10 Easy Tips to Increase Digital Bookings

By Ryan Bifulco Founder & CEO, Travel Spike | July 14, 2013

You don't have to be a digital rocket scientist to pick up some extra online bookings. I have outlined 10 easy ways that you can get started at your own property. Of course you can tackle these ideas on your own to save some money, but I would advise you to also pick the items that you know the least about and call in the professionals. Things have become so competitive these days when it comes to search engine marketing and social media. In some ways it reminds me of the early days of The Olympics when some countries allowed professionals while Team USA continued to send our best younger players from college. Finally we called in our professionals who were able to match the experience and physical play of the rest of the world. If you try to do all of these things on your own, you will be outmatched just like our Olympic teams.

10. Mobile

Optimize your site and email newsletters for mobile since most emails these days are actually opened and viewed on mobile devices. So you might think your email looks amazing only to learn later on when it's too late that many people did not properly see your message on their mobile phone. You can also capture some of the late bookers who book on the road from their mobile phone or iPad. Work with mobile apps like HotelTonight to snag last minute bookings before your rooms go unsold.

9. Google +

Get rolling with Google + as it is now the number two most popular social network with over 300 million active users. The real plus here is whatever you do also helps your cause with search engine optimization since after all we are talking about a social network launched by the search engine kings themselves. The best thing about Google + is the circles feature so that you can share certain content with your closest friends and still ensure that your work colleagues or other circles are not able to view those crazy photos.

8. Socialize Your Lobby

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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.