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How to Promote Your Hotel Online for Free or on a Shoestring Budget.
By 4Hoteliers.com & hotelscombined.com
Wednesday, 21st May 2008
 
It has been said that the internet is the best value when it comes to hotel marketing -

It has also been said that the amount of money which any hotel can invest in internet marketing is limited by its total marketing budget.

Nonetheless it is valuable to note that at times you really do not need a budget to market your hotel. This article gives Hoteliers 4 simple steps to promoting your hotel online for free or on a shoestring budget.

1. Advance your organic search listings

First and foremost Hoteliers should aim to maximize the benefits of being found by search engines such as Google and Yahoo in the organic listings and ensure the hotel website is ranking well for content that ultimately leads to increased traffic to the site.

There are several benefits of organic search listing. For example you do not pay for clicks to your hotel website, users may more readily trust organic listings and statistics indicate search tends to generate a higher conversation rate.

So how do I improve my hotel’s organic search listings you may ask? Start out by identifying your target keywords that will drive traffic to your website. Gather data on performing keywords through Google’s free keyword tool.

To take a look at Google’s free keyword tool go to www.adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal .

After determining which keywords are converting and appropriate for your hotel website commence optimizing your content to include these keywords.

From click through to conversion you need to constantly watch the performance of your hotel website to ensure that you are being found by the widest possible variety of search engines and that the traffic is doing what it should be doing converting visitors into guests.

Next devise a link strategy which consist of identifying and targeting relevant sites for quality inbound links. Link popularity is one of the best ways to quantifiably and independently measure your website's online awareness and overall visibility. Simply put, link popularity refers to the total number of links or "votes" that a search engine has found for your website.

Did you know that you can install complete traffic tracking and reporting solution and it won’t cost you a cent? Google Analytics is a free package provided by Google. It has easy to follow instructions and set-up guide. Check it out now! www.google.com/analytics

2. Improve your website design

Give your hotel website a makeover.

Today’s traveler has varied information needs for example a map and directions to your hotel and taking a glimpse inside your hotel via means of a photo gallery, virtual tour, videos and reviews. Not to forget people are not time rich these days and want a straightforward user-friendly booking process.

These days there are amazing tools and systems which can help you redesign your website or do any other work which you do not specialize in - all for pennies. One of these tools is www.Elance.com - it’s a website where you can post your project requirements and dozens of professionals from all over the world will submit their bids for you to review.

You can choose the appropriate professional on the basis of reviews given by their previous customers. To redesign your entire hotel website on average it will only cost $300. Make professionals compete for your business!

3. Advertise your hotel

Have advertisers or media buying agencies ever told you that you need to spend money to make money?

This concept is not always true, for example there is a hotel website out there which offers free hotel advertising. From individual hotels to large multi-national hotel chains, HotelsCombined.com offers free accommodation listings to Hoteliers allowing you to promote your hotel to over 20 million customers worldwide each year. You can start here: http://hotels.hotelscombined.com/Signup.aspx

HotelsCombined.com is the only site of such magnitude offering free advertising to individual properties. It seems that larger hotel chains are much faster in finding such opportunities.

See Peppers Pier Resort listing for example:

www.hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Peppers_Pier_Resort_Hotel_Hervey_Bay.htm

Do a rate search to see how their direct link appears in rates table – all for free!

4. Get into social marketing

Hoteliers get social. On the social Web, you can’t buy message spread. 

While My Space and Facebook are attracting a lot of attention, guests are also using blogs, forums and other social media/networks to discuss your hotel. Guest review and trip sharing websites also include Trip Advisor, Yahoo Travel and TravBuddy. What's more guests are also placing their holiday photos on Flickr.

Your goal as a Hotelier should not be to ignore social marketing but rather participate in guest discussions to influence the social Web participants who are important to you.

For example, imagine someone writes a negative forum post about your hotel. Now, imagine how much damage is going to be done if this post appears in Google when someone types your hotel name.

Hoteliers should constantly monitor search engines and reply to such posts whenever possible. Once again, Google makes this easier by letting anyone to set up an alert, so you don’t miss a thing!

4Hoteliers.com offers a number of cost-effective, targeted advertising options.  View the links below:
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