Learn to use websites’ user reviews and feedback to brand and promote your company easily. The best internet marketing strategies to advertise and market hotels. Without spending more money!

After discussing marketing strategies for hotels in detail, and explaining web advertising using Inhouse Magazine and Brochure Strategies for Hotels and Hospitality, and Social Media Marketing Strategies for Hotels and Hospitality, this would be the perfect time to talk about the third part of the Internet Marketing and Advertising Strategies for Hotels series. In this post, I will talk about hotel marketing strategies and advertising ideas using the internet, user reviews and user feedback.

Part 3 of 4: Word of Mouth via The Internet a.k.a. User Reviews and Feedback

The internet is a great medium for marketing campaigns to promote brands and reach out to any specific audience, no matter how wide or niche it may be. Internet advertising has come a long way, and the regular PPC and CPM campaigns of hotel internet marketing are a thing of the past. Of course, web advertising is still a really good thing, and can also give back a lot of dividends. But today’s traveller isn’t one to fall for great, flashy ads that are splashed across the computer screens, unless you’ve got the goods to back it up. On a one-off occasion, browsing travellers may book a hotel through a clicked ad, but in almost all cases, internet savvy travellers always look for user reviews and feedback from other travellers who’ve stayed at the hotel previously.

The internet is scattered with travel portals, and it really is one of the biggest money spinners in the world of online content. Millions of people search online and spend time in travel portals to get a better idea about hotels, restaurants and hospitality industries from across the world. If you know how to use this aspect of internet hotel advertising, you can brand your company as a customer-friendly one better than most other means.

Viral Marketing Strategies are great to spread the word about your hotel, and email marketing too can be effective. But the biggest criterion for these mediums to work is the existence of a brand. If you already are a big brand, or have associated with a big brand to create a glitzy hotel that is talked about by everyone, then you’re bound to have a lot of people coming by to your hotel irrespective of feedback or reviews, but for the hotels that are still out there trying to reach out to people and show off their customer-centric work atmosphere, it’s time to participate actively in reputation management and user reviews.

User Reviews on the Internet

There are several sites on the web like Trip Advisor and Virtual Tourist that cater to travellers, and provide information on hotels, hospitality industries, and restaurants. For starters, make sure you find a cushy spot in as many of these hotel and hospitality review sites as you possibly can. It may take a while, but as long as you put in a conscious effort to represent yourself well in all or most of these sites, you can sit back and wait to be noticed, and talked about. Submit your best images, professionally written introduction pieces, and all the works. This the first and most important step in ensuring that you get noticed and reviewed by people. But this isn’t the end, this is but only the first step.

Good and Bad Feedback

Once you’ve added your hotel into the website directories, don’t sit back and relax, and forget all about it. This is one of the biggest mistakes that almost all hotels make when they enter the world of social media and user reviews. Only a few good hotels maintain an active interest in these online directories. After all, you’ve entered your hotel information into these directories so you could be reviewed. That’s like spending months preparing for an exam, and not bothering with the results after you’re done with the exam. Crazy, isn’t it? But some people do that, either because they’ve got something better to do, or know they’ve screwed up so bad they just don’t care! So unless you’ve left the hotel industry to pursue something else, make sure you stay back and spend quality time surfing through these websites.

Responding to Feedback

Read your user reviews, and thank the good reviews, and apologise to the posters of the bad ones. Give away free discounts to a few reviewers who’ve praised you, and a few free dessert coupons to the ones that hated you. That way, you’re making up with the ones that hate you, and graciously showing your gratitude to the ones that liked you. And while you’re doing this, try and make sure others see the efforts you’re taking to please your customers.

Business Tip: Always do these things in the public domain, and let others see all this. Comment back on reviews and ask for more! Lap it all up, the good and the bad, and always serve with a smile.

When you’re online, remember that there’s always someone watching you. And judging you. If they see you as a gracious host, more people will want to come by to your restaurant or hotel to enjoy your company and that of your staff.

Taking an Initiative

Now, I’ve told you about responding to user reviews. But what else can you do to keep a happy online presence? Use your mind, and bring out your fancy discount coupons! Spend a couple of hours online in blog directories and pick out a handful of great bloggers from your city. Get in touch with them by email and invite them to your restaurant for a special review. Tell them you’d also like to gift them with a special discount coupon for accepting the invitation. Please a few people, and get them to review your hotel and write about it in their blogs. Some of them have huge credibility, and chance are, you’ll have your entire city talking about you in a couple of weeks. And all this, without spending a penny on huge advertising hoardings or newspaper inserts!

Making the Difference with User Reviews

Remember the rule of social media. It’s always a two-sided conversation, not a one-sided monologue. And if you know how to use it well, you’ll be able to reach out to thousands of people without even spending a dime on advertising.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Get in touch with me, there’s a whole lot of ideas where this came from!

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