ITB 2020 Special Reporting
How Confident Are You (Really) in Your Guest Acquisition Strategy?
By Lance Abbrederis
Wednesday, 7th August 2019

How often do you examine your guest acquisition strategy? For hoteliers, the pace of change isn’t slowing: from market disruptions to changing shopping habits and the impact of new technology, hoteliers are contending with dynamic forces that are changing how guests make decisions.

Customer acquisition strategies can be slower to change, especially when some of the world’s best businesses succeeded for decades just by having one. But those were the days before internet, mobile devices and innovative thinking fueled rapid disruption in hospitality and other industries.

Quoting Rich Horwath, Skip Prichard points to evolving customer needs and changes in value perception due to competition as two key moments when old strategies have got to be reevaluated.

At the same time, marketing software firm Hubspot notes that the cost of acquiring new customers has increased by over 50 percent, at the same time that consumers trust brands less than before.

Faced with these challenges, it’s critical that you regularly reexamine all aspects of your guest acquisition strategy to hone your approach – from making sure metasearch providers directly connect to your inventory, to maximizing online exposure via search engines and other channels, to optimizing your website.,

It’s a process that takes time, and one that should be repeated not just annually, but even quarterly as consumer behavior evolves and your competition adjusts.

All of these granular details are important to accomplishing your overall goal: driving more qualified guests to your website for information and shopping, and to your booking engine for purchase. There’s no time like the present to review your guest acquisition process and perfect it – now, and for the future. Use our Acquisition Assessment to see if your current plan is including all the elements your brand needs for a winning guest acquisition strategy.

Evaluating this plan regularly will help ensure you’re targeting the right customer at the right time with the right message. And by reviewing those granular aspects of audience acquisition – including visibility, booking engine reach and guest data personalization – you can be sure you’re keeping up with what travelers expect today.

Here are a few questions you’ll want to consider before taking the assessment:

  • Do you run campaigns that address all phases of the customer’s journey, from inspiration to conversion?
  • Are future guests able to find useful information, see photos of your property, and complete a booking without going to another website – or switching to another device?
  • Do you have your booking engine positioned as a bookable option for metasearch providers (Google Hotel ads, TripAdvisor, etc.)?
  • Are you using guest data to create personalized offers?
  • Are you ensuring top placement on search results for any hotel brand-based searches via paid search and search engine optimization?
  • When it comes to SEM, are you bidding on your brand keywords to help drive traffic and increase your direct bookings?

This brief but thorough self-assessment is designed to help you determine whether you have solid tactics in place that need to be honed and perfected, or whether you need to reconsider more details of how you’re reaching guests.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that guest acquisition doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, and that these solutions are always evolving. The tactics listed in our assessment are ones that Sabre’s clients often find successful, and we’ve found that whether you include these components impacts your direct booking success.

Take our free assessment to see if you have all the right components and how you measure up.

Lance Abbrederis is the Director of Digital Strategy, Sabre Hospitality Solutions

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