Our guest blog and interview is with Frederic Gonzalo, founder of Gonzo Marketing. With over 19 years of experience in the travel and tourism sphere, he is passionate about marketing and communications.
Frederic recently attended the EyeForTravel event in Miami as a speaker, panelist and participant to the 2015 edition of Online Marketing Strategies in Travel.
Here Frederic generously shares his industry insights and expertise with freetobook. As he pointedly states, having no marketing budget is no excuse for not having a dynamic online presence!
What is the most important trend in online room booking?
It’s about going mobile. More than 51% of travelers now research their next destination, accommodation and transportation from a mobile device, whether it’s a smartphone or tablet. And more importantly, an increasing proportion of them are now booking via their mobile device: in fact, it is estimated that 25% of all online travel revenue in the US will come from mobile devices in 2015.
How can a property get more direct bookings?
1- Have a “best online rate” guarantee and feature it, big and bold, on your home page. People will shop around no matter what, but if they can have the confidence that by booking direct they will get the best deal, well… you got it!
2- Have a relationship marketing approach in place. This can be through a rewards program or simply by capturing emails from clients and visitors to your site and/or blog. Sending out regular newsletters and promotional offers to this base can ensure retention and direct booking through time.
3- Promote deals and best rates across your various social accounts. I see hotels mention a promo code for 10% off best rate… on their Twitter bio. Others do Facebook offers, or mail push to group databases. Think outside the box, and make sure you crossover information from newsletter to blog to social media.
Having no marketing dollars is not an excuse not to have a dynamic online presence.
The first step is to have a professional-looking website, and this can be done with various solutions that cost a fraction of what it used to 3-5 years ago.
Sending out emails? MailChimp is free up to 2,000 email addresses, and other providers offer similar low-cost solutions.
Social media? It’s not free, contrary to what many believe, because someone has to manage it, but you can have impact and reach on Facebook with minimal investments. It’s more a matter of having a strategy in place to begin with, then finding the resources (human and financial) to manage this new reality. Knowing 87% of travel decisions now begin with an online search, do we even really have a choice here?
15 key stats to consider:
- TripAdvisor (42%) is the most downloaded mobile app amongst travelers, followed by Priceline (15%), Expedia (14%) and Orbitz (13%)
- There are 139 reviews written every minute on TripAdvisor
- You lose 25-60% of visitors with each click on the mobile path to purchase.
- 69% of travelers begin their search online…via a mobile device!
- Average mobile users check their device 150 times per day!
- Of the average six daily hours US adults spend on digital media, 3 hours is on mobile.
- Twitter on Travel: in the past year, 60M tweets mentioned hotels, 21M tweets mentioned vacations
- 70% of followers have taken some action after seeing travel content on Twitter
- 70% of Instagram users have looked for a brand online
- 3/4 of consumers are frustrated when online content doesn’t relate to their interest
- In 2016, 50% of total travel sales will involve more than one device
- Ritz Carlton Hotel sees 18% conversions from email campaigns. Email is not dead, folks!
- 92% of visitors to a website will never return. Thus, remarketing is key!
- Only 27% of hotels send automated emails prior to arrival (and after departing)
- According to Google, 1/3 of people with a smartphone would give up sex instead of their phone. Sad.
Visit Frederic Gonzalo’s website for further insights