The future of hospitality and travel marketing is online. This is especially true for the digitally-savvy, always online backpacking community. Follow these simple suggestions to improve your online presence and get more guests through the door.
1. Get a great website
An old and tired website with poor navigation and a booking engine that is slower than a tortoise will get you nowhere with your hip target audience so invest in a good website. It must be responsive (mobile friendly and adaptable to any screen size it is viewed on), designed to deliver bookings and fast loading. Make the online booking process as simple as possible – you don’t want to lose a precious site visitor.
2. Market the website
Now that you have a super sleek website, it’s time to tell people about it. Get listed on all hostel and accommodation directories possible along with OTAs (Online Travel Agents) and social platforms. Create content (blogs, emails, social posts, videos, etc.) that get traffic to your website, and potential bookings for your hostel – direct bookings are the most profitable channel you’ll have, grow it! There is a ton of content out there; create something that is worth reading and local in flavour.
3. Make sure you’re easy to find online
S-E- O. Heard of the term? If not, make sure you are familiar with it as search engine optimisation (SEO) is a big component of any modern marketing campaign. It’s easier than you think. Here are some quick tips to get you started. Follow our blogs for a more in-depth SEO guide in the coming weeks.
- Don’t use flash on your website.
- Get familiar with keywords (words and phrases that a user types in the search box). Make sure you write content on your website that includes these keywords. Focus on longer phrases that are easier to rank for. Placement of keywords is critical – in the meta description and heading of your web page.
- Avoid content duplication.
- Create a blog so you’re consistent with your content production and improve your SEO efforts.
- Get listed in local and international accommodation directories, business association pages and destination marketing organisations.
- Request bloggers and guests to your hostel to include a link to your website. The more people who link to your website, the better the authority and improved ranking.
- Get active on Google platforms – Google My Business, Google+, Google Local Guides and YouTube. The first two are critical to improve search rankings, especially Google My Business which is linked to maps and local search.
4. Pay attention to online reviews
96% of TripAdvisor users get influenced by online reviews before booking. Need we say more on why these are important? They also have great SEO value. Monitor online reviews carefully (there are plenty of tools available to
do this) and respond to them, positive and negative. Don’t rely on people to leave reviews, prompt them to do it by sending follow-up emails requesting feedback. Your AbodeBooking accommodation management system automates this process, making the task much simpler.
5. Get listed on OTAs
Even if you want to, you cannot ignore the OTA beast. Listing on them is important for online success. You can reach millions by choosing stalwarts like Expedia or Booking.com. Or go niche with Hostelworld.com, Gomio.com and Hostels.com. Check out our tips to choose OTAs.
6. Become social
More than half the world’s population has access to the internet. Nearly 40% – about 2.8 billion people – are active social media users. Can you dare to ignore this segment? Establish a presence on as many channels as you can manage, prioritising Instagram and even Snapchat, preferred social platforms for most backpackers according to various sources.
7. Go crazy with photos and videos
Visuals – moving and static – work like magic with this audience. If you’re taking the images and videos yourself, make them less “brands-ey”. Where possible use and share images and videos taken by your guests, other backpackers and bloggers.
8. Invest in reservation and channel management technology
Some technologies are essential for modern hospitality marketing, a booking management system (a.k.a. property management system or front desk management system) is one. The second one is a quick and reliable channel manager. The time and resource efficiencies gained from using these tools, not to mention better revenue management, will consequently allow your team and you to focus on providing excellent guest experience.