Internet destabilizes hoteliers because the Web has taken on incredible dimensions and impact in a very short time. But the Internet is not just a networked catalog of hotel brochures. It is a machine for sale . Except that it has its own rules, linked to the new habits that Internet users have adopted there. You have to comply with them because you will not be able to change them in any way.
With the Internet, consumers are free to come and go virtually, to wander from site to site in one click, to compare, to choose knowingly, to always find cheaper (they think). They are also very much in demand and agree to be led according to the links that come their way. And all this without leaving their home or their office. This is what makes all the difference with the pre-Internet.
The Internet is also the domain of the consumer’s revenge . When he is not happy, when he feels humiliated by a merchant who is not very attentive or a little crook, when he is disappointed, he will know how to make it known quite easily on the web.
With its codes and its technology, the Internet has shaped consumers with new ways of thinking and being . They don’t want to wait any longer, everything must go quickly. They want transparency and sincerity more than ever. Deception, they very often know how to detect it. They want everything at the best price. The price is also the first criterion to choose a hotel. It gives an idea of the category of the establishment and in a way killed the stars, which are no longer looked at.
Finally, we must stop seeing our hotel website as a pretty showcase where only the hotelier is happy. Internet users do not care, it must be said. A site is there above all and above all to sell, to snatch customers, to concretely provoke reservations. To meditate on your own choices. Yours, is it like that?
Here are some 10-point tips that remind you of what the Internet is and how the Internet has changed travelers. How can you, a hotelier, adapt your Internet marketing to sell more and better? All these tips are not new, nor original, but in this case they can correspond to little reminders that are good to remember.
1) • With the Internet everything is easier. You no longer have to make any effort to get information (having to buy a guide, get a leaflet, call the tourist office, find a travel agent, get around …), because everything is available at home , in his computer, without moving.
– Have a fluid site, with swift display, easy to find, with a clear model and consistent with the range of the hotel (you will avoid low-end colors and fonts for a luxury hotel or too “chic” for a budget hotel), a hierarchy of easily accessible sections, etc.
– Offer on your site the essentials of what it is necessary to know for the hotel customer: prices, photos, descriptions, services, location, access, address, telephone number and email address, online reservation, etc. For the rest – so as not to overload the site – invite your customers to call you. This is still done by 6 out of 10 hotel clients.
2) • With the Internet everything is faster and goes faster. We can no longer imagine waiting for information. That’s it, straight away, without obstacle, without brake, without detour.
– Display prices in real time (delete the forms to fill out to know the price – this annoys customers),
– Avoid videos on the home page (place them elsewhere on your site), which slow down access to information and make people wait. Each lost second takes the risk that the user will leave the site and go to your competitors.
– Have an official site that shows itself from the first page of Google, and if possible from the first lines. This assumes good SEO. 83% of hotel customers make a keyword request on a search engine and 99% on Google. Customers rarely go to the 2 th page of Google (about 20%).
– Prohibit yourself from publishing texts that are too long to read. The Internet user will not make this effort on a hotel site.
– Have a real-time response online reservation system,
– Respond to requests for seminars the same day and send a quote within 24 hours.
3) • With the Internet everything is available. On the Internet, 24 hours a day, you as well as the large hotel groups, will remain like little boys in front of Internet users. You can no longer impress them, dominate them, hold them back. Volatile and made independent, they do what they want and zap for a yes or a no, in a few seconds. Why ? The offer is extremely rich and at the base, the majority of travelers have no firm ideas on the hotel they want to find, unless they have set a price that should not be exceeded. So, on the Internet, you have to play with humility and honesty. You are no more important there than all of your competitors. But no less either.
4) • With the Internet everything is informative and comparable. The Internet is a great medium with almost infinite content. Internet users want to be informed, informed; they want advice and want to be able to compare what is on offer.
– Explain on your site, be demonstrative, show a maximum of things, especially with captioned photos, because the texts are not read if they are too long.
– Explain why it is better to choose yourself, what you have better / more than the others (the competitors).
– Show photos by room type.
– Be generous; play transparency on prices and conditions of sale.
– Publish an FAQ with answers to the most common questions that your customers and prospects may ask.
5) • With the Internet everything is shared, everything is decompartmentalized. If you are too pretentious but also if you cheat or if you offer a mediocre service, count on Internet users to let it know. They usually won’t do it to you, but around them, in forums, on social media, and in traveler review sites. Destroying a reputation that takes so long to build is fast on the Internet.
– Be honest, clear and professional. The lie is quickly demonstrated on the Net: photos not very faithful to reality ,misleading description, …
– Do not fall into the temptation to make positive comments about your hotel. Internet users quickly know how to spot bogus reviews and generally identify them at first glance as fake.
– Respond to your customers’ comments, with humility, professionalism and without condescension. When you address one person, consider that you are ultimately addressing a bunch of people who will read your answers. They are almost more important to convince of your good faith and your professionalism than your interlocutor, who will not always agree to change his mind.
6) • With the Internet everything is interactive. We want an immediate response, we want personalization. A website should no longer be seen as a “web-leaflet”, frozen and immutable. You have to take advantage of Internet technologies to establish a relationship with your visitors.
– Set up a real-time response reservation system.
– Respond to emails as quickly as possible.
– Place “you” and not “us” in your texts. Talk to your customers by putting yourself in their shoes, you will have a better impact.
– Do not fall into the cliché phrases that unbearable Internet users: “our young and dynamic team is happy to welcome you in a refined setting”, “we are at your service”, “we are concerned with responding to your request” , etc.
7) • With the Internet everything is already known and is superficial. Being on the Internet is no longer an event; it is commonplace and Internet users are jaded. It is now difficult to surprise them. Don’t even try to do it anymore because you might get the opposite effect of what you are aiming for.
– Avoid going too far out of the ordinary hotel sites. You can personalize your site with photos, texts; but you must not try to destabilize the Internet user too much with a model that is too complex to navigate, by animation effects that do not add anything and by unnecessary sections, which would overload the site and its use.
– Adding music from the home page is rarely appreciated knowing that many Internet users surf while they are at work!
– Do not expect Internet users to be surprised or seduced by your offer on the Net. The seduction will come – hopefully – from the actual commercial contact and through your service.
– Everyone does not care to know that “you have the pleasure of receiving it on your site …” . Your pleasure does not interest anyone. Only the pleasure that the customer can feel matters to him.
8) • With the Internet everything is free (or almost). The Internet is so generous that it no longer occurs to anyone to pay for any information or intelligence. On the contrary, Internet users believe – rightly or wrongly – that everything we buy on the Internet is cheaper there than in hotels and stores.
– Submit to this belief by promoting advantageous prices and lower prices. But remember, low price doesn’t have to sell. We sell solutions, commercial appeal, comfort, quality, … and if possible at a fair price, even if this notion is always subjective.
– Adopt the principle of the cheaper room if you book firmly, without refund possible or only partially.
9) • With the Internet, the consumer is taking over. Where unhappy or disappointed customers could only scantily fall back on the DGCCRF, consumer associations or critical guides, the Internet now allows them immediately to take revenge and put pressure on traders and service providers. By posting comments on forums and specialized travel sites, consumers have found their revenge. He is no longer disarmed. Everything is done and learned very quickly. A reputation can very quickly be damaged, abused and shattered by clients who defend themselves or who are revenge. But the motivation of most disappointed people is more to warn other potential customers than to seek revenge.
– Follow your online reputation and track the comments that Internet users write about you. Respond by remembering that you are not addressing one person, but a whole group who will read your arguments immediately or later. On the Net, almost everything leaves a lasting mark.
– Be good in your service and your relationship with your customers, because otherwise it may be known at lightning speed.
10) • With the Internet, you have a chance to find clients that you would never have had otherwise. The Net is a universal window in a vast system which stirs up and intersects a mad world. Every hotelier, including the most isolated and the most modest, can now hope to reach an audience that they never imagined reaching.
– Create a professional, attractive, practical and informative site. The quality of the photos must be very careful, just like the texts. A miserable, questionable, unattractive site, with mediocre photos… may suggest that your hotel will be in the same vein.
– Your site should ideally arrive on the first page of Google: 99% of customers do their keyword research on this engine. Also, SEO work must be organized.
– Have a very efficient, friendly and fast telephone contact: a large proportion of customers still call hotels to make reservations or inquire (6 out of 10), after having gone through the Internet. You cannot imagine the number of hotels where the telephone connection does not make you want to book. Your receptionists need to be real salespeople, not just “reservation takers”.