Having an online presence should be your top priority in 2017. Studies show that between 70-80% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting the small business or making a purchase with them. In the tourism industry, this is an incredibly important factor to ensure you have high occupancy rates with your accommodation. Listed below are four free and paid options you can do to set your business up online:
A Website (Free & Paid)
Having a website is a fundamental part of your business being online, but this doesn’t mean that you need to spend fistfuls of cash to get something up and running. There are plenty of options for free websites, though investing in a paid website is definitely worth it and there are lots of options available. But whether you decide to go for a paid website or a free one, there are a few fundamental elements that you’ll need to bear in mind:
- Clear professional photos. This is incredibly important. Research shows that users spend more time looking at relevant images online than the text on the website.
- An easy to use site with clear contact information. 44% of website visitors will leave your website if there is no contact information or phone number.
- A functional online booking system. If you don’t give your customers the ability to book online, they will go to a competitor who does give them this option.
- A responsive design. This is an important factor in search engine ranking. It’s important for your website to be viewed on multiple devices.
A Facebook Page (Free & Paid)
There are 1.94 billion monthly users active on Facebook, and having your business listed on the social media platform creates enormous potential for new and repeat customers. Facebook gives you the ability to interact with clients and can be a great free marketing tool. There are also paid options available such as targeted ad-posting that are very affordable.
A TripAdvisor Listing (Free & Paid)
TripAdvisor.com is the leading accommodation website and is an absolute must for accommodation businesses. Having your business on TripAdvisor gives a lot of credibility to your business. Plus, a basic listing is free and if needed you can enhance your listing with paid options.
A Google Places Listing (Free)
A Google Places listing is the business directory that integrates with Google Maps. This is the information you see when you search for any location on the search engine. Accommodation businesses rely on Google Places to show users where they’re based. Google Places also allows users to leave reviews on your business.
Getting online doesn’t need to be complicated or an expensive investment. Building your online presence will give your business the ability to interact with a massive group of customers. And the easier it is for people to find you and interact with you, the more customers you can bring through the doors.