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Online marketing for hotels

The hotel business is one of the branches which has changed a lot through the internet. Nowadays, guests are independent and also the selection of the hotel - and of course the booking process have changed a lot.

Big parts of the hotel selection happens online, with search engines or comparison portals. And there, potential guests have immediately access to detailed information and can easily compare offers. Via Google Street View they might even ‘stroll’ down the Street in front of every hotel to check the surroundings...

Hotels marketers are facing completely new difficulties - but like every change, also this one brings new chances and possibilities as well! But how?

In most cases, the search for the ideal hotel starts in the internet, does not matter if for a city trip, brief vacation or a business travel. Potential guest can easily reduce the amount of offers on a booking site by filtering the uninteresting or unsuitable ones - with little effort. And the few hotels which made it into the the final round - into the ‘short list’, are pretty alike in their hard facts, like location, price and features. In such situations, where the offers are similar, the decision making process takes place mostly in the cerebral cortex - which means that those decisions are made emotionally. The style, the presentation of the website and also the competence and kindness in the direct contact can give the decisive difference.

Good service, also on your website!

Almost every visitor which comes from a comparison portal is therefore a highly interesting lead: he probably already made his first selection and your hotel made it onto the shortlist! This is a “high potential” visitor, an almost perfect lead, who is browsing around on your homepage, who has questions and maybe is currently balancing pros and cons of two offers. A critical moment!

And exactly here, a live chat solution can score. Because although those questions cause uncertainty, they are also a huge chance to start a dialog, bring in arguments and finally to provide good and effective service!

Of course also booking portal answers many questions and customers can select important parameters like ‘shoreward view’ or ‘quiet location’ - but how quiet is the room actually? How much of the shore can you see? Small questions, which cause insecurity and could be answered quickly within a dialog. But only if you get the chance to talk - only if you know that there is somebody on your site!

Which options are there to start a conversation?

Mail, web form, telephone or live chat!

From the guests point of view, mail seems to be the most unattractive option. Because of formal social conventions also the smallest question is quite time-consuming - and so is the answering for the hotel. Furthermore, guests also might assume that they will receive an obligatory, but unwanted newsletter after giving away their email address. But the main disadvantage is the factor time. When will you get the answer to your question? If you are lucky in a few minutes, but it could also take some hours - or maybe it shows up too late, if the guest has already booked somewhere else! That’s why email is neither for guests nor for hotels an ideal form of communication.

Telephone is more efficient, but has some disadvantages as well. It rings, doesn’t matter if someone is around or if there is much work to do - and the call can’t be handled in the desired quality. Moreover, the telephone is a one-to-one communication: Every call binds one employee, there is little potential for parallelization. For the guest this means more time wasted in the queue or more annoying forwarding. Furthermore the telephone is a completely passive medium where the hotel itself cannot get active and has to completely rely on people calling. Or hope for them.

Live chat - an ideal addition to mail & phone Chat on the other side is an active and very direct communication, which also represents the current zeitgeist. An informal, partly automated and very fast form of conversation, where the guest does not have to disclose personal information. Compared to mail and telephone live chat has another great advantage: It has a very low communication barrier! People don’t have to identify themselves, they simply can enter the question and a few moments later they get their answer.

But a Live Chat Software can not only improve the conversion rate (and with that also the commercial benefit of the homepage), it can also increase the value of usual advertisings like flyer, mailings, brochures, mailings or newsletters! Because ultimately, the aim of this actions is to bring the targeted audience onto the website. The same thing with business cards, stationery and any other advertising campaign - the url to the homepage is everywhere! And when the potential lead is on your website - what could be more important than taking care of those future guests?

Advantages for sales and service But live chat does not only can hep out in sales, it’s also a great tool for service! Especially in critical situations like the booking process it helps a lot to prevent mistakes or dropouts! And also for the usual customer support a good addition - you can take care of each visitor individual and personalized - like at a good reception!

Besides live chat there are also several other tools to get the most out of your homepage. One of them are website widgets, which are a great opportunity to provide an easy feedback form - but also newsletter or individualized sales offers. Additional features like GeoLocation, Co Browsing, Tracking or Dynamic Content open further opportunities to interact and communicate with potential customers - and bring not only a competitive advantage but also a benefit for hotel and guests!

With a live chat software you can turn your static homepage into an interactive website - an step ahead of your competitors and always in dialog with your guests. Extend your reception to your website - with a live chat solution.

Try it now 14 days for free: Visitlead Live Chat Software!

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