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A foreign hotel is a rather specific product for promotion in Russia. The hotel's target audience is usually quite heterogeneous, and methods to promote hotels are rather various. First of all, it's advisable for you both to promote your reservation portal and keep track of you brand presence in Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and Alternative Distribution Systems (ADS). Further, it's no need to reject dealing with the market corporate segment. Read RMAA Group blog about all of this.
Own reservation portal promotion
For a hotel it's always profitable to have its own reservation portal as it excludes any intermediates between you and a customer. In addition, the promotion of your site as a sales channel will be combined with the promotion of your hotel brand and it is valuable in the long-term marketing strategy. The downside of this channel is its relative difficulty in capture of customer: it is easier and more habitually for many people to use GDS/ADS systems. Let's consider principal methods for own reservation portal promotion:
First of all, for promotion in Russia it's preferable to have a website in Russian and promote it by using SEO tools. Your goal is to appear on the first page when a user is searching for a hotel in your country.
An important part of Interment marketing is a contextual advertising which, as we know, exactly hits target audience and will remind users of the interest they showed to the hotel search.
Also, a new tool called an Internet retargeting is ramping up. It is designed to "catch up" users who have already left the site and make the ad more targeted. According to the Eye for Travel portal, 96% of users visiting hotel reservation sites left them without any reservation. Retargeting "marks" with special marks different groups of such users to run a promotional campaign later for each of the groups. For example, one banner will be placed for those who left the site without even looking at the reservation system and a quite different banner will be placed for those who "took off" the last stage of application.
Dealing with opinion leaders and reviews
Customers very often make decision on hotel selection under the influence of reviews of people who have already visited the hotel. That's why it makes sense to put focus on opinion leaders. If some blogger stays in your hotel for a week continuously shooting new videos and telling about strong sides of your hotel - it will be a great advertising for you. Another option: famous people will tell on their social media that they stayed in your hotel and was satisfied with it.
Let's consider examples of blogs dedicated to tourism where surveys of Russian and foreign hotels are published. Here is, for example, Sergey Dolya's blog, who is a traveler and photographer. Reportings on traveling around different countries and regions of Russia and also separate postings about hotels are published in this blog. For example, see a posting about the hotel in Maldives or about best hotel in Azerbaijan.
Another example: luxurytravelblog.ru- this is a blog about luxury travel. Oleg Ryabushinsky, the blog's author, travels a lot around the world and shares with his readers the information about luxury hotels and restaurants. As an example, you can read his reporting on Japan design hotel or Thailand luxury hotel.
Dealing with Social Media
The openness to a dialogue is of great importance on social media while promoting your own hotel reservation portal. Your managers shall be attentive to the questions of potential customers. Also, you should extensively use social media for posting the information about the hotel and its advantages. The more active you are the better. It should be mention separately, that video content is very suitable for hotel promotion. That's why it makes sense to develop your YouTube channel.
Mass Media Advertising
Different types of mass media used for advertising perform different functions. Thus, for instance, television and radio are suitable for image-building purposes in long-term marketing strategies. TV advertising is rather expensive but capable to cover a large segment of audience. Radio will also help a customer remember the brand when bringing it to the new market.
At the same time, for hotel promotion it's important the customer to see real photos and video of your hotel - it inspires confidence and gives the opportunity to perceive advantages of your hotel. Therefore, it is rather good to use print and internet media for hotel marketing. You can give a vivid image of your hotel to the potential customer using these types of mass media or tell them about features of your hotel using text information. You shouldn't forget about such a format as native advertising. For example, you can post a series of articles about separate business as a whole or basic types of your customers, at that describe it through an example of your hotel.
Also, you shouldn't forget about posting the information about your hotel in catalogues and guide books in Russian.
A hotel representing its product in GDS or ADS immediately gets access to millions of potential customers and more than 800,000 travel agencies around the world and considerably increases its efficiency due to cost reduction. The hotel’s full details including room description, pricing and image files appear in thousand distribution channels. And thus, a customer from any corner of Russia at any time can select or book the accommodation he or she interested in on his or her own or with the help of a travel agency. And the hotel, booking from multiple sources, spends minimum time and human resources to process them.
The most popular booking services in Russia are:
Also, it's reasonable to pay careful attention to the reviews which users left in respect of your hotel. Customers often make a choice in favor of this or that hotel based on reviews of other users. That why, it is important to respond to negative reviews and eliminate their causes.
Dealing with the market corporate segment
You should pay attention on dealing with travel agencies and corporate customers. It enables a large number of rooms to be occupied. Agree with travel agencies to send tourists to your hotel, invite corporate customers to cooperation: it can be both sending staff members on vacation and holding any events at the premises of your hotel.
It is worthwhile to use E-mail newsletters and TV marketing in dealing with agencies and companies. And it's also important these tools to work together: check through phone calls if your potential customers got your newsletter and investigate on what terms and conditions they are ready to cooperate with you. To learn how to create a customer base, read our blog. Participation in various tourism exhibitions and conferences are also suitable to make useful contacts. You can participate in such event either directly or through agents.
Promotion of own reservation portal is a quite time-consuming task which requires the use of different tools and their combinations. At the same time, it is an excellent method of brand promotion, but not a simple "load" of free rooms in the hotel. However, you shouldn't neglect of placing the hotel in Global Distribution Systems and dealing with corporate clients and travel agencies. These methods can help you increase an occupancy rate of your hotel. RMAA Group experts are ready to render comprehensive assistance in launching your hotel brand on Russian market.
About the Author
Ksenia Kuznetsova is the Editor of the Blog about Successful Marketing Strategies in Russia. She has been working at RMAA Group as a Assistent of Client Service Director since 2015. Ksenia has experience in planning and carrying out of advertising campaigns for foreign companies in Russia.