How to Get More Traffic to Your Hotel [And More Bookings]
As the world moves past the COVID-19 pandemic, more business travelers and tourists are looking to book hotels. However, there are typically dozens of different hotels competing for the same travelers in each city.
So how can you increase traffic to your hotel and stand out amongst the competition?
This guide serves as a blueprint to help your hotel get more traffic and bookings. Increasing this traffic involves using online booking tools, optimizing your website, implementing search engine optimization and much more.
It may sound like a lot, but don’t worry! You’ll find plenty of help below.
1. Utilize Online Booking Tools
Online booking tools, also called OBTs, help travel managers and travelers book hotels easily and efficiently.
There are a few types of online booking tools:
- Corporate travel booking tools
- Travel merchants
- Online travel agencies (OTAs)
- Aggregator websites
Corporate travel booking tools are used by many large organizations that frequently need to book hotels for their employees. Travel merchants book a wide range of elements, such as flights, hotels, and car rentals. The most popular travel merchant is Expedia.
OTAs take a search query and provide a range of options from their inventory of travel products. Booking.com and Agoda are excellent examples of online travel agencies.
Lastly, aggregator websites are essentially search engines that pull data from different websites based on the user’s search query. For example, Kayak is a well-known aggregator website.
Since many organizations and travelers exclusively use online booking tools to book hotels, it’s crucial to get your hotel listed on as many as possible. Some will provide more value than others, but the more visibility you can get for your property, the better.
2. Optimize Your Website For Mobile Booking and Viewing
No matter how great your hotel and reviews are, it won’t translate to actual direct bookings unless you optimize your website for easy use by those who need to book — keeping in mind that they will often be using mobile devices.
As a hotelier, it’s crucial to work with a designer or programmer to ensure everything on your mobile website runs smoothly, for both desktop and mobile devices.
Here are the key mobile characteristics to implement:
- Automatically adjust text and picture sizes based on mobile device screen size
- Every button is easy to press with no chance of misclicks
- The website loads quickly (slow website loading times are detrimental)
- Remove Flash or other tools that aren’t synchronized for mobile devices
- Ensure the booking process is straightforward and quick, and test the user flow to look out for any bugs
- Website design is aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly
With over 80% of last-minute bookings coming from mobile devices, a flawless website increases your chance of capturing conversions. Therefore, it’s essential to offer your website visitors an incredible user experience on both your desktop and mobile website.
You should make sure your website visitors immediately know what your hotel offers, your rates and what they can expect from your rooms. They should also be able to see what time they can check in and check out of your hotel.
Since mobile users are less likely to conduct in-depth research, you should condense your hotel’s information on your mobile website’s homepage.
Confidence is crucial for mobile bookers, so your customers need to know they’re booking at the best rate available. To address any concerns, you can promote things like a penalty-free cancellation policy and best rate guarantee.
Furthermore, you can view your hotel’s top mobile searches to learn what your customers want. For example, if your target audience regularly searches for hotels with a pool and gym, you can promote these amenities immediately on your mobile website’s homepage to capture more traffic from people searching for these features.
3. Upload Interesting and Helpful Content
It may be the first time your customers are visiting your city. Therefore, they may not know anything about the local area.
To help establish yourself as an expert in the area, you can create blog posts describing:
- Famous tourist attractions
- Fun things to do in the city
- Best local restaurants
- Travel tips
- History of your city
- Facts about your hotel
- Best nightlife bars and clubs
- Your hotel’s philanthropic activities
- Local events
- An Instagram photo guide to your city
The list goes on and on. You should put yourself in the shoes of a traveler visiting a city for the first time and think about what you’d like to learn. It’s essential that your blog posts provide actionable advice and real value. This will help build goodwill and trust between your customers and your brand.
Adding blog content to your website also helps with search engine optimization (SEO). We’ll cover that in more detail later on, but it’s important to know that blog posts drive organic hotel website traffic. This traffic has a higher conversion rate because these visitors to your site are people who are actively researching a vacation destination and ready to book a hotel.
Furthermore, you should also add a virtual tour of your hotel on your website. It helps show your customers your amenities and hotel rooms. In turn, they’ll know what to expect when they arrive at your hotel.
4. Stay Active on Your Hotel’s Social Media Pages
More often than not, hotels tend to ignore their social media pages. This negligence is a missed opportunity, because well-managed social media pages can drive many new customers into your hotel.
It’s essential to regularly update your hotel’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other business pages. Think of your social media pages as separate versions of your hotel’s website.
You can provide links to your blog articles, generate discussions about your city and upload video tours of your hotel. Staying active on these platforms can help your hotel stand out amongst all the fierce competition you face. People are also increasingly using social media platforms to research and find information, so this can help you capture visitors who may be browsing Instagram for inspiration on their upcoming trip.
Routinely advertising sales or special offers (like a discounted spa service with booking) can also help convince people to pull the trigger and book a room! Be sure to share these deals on your social media page.
5. Leverage Your Hotel’s Customer Reviews
Social proof is a concept that any modern business needs to be familiar with. Social proof is the psychological phenomenon where people base their assumptions and actions on what others say.
For example, if your friend tells you how amazing a new movie was, you’re much more likely to see it yourself.
As such, if your hotel has 5 out of 5 stars on Google and hundreds of reviews, it’d be much easier to acquire new hotel guests and bookers.
Therefore, you need to actively acquire new reviews and proudly display your previous guests’ thoughts.
As travelers are booking their hotel, most of them will check the hotel’s reviews before committing. Because of this, positive reviews can go a long way in increasing the number of bookings to your hotel.
To garner more hotel reviews, you can send an email to each visitor after they check out of your hotel. The email should ask them kindly to leave a review on their experience at your hotel. To incentivize your customers to leave a review, you can offer discounted rates on future stays if they leave a comment.
You can even add a testimonial section on your hotel’s homepage with your best reviews. The reviews should be in-depth and answer common questions first-time visitors would have about the hotel.
According to Qualmetrics, 93% of customers read online reviews before buying something. For this reason, you can encourage your customers to leave reviews on TripAdvisor and Google.
In addition to acquiring and displaying your reviews, it’s important to respond to reviews. For example, if a customer left a poor review, you can address their concerns and how you’ve improved your hotel’s services since their stay.
Additionally, you can respond to positive reviews with a thank you note saying how much you appreciate them choosing your hotel. It will leave those reading with the reviews with an even more positive impression of your hotel and staff.
6. Run Paid Advertising Campaigns
Paid advertisements allow you to advertise to your target audience directly. As such, paid ads can be a robust way of gaining more traffic and hotel bookings.
You can run paid advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Pinterest and many other social media channels. The best strategy is to test multiple advertisements until you find one that resonates with your target audience. This trial period includes testing different promotions, discounts, pictures and videos.
Once you find your winning advertisement, you can increase the advertising budget and expand your audience.
We also recommend adding retargeting campaigns to your hotel marketing strategy. These are campaigns aimed at people who have already visited your website but didn’t book yet. Retargeting campaigns keeps you top of mind and helps this audience easily find your website again later when they’re ready to book.
7. Use Attractive CTAs on Your Website
The goal of your website is to convert visitors into paying customers. Therefore, it’s essential to offer an attractive and easy call-to-action on your website’s homepage.
The call to action is what takes a website visitor from just browsing to actually booking. The easier you make this process, the more likely it is that your guests will complete the booking on the spot. If they get frustrated and give up, they may never return to try again.
Allow the visitor to enter their travel dates, number of guests and number of rooms right on the main page. This way, the visitor can quickly see what rooms are available and how much they cost.
8. Partner with a Business Travel Booking Site
As we mentioned in tip #1 in this guide, it’s important to utilize online booking tools — but they are not all equal.
While there are many booking tools geared toward consumers, it’s important to mix it up and also work with ones that target business travelers. That helps balance out your occupancy (since business travelers are typically looking for lodging on weeknights, when you’ll have fewer leisure travelers in your hotel).
Hotel Engine is an effective online booking tool that connects businesses to hotels. The company vets all members to verify that they are employees traveling on business purposes. It’s free to use for businesses, and the company doesn’t charge hotels a commission.
More than 40,000 businesses and over 650,000 travelers use Hotel Engine. With a growth rate of 10,000 new users each month, partnering with Hotel Engine can substantially impact your company’s bookings.
Thanks to their commission-free partnership, working with Hotel Engine leaves more money on the table for your business.
Become a Hotel Engine partner today!
9. Utilize Email Marketing Campaigns
While all guests are valuable to your hotel, repeat visitors are essential for a sustainable hotel business. Building customer loyalty through well-crafted email marketing campaigns can significantly impact your hotel’s bottom line.
New customers cost more to acquire because of the marketing dollars spent to find them. On the other hand, repeat customers are likely to spend more money on their next visit in the form of room upgrades and amenity usage. They already know they like your hotel, so they’ll be more open to spending more on their experience.
Repeat customers are also more likely to talk about your hotel with their friends and family. Word-of-mouth marketing is a free form of promotion that is only possible if you build outstanding customer loyalty.
Your email campaigns should:
- Remind guests about your hotel
- Explain your new promotions
- Share updates about recent renovations
- Offer specials and discounts on future visits
Of course, you shouldn’t send emails too frequently. If your customers receive too many emails, they’ll opt out of your emails or report them as spam.
10. Implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the process of improving your website’s visibility in Google, Bing and other search engines. It’s a form of digital marketing that helps potential customers find your website.
For example, if your hotel is located in Phoenix, does your website appear on the first page of a Google search when someone looks for “Best hotels in Phoenix”? Try searching a bunch of terms that would be relevant to your hotel, and see where your website shows up in the list of results.
If your hotel website doesn’t come up prominently in the search listings, it’s important to utilize SEO to bring more organic traffic to your hotel’s website. People conduct trillions of searches on Google each year, making this one of the primary ways we seek out information to guide our purchasing decisions.
That’s why it’s so important that your website is optimized to perform well on search engines. Unless you have previous SEO experience, we recommend hiring an SEO agency to find the best keywords and add or rewrite content to your website to improve your search ranking.
If you don’t have the budget to hire an SEO agency, just think about what keywords are most relevant to your business, and do your best to work them into your website copy (make them appear as frequently as possible without sounding forced or unnatural).
There are also helpful resources online that you can access for free!
There are a lot of ways to go about getting more business for your hotel. The easiest one is to ensure that you have the right partners in place. With a partner like Hotel Engine, you can quickly acquire large sets of business travelers who wouldn’t have found your hotel otherwise.
Hotel Engine offers innovative solutions to connect businesses with your hotel, driving efficiency and affordability for both sides.
Learn more about our hotel partnership program here!
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.