Because of the competition for bookings in the hospitality industry, hoteliers must be aware of what factors influence travelers’ decisions. This is especially true in the case of independent hotels, who typically are not as visible online as major brands. The following statistics found by Skift/SiteMinder in their 2015 Google Consumer Survey gives independent hoteliers some insight on the top incentives to independent hotel bookings.
Positive online reviews (TripAdvisor, etc.) was listed by 37.7% of those surveyed as their top incentive to book an independent hotel. Making a good impression on your guests will directly affect your hotel’s online reviews. Additionally, management responses to negative reviews can reassure travelers and encourage them to book or further research your property.
Friends/Family word-of-mouth was chosen as the top incentive by 28.6% of those surveyed. Again, this stresses the importance of the customer experience. Providing exceptional customer service, amenities and packages will stand out in the mind of your guests and equate to referral bookings.
High ranking (Expedia, etc.) was chosen by 12.5% of participants. Having good rates and good availability will help to bump your hotel up in search results. Then, as your hotel is booking more, it will continue to climb in rankings.
Top Google result was said to be the top influence by 9.2%, stressing the importance of SEO. Keywords in your website copy and backlinks to your site will help to move your hotel to the top of search results for related queries.
Superior website design/content was chosen by 7% of those surveyed. Having a strong website is entirely up to you and can make or break consumers’ decisions to book. Having a clean, professional design with compelling copy and high quality photos, videos and virtual tours is crucial for making a good impression on potential guests.
Social media word-of-mouth was the top incentive for 5% of participants, which opens doors for hoteliers to promote themselves. Having a strong presence on social media and producing fascinating, shareable content can help to strike the interest of consumers. Also, responding to posts, comments and reviews on your social media pages can lend your establishment credibility.
This information should be used by independent hoteliers in an effort to focus their efforts on where to get bookings. Having these bases covered will ensure that your property is visible online and earning bookings wherever possible from consumers browsing travel.
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