Practical tips for increased online value

Friday, July 6, 2012
posted by Laura

Summer season is here and everyone is looking for the best spots for vacationing: where to stay, what to do and visit. Be sure you provide the online value you customers are looking for by following the simple guidelines below.

Creating and delivering customer value is central to the hospitality industry. As guest experience extends beyond your hotel’s boundaries, you need to master all the interaction points, extending to all guests touch points: from searching for the ideal room and price to making a reservation to a variety of complementary services.

This is even more important as all recent statistics indicate that the use of technology, especially mobile is on the rise. Travelers use their smartphones to search for accommodation offers and some even book through their devices.

The first thing you need to keep in mind that customer engagement is key. Elaborating a comprehensive Internet strategy is only the first step in establishing an online presence. However, it is equally important that you provide an easy to use, valuable experience to your potential customers. Most customers are looking for interaction on their own terms – whenever they want it and where ever they need it – so make sure you offer valuable, meaningful, relevant and quickly accessible information. Make sure you include pricing, descriptions, location info, photos, deals and booking capabilities and your contact details option.

A helpful tip in creating additional value for your customers comes from how travelers make reservations: some of them use online travel agencies and others turn to search engines. There is a third, interesting trend emerging: searching for information about a hotel using search engines or an online travel agency and then switching to the hotel’s website to book the reservation. To make the most of this, you should work closely with the online travel agencies to offer packages and look for ways in which you can improve the experience or offer loyalty point to travelers who use your site for reservations.

Social media and travel review sites are also an important part in the online experience mix. It is not rare that when looking for arrangements, people turn to their friends’ recommendations on Facebook or follow a link from a tweet that was sent on holiday.

Additionally, you can employ technology to improve on customer value even when they are staying at your hotel. Capitalize on mobile technology and the mobile key option to offer guests promotions and other special offers in real time. As indicated here, a fair number of people staying in a hotel would actually want to receive special offers such as, for example: “Book a spa weekend and receive a 15% discount” or more general “Happy Hours” or “Special Wine tasting.”  This has additional advantages as you can cut the costs of print marketing materials and furthermore, eliminating waste and creating a green image for your hotel.

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