Five advanced tips to help hotels attract guests via the web

NB: This is a guest article by Brian Payea, head of industry relations at TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor recently conducted two surveys: the first asked US travelers about their 2011 travel plans, and the second asked US accommodation owners about their strategies for attracting guests and increasing bookings this year.

Together, these surveys provide valuable insights into travelers’ expectations and how well accommodations’ marketing strategies are measuring up to them.

hotel images

The following are a series of tips – gleaned from the two surveys – to help accommodation businesses maximize their engagement with travelers.

1. Help travelers stay connected

  • Travelers: Seventy-five percent of travelers want to stay connected by email while away from home, and 40 percent indicate that it’s important to have Internet access in their lodgings.
  • Accommodations: Properties appear to be taking notice of this trend, with 91 percent reporting that they plan to offer free, in-room Internet access in 2011. But don’t get rid of the revolving racks of postcards just yet — more than 26% of travelers still send them.

2. Update your TripAdvisor listing with a detailed property description and photos

  • Travelers: According to survey respondents, 92% of travelers are more likely to book with accommodations that post a detailed property description and photos. Travelers want to see the value they’re getting for their money. So, the more information you post on TripAdvisor about your property, the more likely potential guests are to book.
  • Accommodations: Sixty-seven percent of accommodation owners surveyed said they plan to post 1-10 photos per property this year. While this is an important step, travelers are 150% more engaged on listings with 20+ photos.

3. Respond to guest reviews

  • Travelers: Of the travelers polled, 76% show “favorable” to “very favorable” opinions of properties that respond to online guest reviews. That means travelers notice when you’re actively responding to guest reviews on TripAdvisor, and they tend to have a more positive view of you and your property as a result.
  • Accommodations: How are properties measuring up? Seventy-two percent plan to respond to both negative and positive reviews this year, while 14% plan to respond only to negative reviews. Thirteen percent said they would respond only to positive reviews.

Ideally, it’s best to respond to both negative and positive reviews on TripAdvisor, as this lets guests know you’re engaged and listening to their feedback.

4. Consider your property’s impact on the environment

  • Travelers: Your property’s impact on the environment is top of mind for many travelers, as 47% of those polled said that they take eco-friendly factors into consideration when making travel plans.
  • Accommodations: Environmental concerns are also an important factor for accommodation owners, as 70% of survey respondents plan to offer programs this year to reduce their impact on the environment.

5. Offer the right deals

  • Travelers: We asked travelers what the best development in travel has been in the past year — from wireless Internet access on airplanes to cheaper hotel rates — and the number one response was “online travel deals”. So, which deals do travelers find most compelling? Complimentary breakfast (39%), free wireless Internet access (31%), a free night’s stay (15%) and free shuttle service to local attractions (6%) were among the special offers most in demand.
  • Accommodations: Meanwhile, accommodation owners told us that discounts on rooms (61%), special amenities (36%), and rewards points (29%) are among the top incentives they plan to offer travelers this year.

When properties sign up for TripAdvisor Business Listings, they may market last-minute specials and deals on the site, in addition to displaying their direct contact information.

According to our survey, 96% of travelers said they find it useful when accommodations have contact information listed on their TripAdvisor page.

Wrap up

These are a few suggestions to help you align your marketing strategies with travelers’ expectations, as reported in our recent consumer survey.

Following these tips can help you reach new guests, increase repeat bookings and maintain a positive reputation online.

Whether it’s planning to offer free Internet access or evaluating ways to be a greener business, accommodations generally appear to be aware of travelers’ needs and are keeping pace with travel trends.

NB: This is a guest article by Brian Payea, head of industry relations at TripAdvisor.

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Viewpoints

About the Writer :: Viewpoints

A founding principle of tnooz was a diversity of viewpoints from across the spectrum. Viewpoints are articles by guest contributors from around the travel and hospitality industries. The views expressed are those of the author. and do not necessarily reflect those of the author's employer, or tnooz and its partners.

 

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    […] how much your business values its customers’ opinions. According to a survey conducted by TripAdvisor, 76% of those polled show ’favourable’ to ’very favourable’ opinions of properties which […]

     
  2. Thomas the Bescoverer

    we find that providing a web presence that drives traffic to the purveyors works well too, like we do at bescover.com

     
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  7. tak

    hey, I just wanted to say, I love the articles on this site, tnooz.com, but aside from “sharing a link”, how can I print this page? Hitting print from the web-browser prints 15 stupid pages and the actual article is lost in all the mess. I wish there were a button for “print this” page where all the advertisements and banners are removed…..anyone have any ideas?

     
  8. Bernie O'Keefe

    Kevin – I’m one of the 76% that take a favorable opinion on the fact that you responded to ‘just sayin’s’ ‘review’

     
  9. Just sayin

    Shouldn’t the post include “(Sponsored)” somewhere… I swear that’s the law these days.

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @just sayin – Why do you say it should have that phrase included in the post? It’s not a paid-for post. We source articles from the editorial department at Tnooz. No pay-to-play here.

      BTW: why comment anonymously? Just sayin’.

       
  10. Ruby

    Hmm.. I didn’t think complimentary breakfast would make be the highest percentage for deals..

     
 
 

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