Maximising Your Online Presence & Increasing Brand Awareness
Attending The Independent Hotel Show for the first year recently, I was asked to be part of a panel discussing Marketing and Online Presence in the Hospitality Industry on the exhibition’s Innovation Stage.
A large proportion of independent hospitality business operators spend the majority of their time on the important job of running their business. Websites and online booking systems once set up are rarely revisited. Social media accounts are set up like a January diet with the best intentions, but regularly updates become too time-consuming and fall by the wayside. It is these important elements which, when neglected, can result in a detrimental effect on the business in terms of online presence, brand awareness and future bookings.
From this starting point, we have created a 5 stage guide in association with Boothwood Ltd which features checks in 5 critical areas to enable us to review and get on top of your operation’s online presence and social media activity.
Stage 1 – Your business online
What are the two things business owners can do immediately?
As with so many things online, the starting point is Google. Do a quick search on your business and scan the first few pages of results making a note of all sites that reference your business. Log in or request access to these sites and update images and information which may be out of date. Check and update your profiles on OTA’s (Online Travel Agents) sites including eviivo, TripAdvisor and Booking.com.
Secondly, cast a critical eye over your Social Media profiles, positioning yourself as a potential customer. Accounts which have been inactive or are not updated on a regular basis are better off being deleted entirely – remember to remove any links to these accounts from your website and any other active profiles.
When reviewing your social media accounts, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I post regularly on this account?
- Does this bring any extra business?
- Am I talking to my target audience?
If you answer No to all 3 questions, delete the account. Answer Yes to one or two, and you should aim to review and update the account as soon as possible.
These two important steps will offer a vital insight into your online presence from a customer’s point of view. By removing any negative profiles and outdated imagery you are removing some of the reasons potential customers may be choosing to not book with you.
What would be next steps?
Claim your Google listing and ensure the details are correct. Google offers profile and location details for your business – basic contact details, a booking link, menu links and up to date images can easily be added or updated. This will greatly increase your online presence when potential customers are searching for the next place to visit.
Consistency is key
No matter where customers find your business online, whether it’s through your own website, OTA’s or on your social media profiles, your message across these platforms must be consistent.
Potential customers want to read all about you and your business and flick through up to date images that promote various aspects of your business. Content and images should portray your business in a positive light, with standard introduction and description text, current photography and working booking links throughout all contributing to your successful online presence.
A “Book Your Table” or “Book Now” button should be available on every page, and the booking process should be as easy as possible to complete.
Platforms – Once you have decided on the platforms that you want to use to showcase your business, learn as much as you can about each platform. Most have special features and offers to help to make your profile more visible.
Consistency – When writing any content for your website, profiles or social media try to write in the same tense and use the same terminology. Good quality photos can mean the difference between people clicking on your listing or passing you by.
In association with Boothwood Ltd we have created a selection of Design and Marketing options to support your business.
If you are unsure where to start we would recommend a Morning review and tidy up so we can understand where your business sits online before offering our recommendations.