20 Jun 2011

Standing on the shoulders of Giants

The Internet is awfully big. There are nearly 250 million websites, 150 million blogs and about 1.8 billion users worldwide all searching for useful information on all of these sites.

There are about 247 billion emails sent - every day! Something like 1 million blog articles published every day. Millions of Tweets every hour, a gazillion apps downloaded etc etc etc. (NB these facts were found HERE).

The successful marketing of your hotel is of course totally dependent upon people finding your website. If they can't find your site amongst the millions of other websites how will you ever get enough bookings?

The Internet is SO big that you might be wondering how your own website will ever be found! Clearly it is not easy however to paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton you will achieve more by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Whether or not people find your own website, they will certainly find lots of information about you on other Internet sites and hotel website marketing comes down to understanding that your success will be governed by how consumers find and evaluate your business on websites other than your own. Some argue that there is a Pareto or power law ratio at work here - 80:20. That is to say that c80% of the online bookings you receive will be as a direct consequence of your property being found on other websites - on-line travel agencies, destination websites, customer review and social media sites.

Typically these websites are run by the giants of the tourism industry ie Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Flickr. There are others but if you can master your relationship with these particular 'giant' websites then you will be going a long way toward increasing traffic to your website, increasing direct bookings and improving profitability. None of the above charge on-line booking commissions but all are hugely influential to your attempts to generate more business.

As with all my articles I concentrate on what 'free' options are available to you or what represent the best value. Fortunately all of the Internet giants offer a great deal of free stuff and much of it will definitely help you. Over the next few weeks I am planning to look at each of these global brands and give some tips on how your hotel can leverage their power to drive more customers to your business.

In the meantime I've added below a link to a little Flash app (which is in constant development), developed by the very clever Gary Hayes showing how active & dynamic the Social Web, Mobile Industry and Game Business is. A fascinating visualisation of how quickly things move in Internet marketing today.