When Online Loses You Business

By joanne | 28th March | Marketing Ideas, Marketing Skills

The internet is heralded as making it easier for people to buy your products or services.  But, if you get things wrong, your competitors are just a click away.

This is especially true in the hotel industry, where it’s estimated that 85% of bookings are either made or researched online.  In this industry, many people choose to list their accommodation with the large booking agents, such as lastminute.com or late rooms.  But then they pay a significant chunk in commission.

We see so many mistakes in this industry in particular, we thought we’d share some so you can ensure you aren’t making the mistakes – and losing money – in your business:

  • Include your telephone number on the website.  Many people read reviews online now and might want to call you and check out your customer service.  If they can’t find your telephone number easily, they will probably call someone else.
  • Have someone available to answer the telephone.  We waited over a minute this weekend f0r a hotel to answer their phone.  Then we called someone else.
  • Ensure your reception staff know whether they can match internet prices, or not.  (In hotels, most owners would rather you booked direct so they save the commission.)
  • Use a script when you answer the phone, so everyone receives the same level of service.  This also gives you the ability to up-sell additional services and maximise your profit margin.  (This might include dinner on the first night, breakfast, car parking…)
  • Put some decent (recent) photographs on your website.  People want to see what they’re booking and they want images of the rooms where they will stay; not just a single photo of your best room.  (That will simply serve to disappoint them and ensure they never return or recommend you.)

In any business, the internet is often a way of getting new customers to your door.  It’s like a shop window.  They aren’t guaranteed to buy…and they aren’t guaranteed to return or to recommend you.  Just like offline marketing, you have to provide great service, good products and even better after care.  You’re playing the long-game if you look after people well and give them plenty of reasons to buy again.  And that will enable you to reduce your marketing spend in the future.

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