How You Can Stand out from Your Competitors
The holiday market is challenging for all particularly with the advent the large online travel agents such as Booking.com, AirBnB, TripAdvisor and many more dominating the top slots on search engines. Their aim is to make it easy for us to book our holidays, holiday extras, trips and experiences etc. with them.
Whilst some of them are doing that very well it does mean that many wonderful holiday options are not being found as easily as before. Potential guests are not necessarily finding what they are looking for or some of the best holidays and idyllic holiday cottages are just not being found.
So how can you stand out from your competitors, get more bookings and increase your revenues without spending a fortune? Here are some relatively simple and effective ‘Must Do’ marketing actions that can increase your bookings.
1 – Create Engaging & Compelling Content on your Website
Search for your own property on Google and see what it says on your web listings – is it attention grabbing, why would potential guests click on your web links?
Is your website working as hard as it can do? 1st impressions are so important as you have less than 10 seconds to engage a visitor once on your website. Make sure your home page grabs their attention with good content including the highlights of your holiday cottages and of course good quality striking photography.
Can visitors easily navigate to your property information and booking details? Look to inform and inspire potential guests to want to book with you with compelling, useful and interesting content. This can include ‘Great Things to See & Do’, ‘Local Activities’, ‘Pubs and Restaurants in the Area’, ‘Best Beaches’ or ‘Best Dog Walks’ etc. Google has a ‘Freshness Ranking Factor’ and rewards websites for new, fresh and relevant content and imagery.
2 – Google My Business – Claim it & Optimise it
One of the most important actions for 2020!
Have you claimed your business on Google, is it verified? Check that you have a Google My Business Page listing, make sure it is claimed and that your listing is optimised and fully up to date. With almost 90% of organic searches being conducted on Google this is one the most important listings on the web and will help you get found. It is often neglected and forgotten, get it right and you can stand head and shoulders above your competitors in your area.
Update your map and location on your Google Listing. Check your Google Reviews and reply to them all, update your headline photo and post new ones taken recently. Check your web listing, business categories that visitors look for and that your contact details are all correct. Post some new photos as they stand out and are also like web pages and can generate very relevant traffic to your website.
3 – Bring Your Holidays to Life – Tell a Story
People don’t buy what you do, they buy I into how you make themfeel. You need to give them a story to tell, by bringing your holidays to life.
Articulate what your guests can expect when they stay at your holiday cottages. Start by telling a story of what it is like to have their holiday with you. Create an example weekend away at your holiday locations giving them ideas on what they can do when they stay with you. Bring to life what they can expect when they are sitting on the decking or walking along the side of the lake.
Back your story up with some great photos showing off your wonderful views over the countryside. Try the professional ‘chef-in house’ option with the table all beautifully laid out awaiting their arrival or a simmering and steaming hot tub with chilled champagne and sparkling flutes on the side
4 – Evaluate what Listing Websites & Referral Sites are Working for You
Have you checked where your existing business is coming from? Do you know your best sources of new bookings, are bookings up or down via this route? Check your web listings, ensure your description and content is up to date and that the latest photos and images are being shown.
A good way to see how your referral sites are performing is to check your Google Analytics. You can see how many visitors your website gets, where it is coming from, which pages are popular, which are not and how long on average guests stay on you website and most importantly how many book via which referral sites.
5 – Who Are Your Customers & Target Markets?
You probably have a good idea of who your typical customers and ideal customers are but does your marketing target those customers? It is worthwhile just writing down the key reasons why your visitors come to stay with you, particularly those who come back time and time again.
What is it they love about you and your holidays? Your ideal potential customer are likely to be similar to those who have loved staying with you already so target your marketing accordingly.
Why do people visit your area? Examples – Hiking, beaches, countryside, local events and key attractions?
Why would they stay with you? Examples – Pet Friendly, fishing, hot tub, on-site facilities for families, romantic setting, unique features of your holidays?
Once you have defined who your target customers are you can now write your marketing messaging and website accordingly.
Make a Plan, Prioritise, Then Do It
Most of these actions do not costs anything or are inexpensive, all that is needed is a little bit of time. Make a plan, prioritise your actions and then address each one sequentially.
Stand out from the crowd, create engaging content on your website, attract your ideal potential guests and generate new high quality bookings. Make them feel special, watch the 5* reviews roll in and look forward to even more referrals.
Go on, do it and enjoy the results.