Optimizing the marketing of your Paris hotel across the web means money. If your hotel’s average annual occupation rate is at 75%, a proper optimization can take this to 90 or 95% or may be even more. As a matter of fact, as we have seen in one of our previous articles that not all hotels are doing what they can do to optimize their marketing over the internet.
There are little things that we can do, that doesn’t cost a lot of money, but can improve the occupation rate of a hotel considerably. Selling on an average 300 euros more a day will mean that your average monthly income has increased by 9000 euros, and all you need is probably a better organization of your existing resources to achieve that.
Develop online reputation of your hotel
One of the very good way to improve the e-reputation of your hotel is to login to the website of TripAdvisor a few times a week. Chances are that people are already speaking about your hotel there. It is important to keep an eye on what people are saying.
People who are searching for Paris Hotels, can never miss the website of TripAdvisor and a few positive comments about your hotel on that website can only do good to your occupancy rate. There should also be a proactive policy by interested hotel owners to negate negative comments on that website. To help add positive comments on your hotel is another nice thing you can do to uplift the e-reputation of your hotel.
And if you are really interested, do a Google search with the name of a few hotels and you will see a few other sites coming up where people are speaking about hotels and their experiences there. A regular eye on those websites and corrective measures when necessary can do only good to your e-reputation. Speak as a third person, get a few profiles speaking good things about your hotel in the world wide web.
Two more websites where you can create profiles to add value to your e-reputation, apart from TripAdvisor are :
Time to invest for this : 3 to 5 hours a month. Probably any of your day receptionists can do this during the afternoon hours.
Increase your e-visibility, get more direct clients to avoid commissions
The reason why Venere is taking commission by selling rooms to you is simple: When someone looks for « Paris hotels » in Google, he gets Venere.com, not your website. Venere has a better e-visibility then yours. Of course you can get more direct bookings and avoid the hefty commissions, all you need to do is to increase your e-visibility. And a better visibility over the internet doesn’t only mean less commissions, it also means a better occupation rate.
Why don’t you have a blog about your hotel? One post of 500 words every three days about your hotel will give a huge boost to your brand visibility over the web. Your « Chef de reception » can do this easily. He can surely find 3 hours to spend with the blog. Introducing the hotel employees by their first name to the potential clients, and a bit about their life in hotel will not only boost search engine positioning of your hotel, it will also make the hotel more « homely », where clients will visit a place with a feeling that they already know the workers personally.
Another way to uplift your search engine positioning is to give some Paris travel / sight seeing related information in your website. This will get some link backs, and will also make the clients assured, in the sense that they will get a feeling that by staying in the hotel, they won’t get lost while traveling around. That there are people in the hotel who know about things. Finally, keeping the section updated with fresh tourism related news and information will make it more alive.
Google adwords is another good option to maximize your e-visibility for targeted clients who are doing specific searches in the internet. We have an equation here which is very simple, more the hotel website is visible, more there will be direct clients, and better will be the occupation rate.
Give additional services to your clients, let them know it in advance
You have receptionists who are helping departing clients to get their taxi to the airport. Good, but does the client knows it when he searches for a hotel and come across your website? What about noting it down directly in the website! Besides why don’t your receptionists arrange taxi for incoming tourists as well! Sure, you don’t have any direct gain here, but by providing this extra service you are assuring your clients, especially new comers to Paris, which will surely add extra value to your institution.
It’s good that now almost all the hotels have a small cyber space near the reception counter, but are you also providing wifi? A lot of clients travels today with their own laptops, and if you can attract a good number of tourists by announcing in your website that you are also providing wifi for your guests.
What about offering massage services to your clients? There are so many different kinds of massages available today, from fully clothed to totally nude, two hands to six hands, lying and sitting, tantric to californian, etc. You have to be careful that things are staying within the limit, but if you can manage that, surely you will lure more clients to your hotel by offering in house massage services.
Extra services mean extra work, but then again, it also means a stronger brand name, and today everything is done through internet. A few Google search, a few posts in sites like Craigslist, Vivastreet and AuFeminin will bring enough people to you to organize things in place. Once things are structured, it’s only a question of telephone calls to different contacts on client’s request, what your receptionists can handle easily.
Fetch people to your hotel, make it more friendly and attractive
People are fetched towards smiling faces, happy atmosphere. Make sure to have a smiling team in the reception (receptionist, chef de reception, etc). Before confirming the CDI, make sure during the testing period that members of your front office team are genuinely smiling. Unfriendly, unhappy, not smiling front office staffs are repulsive and the contrary for friendly, happy, smiling front office employees. This is something that will play a pivotal role in terms of increasing the rate of returning customers.
You can also send the message through your website. What about posting a smiling happy group photo of your employees in your website? What about also posting a small video of activities of your employees (like, one from the breakfast room) in your website? What about having a warm message from the director of your hotel, if possible in video, in the front page of your hotel website? All this will add warmth value to your hotel’s credibility to people who has never visited to your hotel, and will act as a magnetic factor to revisiting clients, if the image with ground reality.
Besides, what are the profiles of your front desk employees? A 20 or 30 something lady receptionist who smiles nice, smells nice and have a nice figure, can in fact help prolonging sejours of your male clients, and what she can achieve by doing absolutely nothing different compared to another person with a different profile. A dress code like above the knee black skirt and white shirt can accentuate this further. If you haven’t yet, read Virgin group owner Richard Branson’s marketing policies.
Website is good, but what about your Facebook page
You have a website, and you are getting into search engine result pages through a mix of sites like Venere or Thomas Cook, through the network of your web agency, and by your own hotel. But have you thought about the importance Facebook Page, and your search results inside Facebook?
Facebook is fast becoming a world in itself, and there is more and more search done in Facebook, especially young people. The age group that travel agencies like Kilroy Travels targets in the Scandinavian countries, Facebook targets the same globally.
The fact that Facebook has partnered with Bing search engine to show its search results just below Facebook results, it’s giving Facebook users a double benefit to search in Facebook, they are getting Facebook pages and web pages by doing a search in Facebook now. An advantage which will only promote more Facebook searches.
Facebook is getting stronger and stronger in it’s own way, and by it’s purchase of FriendFeed it also has now a step inside Google’s search algorithm. Don’t overlook to have you own Facebook page, and give it as much importance, in it’s look and search ranking inside Facebook, as you have done for your website.
Finally, don’t forget the commission agents. And yes, negotiate!
Paris receives nearly 100,000 tourists every day on an annual average, and there is no reason why 100 rooms of your hotel can’t go full permanently. If this is not happening, that means that there needs to be more marketing effort. There are X number of travel agencies in every country, who are sending thousands of tourists everyday to Paris. Many of them are struggling to fetch a deal with hotels on commission.
In stead of waiting for tourist agents to contact you, what is the tradition in the hotel industry normally, be proactive. Initiate and fetch a deal. There will be travel agents who may ask for more than 10%, but you can always negotiate or move to the next agent.
Given that owning a hotel in Paris is much tougher than owning a travel agency, it’s you who are in the higher end of the negotiation, don’t forget it. If you need to keep a quota of a few rooms for agencies, try also to get a bigger margin, in cancellation of quotas. Try 3 days minimum from the date, possibly, 5 days. Better is of course, to negotiate a deal without keeping quota, based on availability. Stay bold, there are plenty of travel agents, net based and traditional, who can fill up the rest of your hotel rooms to give you a near 100% occupancy rate.