10 Success Tips on Online Visibility for Independent Hotels

By Pedro Colaco President & CEO, GuestCentric Systems | January 27, 2012

Many independent hotel managers are unhappy with the small amount of business generated by their websites. This should come as no surprise as these websites have poor visibility, and often less than 20 visitors a day. Simple techniques like being present in a few online channels and registering for Google Local Business can dramatically increase the level of visibility of an independent hotel's website. This article suggests 5 simple and 5 advanced tips to dramatically boost the visibility of an independent hotel's website as a first step to create a structured online strategy to ensure e-commerce success.

Online visibility: where e-commerce success starts

Online visibility is about creating sources of traffic for your website, i.e. be present in places where your offer is available and gets the traveler thinking, "I would like to stay there". The online visibility of your hotel is determined by lots of factors: your website's Google ranking, your presence in online channels, links to your website, and promotions on Google, Yahoo or meta-search engines like Kayak.

Choosing a visibility strategy

The most important thing to realize when wanting to improve your website's visibility is how much time and money you are willing to dedicate to improve your website's visibility. This article shows two ways: a minimum level of visibility required to make your website an effective sales tool, and advanced strategies that enable you to compete with the best hotels in your area.

Getting found: it all starts with distribution

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.