Interview: “How Yvonne Schnoor seized the opportunity and embraced hotel marketing during the pandemic”

Interview: “How Yvonne Schnoor seized the opportunity and embraced hotel marketing during the pandemic”

Interview: “How Yvonne Schnoor seized the opportunity and embraced hotel marketing during the pandemic”

“What can I do to increase my online visibility for my guests after the pandemic?” Yvonne Schnoor, owner of the boutique BnB Cortijo El Sarmiento in Andalusia, understood the crisis as an opportunity. Together with her husband, she took advantage of the lockdown and completely changed her hotel marketing from A to Z. “Now is the time to become more visible to our international guests after the re-start.” Yvonne gives insights into what motivated her and what she did for her hotel marketing in this interview.

Seize-the-opportunity-to-embrace-hotel-marketing-during-a-pandemic

Can you describe your situation at the beginning of the corona crisis? What was your occupancy level then? What was the outlook for the coming season?

At the beginning of the corona crisis, we were still relatively relaxed about the entire situation. Our occupancy rate had been really good the year before. The outlook for the new season in terms of revenue was excellent. We were well prepared and were looking forward to a great 2020 season.

What went through your mind when you knew the true scale of the crisis?

Well, at the beginning of the pandemic, we admittedly took the whole thing rather lightly and said: “Oh well, at least we now have time to get to grips with our marketing”. There were actually a lot of things that we’d always wanted to do but had never managed to do for time reasons. At the time, in my naivety, I thought I could just do a couple of adjustments here and there before the guests would return. But then came the day X, when we gradually realised that this whole thing was here to stay and would take much longer… That we were actually facing a proper crisis. Back then, no one addressed it as a crisis! The thoughts I had were probably more like “Oh dear, something’s going terribly wrong here. This isn’t good at all!”

Yvonne Schnoor ist Inhaberin des Boutiqiue BnBs Cortijo El Sarmiento in Andalusien.
Yvonne Schnoor, Owner of the Boutique BnB Cortijo El Sarmiento

How long did it take you to get over the initial shock?

It didn’t take long for me to digest the shock, because I am not that kind of person who wallows in a moment of shock for long. We were fairly quick in drawing up a plan which set out the next course of action for the months to come. Fortunately, we were fully aware of what actually was at sixes and sevens. In terms of marketing, there was a LOT, so we were able to say relatively quickly: “Okay, this is going to take longer than expected, but we’ll be able to conduct an entire redesign of the website and set up our marketing from scratch”.

How would you describe your marketing activities before Covid-19 hit us?

Before the crisis, our marketing activities were actually limited to social media. For instance, Facebook and Instagram were used on a fairly regular basis. We sent out a newsletter once a month when I actually found the time to do it.

Additionally, I wrote blog articles from time to time. In hindsight, we published them without any sense or reason: they were neither keyword optimised nor were they structured in any way. Hence, the readability was very poor and I guess they were actually more of an imposition for every potential reader.

Had you originally planned to invest in your hotel marketing in 2020?

No, we hadn’t planned to invest in our hotel marketing originally. At the beginning of the pandemic, we thought we could get away with just a few minor adjustments. But as the crisis had a growing impact on all of our lives and we had to admit that our website, too, was one ginormous crisis. It didn’t take us long to realise: we can’t do it on our own! We need help. So we decided that we needed to invest more despite the miserable outlook.

Our website was a whole crisis! It didn’t take us long to realise: we can’t do it on our own! We need help.

Yvonne Schnoor

What was the catalyst behind your decision to step up your hotel marketing?

We just wanted to have a perfect website with content that would make it easier for us to use for social media and for our newsletters. And, it goes without saying, we wanted to give us a decisive edge on the market in terms of visibility as soon as the crisis is over.

We wanted to give us a decisive edge on the market in terms of visibility as soon as the crisis is over.

Yvonne Schnoor

Not sure where to start or are you feeling overwhelmed with hotel marketing for your accommodation? My complete hotel marketing guide is happy to help.

So how exactly did you change your hotel marketing?

For a start, we booked a comprehensive online course. In this course, we learned about website optimisation and Search Engine Optimisation. Moreover, the course included how to write. I mean how to write good texts that actually get read. Apart from that, we learned how to smartly and purposefully distribute the content on the website for newsletters and social media.

What other plans have you got on your agenda?

First of all, we want to carry out our marketing plan persistently. Our sparkly new website is now online. It’s available in three languages to provide a nice booking experience for our international guests. In addition, we’ve got many blog articles planned. As a result, some articles have already been published in the corresponding languages.

Next, a corresponding content plan for social media is already waiting in the wings. In addition, we’ve completely redesigned our newsletter. We know that consistency is key and we really want to keep up with showing up and posting consistently. 

We know that consistency is key and we really want to keep up with showing up and posting consistently.

Yvonne Schnoor

The next step is to make it into the press. It’s quite clear that tourism and the way we travel will change dramatically in the long term. We’ve thought a lot about this and have collected many ideas. We think it would be quite interesting and good to get a foot in the door and to give it a go.

Looking back, what was the last year like for you? What feelings did you encounter? What developments did you go through?

That’s a good question. Looking back, the year 2020, naturally, had its ups and downs. I think we managed quite well in the end. We worked very focused and determinedly on our tasks.

However, we experienced many very dark moments, obviously. For instance, moments in which we didn’t know why on earth we were doing this. There were moments full of doubt. And these moments continue to resurface every now and then because we still don’t know when we will be able to re-open. That the re-start will come eventually – of that we are 100% sure!

Our feelings have literally been a rollercoaster ride. But we’ve made a terrific step in our personal development! We acquired more new knowledge and skills in 2020 than ever before in our entire lives. Above all, we met a whole lot of great people – all participants in this course – with whom we will continue to work together in the future. As a result, very valuable cooperations have derived from the crisis. So with hindsight, we can say it was worth all the hard work and worth every single penny. And we are super chuffed about the outcome.

How do you assess the 2021 season?

As far as we are concerned, 2021 will also be far from perfect. In other words, just as modest. I consider the first half of the year as a non-starter – not a lot is going to happen revenue-wise.

But I see opportunities for the second half of 2021, especially for September, October and November – for the low season so to speak. In the peak season from July – August we expect more Spanish guests to come and stay with us. However, we expect the inner-European tourism to pick up again during the late summer months – perhaps with small restrictions here and there.

We consider ourselves lucky to have such big, spacious grounds. There’s ample space for our guests to retreat to. So we can relax a bit more about it than in a big hotel where a large number of people have to move around in a very confined space!

More about Yvonne and her boutique BnB Cortijo El Sarmiento

Der malerische Pool gehört zur traumhaften Anlage des Adult-Only BnB Cortijo El Sarmiento
The beautiful Boutique BnB Cortijo El Sarmiento in Mojácar, Andalusia

The Cortijo El Sarmiento in Andalusia, Spain, is a very unique place – just as unique as the transformation it went through to become the picturesque boutique BnB it is today. “The house found us!” says Yvonne Schnoor, who runs the boutique BnB together with her husband, Carsten.

Yvonne fulfilled a childhood dream with the old country estate. “In our Adults-Only BnB in the south of Spain, it’s entirely up to the guest: retreat to the pool with a good read and listen to the birds and crickets on the terrace with its accompanying large garden? Admire the old olive and orange trees and bougainvillea on a walk through the garden? Chat with other guests over a glass of wine paired with scrumptious homemade paella? Or would you rather prefer a massage?

“You’re very welcome to find out more about the beautiful boutique BnB, Cortijo El Sarmiento, and its hosts, Yvonne and Carsten Schnoor, on their website.

Hotel Marketing: the complete guide to get more direct bookings

Hotel Marketing: the complete guide to get more direct bookings

Hotel Marketing the complete guide to more direct bookings

Hotel Marketing: the complete guide to getting more direct bookings

When looking at the plethora of different possibilities for hotel marketing, overwhelm can easily overtake you. Without even batting an eye. Especially if the number of times you had to deal with marketing can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Picture this: you enter the term “hotel marketing” into the Google search bar. Scanning the search results (SERPs), you quickly realise that you miss the forest for the trees. Whoosh! There it is – the wave of self-doubt has washed over you: “Why should you of all people master marketing for your accommodation?”

I know why: because every little step counts and contributes to the big picture. This guide is meant to help you understand hotel marketing as such and to work out your marketing strategy. “What’s the point? I’m listed on all OTAs.” you might say. But after a year of lockdown and stagnation in 2020, 2021 is the year for you to increase your online visibility for potential guests to receive more direct bookings and be less reliant on OTAs.

And: your revenues will thank you for having to pay less commission to OTAs, too.

Why is hotel marketing crucial for your accommodation

Hotel marketing includes all measures to market your accommodation. Marketing has the objective to make your accommodation more visible and known through suitable marketing channels. The aim is to inspire potential (and existing) guests to spend their holiday at your holiday home. You want your occupancy rate as well as your revenues to increase with more direct bookings by paying less commission.

You’ve probably heard it before: the amount of time spent online is increasing constantly. Not only are people online in their home office, but they tend to spend more and more time surfing the net in their spare time. In times of mandatory mask-wearing, contact restrictions and closed shops and restaurants, people are surfing and shopping online from the comfort of their home more than ever. In fact, this trend is expected to continue even after the pandemic.

And it’s no different with travel. People try to satisfy their unabated desire to travel online. This unbroken trend has been evident for many years: in the last 10 years, the number of people in Germany who reverted to the internet for information before a trip has more than doubled. In 2019, surfers most frequently searched for travel destinations (21 million), price comparisons (20.3 million) and accommodation (19.5 million). 61% of all holiday trips of one night or more were booked online – and the trend is upwards.

Searched-content-before-holiday
Content travellers search for before their trip

What does that mean for you and your hotel marketing

To put it bluntly: if you want to stand out from the crowds with your property, hotel marketing is vital for your online visibility. It’s not only suitable for big players, such as the big and well-known hotel chains. Quite the contrary is the case: hotel marketing is key to success to accommodations of all shapes and sizes, be it bed & breakfasts, small hotels with charm, boutique hotels, guesthouses, holiday homes or flats. If you want to be perceived by lookers in the flood of online offers, you’ve got to put your action gloves on and start to make a difference. All the more so when the travel market opens up again. So, let’s do this!

Why do so little private hoteliers see the potential of hotel marketing for their hotel

Many owners of holiday properties rely on the major online travel agencies (OTAs), such as Expedia, HomeToGo, Tripadvisor or Booking.com, to market their accommodation. Granted, these platforms have an enormous reach and market power. However, a holiday home totally lacks personality and disappears in the huge crowd of different offers. Although standardised search masks may make looking for holiday homes, B&Bs, etc. easy for the user, they are completely replaceable. The user quickly clicks from one search result to the next.

Property owners have to pay dearly for this market power: the commission for a booking via an OTA can amount to 20% of the room rate. A booking via their own website, on the other hand, amounts to only 5%. The effort per guest is the same, but if they have booked with an OTA, it puts a dent in the owners’ finances in the long run.

Hotel marketing increases your exposure and direct bookings

So, I’d like to warmly recommend that you don’t just leave hotel marketing to the big hotel chains. You too can do something for your accommodation’s visibility (and, hence, for your occupancy). But why are so many owners intimidated by this subject and would rather stay put?

  • Many feel overwhelmed by the multitude of possibilities and don’t know where to start.
  • Many believe that they won’t be able to win against the large competitors and, hence, won’t even give it a go.
  • Many simply don’t find the time in day-to-day business or set themselves unrealistic time goals and eventually give up feeling frustrated.

How to increase your visibility for your guests with hotel marketing

Let’s get one thing straight out of the way: don’t expect quick overnight success. If you want to become visible for your potential guests, it takes time, patience and continuity. Just keep in mind that every little helps. Therefore, it’s best to start with smaller goals.

Travelling is closely entwined with emotions. It’s about experiencing many happy moments and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Try to capture and spark these emotions, such as joy and longing, in every little piece of your communication. Also, focus on your guests’ needs and be authentic and approachable.

I know that this may be too much of a challenge after having gone through such a crisis: but if you feel you’re struggling with something, simply outsource this activity. If it’s only slowing you down, it’s costing you valuable time and frustration will quickly kick in. Believe me, it will definitely pay off.

The big 6 of your hotel marketing

The internet or digital media take up a large part of people’s everyday lives. Travellers aren’t spared from this trend either. Online sources are becoming more and more important. The good thing about that is that your hotel marketing can reap the rewards. Especially since you can do many things without having to pay a great deal of money.

Top5-sources-of-inspiration-for-holiday
The Top 5 sources of inspiration travellers go to for their holiday planning

The following points are the pillars of your hotel marketing:

  • Hotel website
  • Mobile hotel marketing
  • SEO
  • Blog
  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing

1) Your hotel website

Your website is the lynchpin of your marketing activities. All other activities, which I will discuss below, focus on attracting the surfer to your site. This is why you should definitely start with a website for your accommodation.

You might already have a website. Brilliant! But is it up to date? If it is, then you can give yourself a good pat on the back.

But if your site is a DIY-site, where you dabbled with some HTML-and CSS-coding from your “Websites for Dummies” book, you can be sure: this occasional looker has turned his back on you for good! Chances are good that you’ll see him Never. Ever. Again.

What’s important for your hotel website

Your hotel website should focus on communicating with the website visitor and building a relationship. The traveller must feel welcome and be picked up directly after crossing your virtual doorstep. The guest experience starts before the actual stay on your website.

Therefore, your website should make your guests and what awaits them in your property a priority. Provide a pleasant and straightforward booking experience. The latter is usually the deciding factor to turn lookers into bookers.

The key elements for your hotel website:

  • appealing images that are compressed in image size
  • meaningful, high-quality texts that inspire and wow the visitor
  • clear menu structure
  • connection to a booking system with direct booking option (“Book Now” button)
  • fast loading speed
  • responsive design

A good hotel website will represent the hotel authentically and features a streamlined booking process.

The above-mentioned points all add to the user experience, which is rewarded by Google with a better ranking.

2) Mobile hotel marketing

According to Statista, 3.5 billion people worldwide used a smartphone in 2020. In 2021, this number is estimated to increase to 3.8 billion.

Users increasingly prefer to get information and book on their smartphone or tablet. It’s no different when it comes to holidays. Last year, 49% of German-speaking travellers obtained information BEFORE their trip on their mobile device; 23% made a booking on their mobile device.

Hotel-Marketing-Use-of-mobile-internet-before-during-trip
The ever growing importance of mobile marketing is worth considering for your hotel marketing, too

This is why Google recently decided that the mobile version of a website counts as a ranking factor. To put it bluntly: if you don’t have a mobile-optimised (responsive) page by March 2021, the website of your accommodation won’t exist for Google anymore and, hence, will not be eligible for its ranking.

For your accommodation, this translates into: a responsive website is a prerequisite if you want to appear in Google’s search results and reach new guests worldwide.

These points are crucial for a flawless user experience on your hotel website

  • the information should be immediately visible without having to zoom in, zoom out or scroll – regardless of the device used
  • the font should be easy to read
  • crisp, high-quality content instead of endless waffle
  • consistent and coherent colour scheme (preferably in your brand colours)
  • clear navigation
  • as little pop-ups as possible
  • available click-to-call function
  • integration of Google My Business and Google Maps to be found more easily
  • recognition of returning guests: forms are filled in automatically
  • simple and mobile-friendly booking process

Google will reward you for the user-friendliness and clarity after acknowledging these points.

47% of travel searches were conducted on mobile phones in Europe in 2020 and the importance of mobile internet has been increasing for years – with no end to it. So it’s super important for your website to be optimised for mobile devices.

3) SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

For many, search engine optimisation (SEO) is a closed book – and very understandably so. It’s too complicated, too intangible and also subject to constant change. Believe me, I can tell you a thing or two about it.

But following the four basic principles of SEO is well-worth the effort in order to positively influence your ranking in the long term. “But why should I go to all that trouble?” you may ask. Because, in order to get more traffic on your website, your goal from an SEO perspective should be to rank on page one of the search results.

1. Identify and use the right keywords

When looking for the right keywords, you should put yourself in the travellers’ shoes. What would they look for when planning to go on holiday in your region? What terms do they type into the Google search box? This requires a bit of brainstorming, but it’s definitely worth it. You don’t have to find ONE keyword, just jott down 10 different keywords for a start.

Once you’ve created your list, it’s time to add the keywords to your website content. Not all keywords on one page, but distributed in accordance with the page topic. You should take the following elements into account:

  • Page title
  • Main heading and subheadings
  • Continuous text
  • Used images:
    • Filename
    • ALT attribute
    • Image title

Featuring your keywords in the abovementioned elements will help Google to recognise your hotel website.

2. Create a „Google My Business” account for your accommodation

A Google My Business listing is another positive ranking factor for your hotel website. It makes your hotel website instantly accessible to travellers searching on Google and bundles all important contact information, Google Maps location and images of your accommodation that you can upload here. The listing combines Google search and Google Maps. The great thing is that the traveller has all information relevant to him in an instant. In addition, guests can leave a rating for your accommodation here. And the best bit: it’s completely free and has a positive effect on the ranking of your hotel website.

Having your own Google My Business listing is a simple, free yet effective way to make it easier for travellers to find you. However, make sure to keep your listing up to date. News, such as offers or events, and new blog articles pictures of your accommodation should also be shared via your listing.

3. Use Google Hotel Ads

Google Hotel Ads are also effective and the most popular measure to get noticed on Google. By clicking on the ad, the traveller can immediately begin the booking process. However, as with your website, ads require  a sound knowledge about the keywords used by travellers as it will only appear when travellers are searching for something that meets the specifics of your property.

Creating and placing the ad is free of charge. However, a mindful selection of keywords is pivotal for its success. Only when the traveller clicks on the ad and comes to your website do you have to pay for the ad. The price (the Cost per Click – CPC) depends on the keyword, the position and the quality.

Ads are always listed at the top of the search results. This makes it easier for travellers to find your property. They contain all the important information a searcher needs to make a booking directly on your site.

4. Create high-quality, inspiring content

Travellers love high-quality, inspiring content that invites them to stay. That’s why Google loves them, too. Avoid long boring blah di blahs all about you. Focus on understanding the traveller and addressing their needs in your copy. Are they looking for relaxation without children’s noise in an adult-only hotel? Or is it the family where the parents want to spend time together while the children are having a good time at the children’s entertainment? Reflect these needs you identified in your images and texts.

SEO is a long-term process that needs to be checked and readjusted time and time again. This applies to keywords as well as to updating your content.

4) Hotel blog

A blog is THE free way to increase your visibility in search results. Here you can take topics that travellers are looking for before their holiday in your region and turn them into a blog article on your website. This way, your hotel website becomes a source of inspiration for things to do in your region. Remember to always provide high-quality content for your potential guests. If you’re able to answer their search intentions in your blog article, and they happily click through further articles on your website, Google will also reward this with a better ranking.

Possible topics for your hotel blog

  • Your region
  • Possible attractions, activities and trips
  • Your staff
  • Location-specific events
  • Recipes
  • News
  • Saisonal topics

I bet you’re just bubbling over with ideas.

As I said: you can attract potential guests to your website with high-quality content. Wouldn’t it be great, if you had a way to keep reminding these potential guests of your property? I’m sure you’ve already guessed: there is a solution! A blog article is also the perfect opportunity to offer a free downloadable freebie (e.g. a guide to places of interest in your region) that’s in line with the topic.

Let me tell you how to make these blog articles and freebies public and increase your tribe of (potential) guests that book directly.

5) Social Media

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in our lives. Scrolling through one’s own feed on Instagram or Facebook has long since become an integral part of our everyday life. People want to communicate and satisfy their needs via social media. It is about conveying personality, authenticity and values. So it is an excellent platform to attract the attention of travellers.

Most-inspiring-content-for-travellers
Which content types inspire travellers when planning their holidays?

Especially for travel-related content, social media is perfect for building and maintaining relationships because it nourishes your guests’ imagination. Plus, it’s never been easier to engage with potential and existing guests.

Here too, your offer on social media should address travellers’ needs. They become familiar with your accommodation with all its amenities and you as a host and your team. It’s also great for sharing special offers. On the other hand, existing guests can share their holiday (experience) at your property with their friends and followers – kindling the interest of new potential guests…

How important is social media for travellers

  • 52% of social media users said that holiday photos of their friends inspire them to new holiday ideas
  • 76% share their holiday photos on social media
  • During holiday research, 55% like pages related to their planned trip.

Let’s get back to your blog articles. If you are now wondering what on earth you should post on Instagram and the like, I have you covered. In addition to the topics already mentioned above, Social Media is the perfect way to prepare your blog articles like little tidbits in several posts and to “tease” the readers. If they like the little treat, they will help themselves to more from the buffet: your website.

6) Email Marketing

Are you one of those hoteliers who only sends emails to guests to confirm a booking? But there’s an awful lot more that a newsletter can do. It actually has great potential to increase your direct bookings: with a newsletter you can stick in your subscribers’ minds. Subscribers to your newsletter are usually people who have already stayed with you.

BUT, and here we’ve come full circle: remember your blog article and your freebie? The reader can only download the above-mentioned freebie from your blog article after entering his or her email address. It’s a win-win situation, so to speak. The reader is happy about the freebie and you are happy about another newsletter subscriber. And in this way, you reach not only loyal guests but also continuously establish a growing tribe of potential guests with your newsletter.

The-circle-of-Hotel-Marketing
Hotel marketing helps you to increase your visibility and reach and to get more direct bookings

A newsletter in your hotel marketing: suitable topics

It seems reasonable to use a newsletter only as a means of announcing special deals. But quite frankly: who wants his inbox to be constantly flooded with super deals? Let’s face it: your newsletter will most likely be deleted or you’ll sell your room at a low price. So constantly offering deals is also problematic from a revenue point of view.

A useful newsletter aims at inspiring, arousing desires and binding both existing and potential guests to you. This could be news about new blog articles, new freebies, news about your property or your area. Seasonal topics and a look behind the scenes are also suitable for a newsletter.

These 3 questions structure your hotel marketing

Now that you know the basic possibilities of hotel marketing, you’re probably all fired up to start right away. But, precisely because the possibilities are so diverse and comprehensive, it’s very easy to get bogged down in details. Therefore, you should economize on your time (which is limited) and energy (which is also limited in the running business) and not just start haphazardly. After all, starting without a plan only wastes precious energy. You’ll soon be frustrated because you don’t see the desired results.

3 essential things to clarify before you start

  • What do you want to achieve? Only a well-defined goal can map out a plan for your activities.
  • Do you know your guests? Only then can your communication cater to and inspire your potential guests. So what does your pet guest look like?
  • What’s your brand message? What matters to you, what’s your WHY? With your brand message you set yourself apart from other properties in your region. Potential guests can see if they identify with you. Your brand message helps you to choose the right words and emotions that authentically convey your values and the essence of your brand to your potential customers. In the long run, you create awareness for your brand.

Oh, by the way: don’t wince at the word “brand message” because you can only come up with the big chains in this context. It’s perfectly fine for small hotels and individual properties to have their own personal brand.

3 mistakes that will make you quit

I hope this guide has given you many hotel marketing ideas for your accommodation. Now it’s time to get down to business. However, I recommend that you really address the above-mentioned core questions first.

This is how it’ll all work out:

  • Don’t overexert yourself. We tend to want to do everything at once. Let go of perfectionism. Engage with the subject, develop a strategy and take it one step at a time. “Done is better than perfect.”
  • Don’t do everything in one chunk. Marketing requires a lot of patience. Especially when it comes to visibility. It’s good to know that every little bit helps. And above all:” Rome wasn’t built in a day either.”
  • Don’t start without a strategy. No strategy, no goal. No goal, no focus, but all the more wasted coverage. Your valuable energy and costs go pop. (I can actually hear it popping from here!) That would be such a shame, wouldn’t it?

Therefore, I advise you to get your website up and running. Bring it up to date in terms of user-friendliness and SEO. Make sure to include a booking possibility. Because if your website can’t keep up with your marketing, all your other marketing activities will come to nothing.

Keep at it, stay consistent, and your visibility will increase considerably.

5 Benefits of a multilingual website & content

5 Benefits of a multilingual website & content

5 Benefits of a multilingual website & content

Benefits-of-multilingual-websitesw

Reaching out to a greater audience has never been easier. We’re living in times when information is at people’s fingertips. A large amount of people is connected 24/7 and consumers have adapted to the digital world. They expect the same from travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, and other businesses in the tourism sector. The key to success lies in increasing your visibility for foreign guests by providing compelling content. In other words, showing up with a multilingual website and content in a sector depending on internationality is a prerequisite.

Here you will find 5 benefits of a multilingual website & content.

#1 New markets

The aim of accessing untapped markets is to reach a whole new set of customers and thus increase sales.  But doing your homework in advance is essential:

  • assess market players and market conditions
  • overcome language barriers to communicate in your audiences’ languages

However, poorly translated content can turn your splashy entrance to a new market into a dent in your reputation that might be hard to restore. The key is avoiding linguistic pitfalls through proper localisation. This is where localisation comes into play. The content is not only translated but also adapted to the culture and traditions of the target market.

#2 Diversification

Another reason for international expansion can be diversification. The aim here is to diversify assets and to reduce your dependency on a single domestic market. As a consequence, diversified market presences allow you to better offset global market fluctuations. For instance, companies with international operations can offset negative growth in one market by operating successfully in another. Different markets hold a strong potential for certain offers of yours. People of culture A might not be the biggest fan of a specific offer, but people of culture B might love it!

#3 Credibility

Communication is all about building trust. It is crucial to know that customer service already starts when a potential customer or guest visits your online presence.

Imagine a family of four sitting at the dinner table and discussing where they want to spend their next holiday. Everyone is excited and they brainstorm possible destinations. In the end, several destinations are thrown in the pot. The parents go online afterwards and start looking for possible options.

Anticipation starts right here!

The parents will decide depending on their budget, the amenities and attractions that will make their stay worthwhile and memorable. But it also depends on how they experience your website! If it’s hard to navigate or confusing, they might be put off immediately and go for another option.

A holiday can be broken down into 5 stages of travel:

  • booking
  • arrival
  • the actual stay
  • departure
  • back home

A traveller’s emotions vary significantly while going through the different stages. They experience excitement peaks during lead-up and arrival and feel fulfilled once they’ve returned home.

The 5 stages of travel
The 5 stages of travel

So, sparking the customer’s interest when they visit your website is essential. The user-experience you provide on your website and the amenities you offer play a crucial part in the decision-making process. Do you already have a multilingual website? How much effort did you invest in the translation? In other words, has it been translated professionally or quickly with an online translation tool? Is it correct in terms of spelling and grammar or is it full of errors? Not only will this make a poor impression, but it will also make the customer feel less valued.

“Communication is all about building trust.”

TOPHOTEL.news

Communication plays a vital role in building trust among your customers. This is even more important during the corona pandemic. Attaching the utmost importance to rebuilding trust and instilling a sense of safety and security in your customers is fundamental.

So, let us dive into customer behaviour with regard to country- and language-appropriate content. A survey of language preferences conducted by the Harvard Business Review revealed that the success of your online customer experience is determined by how quickly and painlessly guests find country- and language-appropriate content.

“How quickly and painlessly guests find country- and language-appropriate content, will determine the success of your online customer experience.”

Harvard Business Review

These are the survey’s results:

Hence, what do we learn from these results?

Customers want to get an impression of what they can expect from a stay at your accommodation on your website. Your competitors’ offer might meet the same requirements as yours. But maybe they also went that extra mile and offer their website in various languages. Which website, do you think, will catch the looker’s attention and will lead them to stay longer?

#4 Increased Conversion

Providing a multilingual website with the native language of your target audience will increase your direct bookings. Visitors will not only be attracted by their search results, but will also spend more time on your website. Consequently, this will boost your online visibility as well as sales since it is a positive ranking factor for Google. Find out more about how to increase your visiblity and direct bookings with my complete guide for hotel marketing.

I know I’m repeating myself here, but translating  your content into another language with an online tool is one thing. However, attaching the same importance to the translation as to the original copy will make all the difference:

Another study revealed that the number one factor for purchasing a holiday online is the “excitement tourists experience while booking their next trip”. The use of emotional and creative language in their native tongue is the winning factor.

Wouldn’t it be great if a looker turned into a booker because your content hooked them? They felt welcome, understood, and most importantly, were in joyful anticipation about their next holiday?

#5 Image boost

Providing a multilingual website and content for your international guests not increases your online visibility. It also leads to increased engagement with your audience on your social media channels. Your followers get to know you and your values and a trusted relationship can form in the long run.

Another great benefit of multilingual content is the improved communication with your guests. Bridging language barriers for your guests makes them feel valued. They appreciate you going that extra mile to make them feel welcome. People are much more inclined to book with you, if you provide a convenient booking process for them.

Turn former guests into brand advocates

The holiday is over and your guests have returned home. They’re full of happy memories and everything went to their complete satisfaction during the holiday. Chances are good, that they’ll spread the word to friends and share their experiences online. This opens the doors to new potential guests.

Be international in an international industry

If you don’t think that translating your content is important, consider the following: unlike some other industries, the tourism sector operates in almost every corner of the world and in every language possible. In an age where being online 24/7 is regarded as normal, connecting with your target audience by speaking their language is eminent for you as a tourism business. This is something that can only be achieved by a translation expert specialising in tourism and hospitality who is able to apply the necessary language skills and cultural knowledge.