO specialist, and they’ll be able to help make sure your website’s SEO is working hard for you.

Google Ads

Google Ads help make digital advertising for hotels easier, by letting you pay to get your business seen, both on Google search pages and across their network of partner sites. You can choose the location your ads will be shown – locally, by region, or even globally. The tool lets you set a monthly budget cap. So whether you have a lot or a little to spend, you can always be sure you’ll stick to budget. Google Ads also provides reports, insights, and tips on how to make your ads even more successful. That makes it a great place to start for hotel digital advertising beginners.

Social Media

If you’ve been asking yourself, “how can I promote my hotel on social media?” you’re not alone. The ever-changing social media landscape can be tough to keep up with, but it can also be an invaluable tool for your business. You can use paid Facebook ads to get super-targeted by age, gender, and location. Instagram can also be a powerful platform for hoteliers, particularly if your property photographs like a dream. You could consider partnering with Instagram influencers to get the word out, or running specials through sponsored Instagram posts. With social media, the possibilities are almost limitless. Take it as an opportunity to get creative and explore what works for you and your business.

Online travel agents and booking sites

Online travel agents (OTAs) and booking sites like Expedia, Tripadvisor, and Booking.com can all be useful channels for promoting your hotel online. Consider building a presence for your hotel on a handful of the big-name sites. Always put your property’s best foot forward by making sure your photography is on-point, and that your profile inspires potential guests to click ‘book now.’

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Bookings through third-party sites like Expedia often come with a hefty commission attached, which can make a dent in your overall profit. So if you do choose to throw your weight behind booking sites, don’t forget to encourage people to book through your own website too.

Starting small with your hotel online marketing strategy.

If you’re not sure where to begin promoting your hotel online, or you’re working with a limited budget, organic digital marketing could be a great place to start.

Paid vs. organic marketing: what’s the difference?

Paid marketing is when you’ve paid a publisher for your results. Google Ads, boosted Facebook posts, and sponsored Instagram posts are all examples of paid marketing.

Organic marketing, on the other hand, includes any marketing you haven’t paid a publisher to push out to your audience. For example, blogs you’ve shared as unpaid Facebook posts, emails you’ve sent out to your own database, or videos you’ve uploaded to YouTube. Impactful organic marketing is about drawing customers in naturally with great content. So what you may save in advertising budget, you might spend in time, creativity, and energy instead.

Because organic marketing doesn’t necessarily require a big budget behind it, it gives you the flexibility and freedom to get a little creative. So try a few things out and see what gets the best reaction from your audience. Then when you’re ready to start investing in paid hotel online marketing, you’ll already have a solid idea of what resonates.

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Spending money on advertising your hotel can be daunting, especially if you don’t know your ‘marketing cost per booking (MCPB)’. We recommend consistently calculating and refining your paid marketing approach, to be sure you’re seeing a good return on your marketing investments. See how you can assess your MCPB.

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With Preno, seamless management is just a click away. Embrace the future of hospitality with our free trial, no strings attached.

Done right, promoting your hotel online will bring more guests through your doors than ever.

To keep up with a growing business, you need property management software you can rely on. Talk to the team today, and find out how Preno can help.

About the author

Preno's Head of Growth, Menilik, is highly knowledgeable around all things marketing & sales. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and sales, and seeks to guide hoteliers with their goals.

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