How to use an online hotel reservation system? (for hoteliers)

By: E. Alan

Frequently we get phone calls from hotels about their positions at the search listings of www.tobook.com, the online hotel reservation service for Europe. The position of a hotel could be a problem when it is listed with dozens of hotels in one of the top cities. This article is based on experiences at tobook.com, but might help hoteliers also to get better positions in other hotel directories. And in general it might also give an answer to the question how to use online hotel directories to improve the popularity of a hotel.

It is clear that when you own a hotel in a city like Paris, the competition gets harder to have a high position on general search engines. Listing your hotels in different local and international online hotel directories might partly help you to compensate this. But it is also clear that only submitting your hotel data, will not be enough to reach this goal. Nowadays a hotel owner should do more than just submitting the data and waiting for reservations.

First of all by submitting of hotel data you should take the following into account: Make use of all tools that an online booking site is offering to present your hotel, e.g.: a good and full description of your hotel, policies, photos, maps, special offers, newsletter etc. Add good photos and photos from different views. A web surfer should be able to view the whole picture; so add not only the front view of your hotel or only the rooms. Every department of your hotel should be present with a photo: a front view; reception, bar/restaurant, rooms, bathrooms and so on.

Try also to avoid to much ‘flash’ which is disturbing the expectations. A more realistic photo will make it easier for the guest to trust the description you have given about your hotel.

Don’t forget to update your rates regularly in time for the coming periods; otherwise your site will fall down in the listings of the directories. Although this is not more work than few minutes, the hotel management can oversee it.

Default classifications at most of the online services are star and price comparison within the star classification. This can be supported if your hotel is online and instant bookable at the listings. This last has defiantly a positive influence on your rankings at most of the directories.

Compare your prices with other hotels in your classification. If your prices are above average, you should make it clear what your extra offers are. Point out your ‘uniqueness’ not only with general attachments in your description. Consider your cancellation policy: usually the rule is: ‘Cancellations are possible without any charge 24 hours prior to arrival; otherwise 1 night will be charged.’ As known nowadays many people decide to take a break in the 'last minute' or to cancel the break the 'last minute'; you have consider this when you formulate a harder cancellation policy.

Try to add ‘Special Offers’; then you will be more present on the site and more attractive to get a visit. At tobook.com there is a special offers link from the homepage. This means, you will be listed just one click from the homepage.

There is at tobook.com also the possibility to contribute to its newsletter with special offers. You can also contribute with articles about your city or specific events in your city. Your name and the name of your hotel will be written as the article writer. The newsletter reaches monthly thousands of people. This will increase attention of public.

Apart from that, each online directory offers its own rules to have a better position. Tobook.com has in this matter its online reservation tool which can be added also at the website of the hotel. This tool creates the possibility for the visitor to check the availability directlyBusiness Management Articles, which will increase the functionality of the website of the hotel and its position at tobook.com listings. The last option could be using the advertisement possibilities. Tobook.com offers banner and text link spaces at the city guide pages. For an affordable price you can make use of it. Getting a link from a high positioned hotel directory means not only visitors but also a better position of your own website at search engines.

Don’t get pessimistic if you don’t get reservations. Keep working on the site; this means often not more then 15 minutes input weekly. The more attention you give to the presentation of your hotel the more attention you will get from an online service and from the web surfers.

(published at: http://www.tobook.com/newsletter/newsletter.asp)

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