Autumn is upon us, and with the cooler weather comes colorful foliage, pumpkin spice everything, and, of course, budgeting season.
Like many in the hospitality industry, you are probably working long hours with your team, planning for the upcoming year, and feeling the pressure to increase occupancy, RevPAR, and, of course, your overall revenue. To do so, you are analyzing market segments, allocating resources to sales tactics, and creating a digital marketing plan that most likely has a healthy portion of your budget devoted to outsourcing marketing efforts with a focus on public relations and social media.
Outsourcing Marketing Consistently Proves to be Effective
Your PR and social media strategies are designed to be wide-reaching, and with so many eyes on your hotel, you want to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward. While some hotels have the luxury of a Marketing Manager, most do not, and even those that do tend to have more tasks than one person can effectively manage. Outsourcing marketing, consequently, proves itself to be is a cost-effective way to ensure that your communications are carefully crafted by trained professionals who know how to make your hotel shine.
But are public relations and social media the only services that you should outsource into the hands of a professional?
To achieve your goals in 2019, you need to strengthen your brand’s awareness throughout your target markets as well as focus on influencing the purchasing behaviors of active shoppers to drive bookings. While PR and social media both play an important role in your marketing plan, their strength lies in awareness campaigns, which cast a wide net across a large segment of people who may or may not be interested in traveling to your area. These tactics can help you stay at the forefront of consumers’ minds, but they neither target active shoppers looking for a hotel in your area nor directly result in reservations.
Consider, how many guests read a press release and then call to book a room. Not very many.
Online Reviews Are Affecting Shopper’s Booking Decisions Right Now
How many shoppers do you think have made the choice to stay, or not stay, at your hotel after reading your online reviews? If your property is like others, this is happening on a daily basis.
Each month, thousands of active shoppers are searching for hotels in your area, and they rely on review sites like TripAdvisor, Google, Expedia, and Yelp to help them make the final decision when selecting a hotel.
Studies have found that:
90% of travelers say that review site ratings are important when making their reservation
88% of travelers filter out hotels rated below three stars
79% of travelers are willing to pay more for a hotel with higher-rated reviews
65% of customers are more likely to book a hotel that responds to reviews versus a comparable hotel that doesn't
Given that many consider online reputation to be the biggest driver of sales, why do so many hotels continue to focus outsourcing marketing on PR and social media, but not on reputation management? Despite partnering on other influential marketing tactics, it is all too common for hoteliers to leave their online reputation in the hands of someone who lacks the writing, marketing, and sales know-how to create and oversee a reputation management program that will highlight their unique selling features and influence thousands of potential guests each month.
What You Can Do to Turn Your Online Reviews Into a 1.42%+ RevPAR Increase
To create an effective reputation management campaign, hotels need a strategy that monitors online feedback, provides timely, personalized, and professional responses; increases review volume; and analyzes performance. Even if these tasks are assigned to a knowledgeable Front Desk or Rooms Division Manager who has both the company’s and guest’s best interest in mind, this will take your manager off the front line for an average of 14-18 hours per month. Imagine how much your operation, employee morale, and guest satisfaction could improve with these 18 hours reinvested in running your business.
As you work on your 2019 budget, keep in mind that a recent Cornell University report found that when a mid-scale hotel gains just one percentage point in its online reputation, they can see RevPAR increase by up to 1.42%.
How much is your RevPAR expected to grow next year and how will you achieve these results? Could a new strategy and focus on reputation management lead the way to your hotel’s success in 2019 and beyond? And could hiring a third-party expert to manage this process for your hotel be a smart investment? We think so.
We Can Revolutionize Your Guest Engagement Efforts
At The Reputation Lab, we work with hotels and restaurants to facilitate a reputation management strategy aimed at increasing online visibility, engaging your customers, and converting more shoppers to future guests and revenue producers. If you are interested in outsourcing marketing tasks in this arena or just want to learn more about how we can assist you in 2019 and beyond, drop us an email through our contact form to set up a no-pressure consultation or call us directly at 855 979-6800.