How to turn Digital Marketing for Hotels from Passive to Active

Oftentimes, there is a great digital divide between hotels and their guests. This gap is especially evident when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), online booking portals (Agoda, Expedia,, etc), and social media.
Whereas hotel guests are all too aware of the latest developments in the digital world – and eager to take advantages of them – hotels, on the other hand, are not embracing these opportunities so readily, as they are often stuck in practices from at least 15 years ago.
However, hoteliers can rest assured that there are some easy solutions at hand to breathe new life into their digital marketing campaign to ensure a competitive edge and, subsequently, a higher booking rate.

Be Website Centric
Your website is the center of your online presence. Too often hotels use online booking portals or Facebook pages as their main channel, losing a large number of potential bookings. In the long run, this short-sighted strategy will only erode customer loyalty. So, how can you improve your website and optimise it to reach your goals?

The website should represent your hotel/brand both graphically and conceptually.
Quality content is king – develop unique content that represents your hotel’s business model and philosophy.
A great on-site booking platform is crucial; there are some platforms that are very dynamic solutions built all around the specific needs of your hotel. Online booking portals are important, but your own booking system should be the top priority. Your website is where you start to build customer loyalty in the first place.
SEO, SEM and Online PR: Continuously build relationships online; always think long term.
Return on Engagement (ROE) = Return on Investment (ROI)
GettIng your guests, or potential guests, to engage with your hotel is one of the most challenging parts of your online marketing strategy. So how should hotels then keep in touch or attract guests online?
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Weibo and Instagram are awesome channels for communication and visibility. The key is to develop innovative strategies that require a lot of effort and a dedicated customer service representative.
Email marketing is probably one of the best ways to keep in touch with your guests – remember design, quality content and promotions are the engaging factors here.
Advertising on AdWords could be an inexpensive and easy solution to drive new potential guests directly to your website, but it should not be the focus of your strategy; 77{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} of users click on results coming from SEO and not advertising through Google AdWords.
Tripadvisor is the most popular website for travellers; every hotel should be active on this website. Do not underestimate your Online Reputation Management.
Be sure that you can be found on local geolocated searches, such as Google Maps and similar services.

Default VIP Standards to All Guests
No matter with whom or on which platform you engage, your online communication should always be outstanding and professional: treat every guest or potential one as a VIP.

In-house Solutions
Nowadays, hotels should provide good-quality technological services, such as free WiFi or in-room docks. What else can be introduced technologically speaking?
Pay Per View and old-school on-demand movies systems are no longer charming solutions; new services such as movie streaming (Netflix or Hulu), online TV, Internet radio, if applied to the in-room entertainment system, can elevate guests’ experience to a home-away-from-home experience.

Play with promotions and geo-located check-ins on social platforms such as Foursquare; good gamification is always fun!
Reward your guests with coupons and promo codes.
Keep a close eye on your competitors.
This is a role-playing game: engage with your competitors online, subscribe to their newsletters, follow them on social media platforms, see how they move and think about how you could do better.

Statistics = Feedback
This last tip is strictly analytical. No matter how things are going for your business, your online statistics is the most powerful feedback tool that you have. Learn how to contextualize Google Analytics reports; you will then be able to conclude which strategies will work for you, which to avoid, which to continue, and which to modify.