Online Merchandising: The Secret to Selling More Hotel Rooms Online
By Paolo Boni President & Chief Executive Officer, VFM Leonardo, Inc. | January 27, 2012
Don't let the title of this article mislead you - what hoteliers need to do to sell hotel rooms online is no secret. It's all about better merchandising with content that inspires and motivates shoppers to book. More than just rates, inventory and driving traffic to a booking engine, selling hotel rooms online involves making engaging, detailed visual and written content available to travel shoppers on all the digital channels they use throughout the shopping journey.
Online channels are where hoteliers need to focus their efforts
More than 1 billion people use the internet every day and 91% of US online buyers state that researching online makes them feel more confident about their purchases.(1) The internet offers the simplest way for consumers to find and compare hotels. It also produces the best marketing return-on-investment. It's time for hoteliers who aren't exploiting online channels to make that commitment.
Visual merchandising needs to be added to every hotelier's online strategy
In addition to online marketing and merchandising activities by chains, brands, representation companies, etc., individual hotel properties and management companies need to add one more thing to their list of online strategies: visual merchandising. A successful online strategy should be focused on both driving traffic to websites, but also converting it when they arrive. SEO, PPC and many Social Media activities are primarily focused on driving traffic and creating awareness online, while visual merchandising is what helps convert traffic and close the sale.
As the travel industry recovers, the hotels that will lead the way are the ones that embrace online merchandising now