Tools & Technology

ONLINE IDENTITIES ARE KEY TO CLIENTELE

Utilising online booking systems and carefully managing online profiles are no longer options for Cambodian hotels – they are obligations. More than four million international tourists visited Cambodia last year. And with more than 2,000 registered hotels fighting for a share of profits, the days of relying on tuk-tuk drivers and local advertising to boost business are gone.

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A hotel’s online identity is the key to bringing it clients. Today’s tourists—European, American, Asian—want to book and pay for as much of their trip as possible before they leave home. And to do that, hotels need to be highly visible on laptops, tablets and smartphones. Analytical data shows that 89% of global tourists rely on online reviews when making travel decisions. And 96% of hoteliers say that their online profile is key to generating business. When a potential client reads a positive review about a hotel, that is the best time to grab them, so hotels need to be well placed on review websites and online booking systems such as TripAdvisor, Agoda and eBooking.

These websites bring the tourist marketplace to you, and if you ignore the online marketplace, you are giving your competitors a great advantage. When a client leaves a review—good or bad—respond to the review.

Clients like attention. Feedback generates bookings. Conversations create loyalty. It is also essential that a hotel’s website uses responsive design to fit the screens of all platforms, be- cause about 50% of active travellers are using smartphones and tablets to research where they will stay next.

But registering is only half of the job. Managing multiple booking points can be complicated. A central monitoring system should be implemented and staff must be trained to manage and understand the importance of bookings across all online platforms.

A number of systems are available that allow users to monitor and control their inventory of rooms through one single ac- cess point. This guarantees the same rates across all channels, ensures there are no double bookings, and saves time. Hotels should train staff to operate these systems and to keep all your online profiles up to date and active.

In conclusion, these online strategies should not be seen as costs. They are necessary investments to boost income. And if your hotel doesn’t engage, it will be left behind.

 


 

Text by Christophe Dalla Riva | Illustration of Fotolia