Increase Direct Hotel Bookings Via Hotel Website Localization Services

Today:

The global hotel business landscape is shifting back to divert the business from online travel agencies to the own hotel website with the aim to win direct customers.

The true cause of this change:

It is difficult to perceive, but many experts agree on a few factors. Firstly, hotels avoid paying the commission online travel agencies charge for indirect bookings. Secondly, it gives hotels a chance to learn more about how guests are arriving at their sites and their preferences to increase personalization with the help of services provided by hotel marketing websites and hotel marketing freelancers. Thirdly and importantly, thanks to the marketing efforts of the large hotel chains travelers are becoming more aware that direct bookings can offer considerable advantages: lower room rates and discounts as well as personalized offers based on loyalty status and past behaviors.

Warning:
Indeed, thanks to advanced hotel marketing techniques the game of driving the bookings away from the travel agencies by converting more on hotel websites has started. That was quite predictable, as the increasing number of direct bookings online is appealing to every hotel website (especially beneficial for small hotels) because it’s the most profitable sales channel of all.

But what challenges and issues do hotel owners and hoteliers have to face today to increase direct hotel bookings?

Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to share with you in today’s blog post.

Because over the last few months I’ve been experimenting with localization strategies (“The Website Locale Boosting Method”)…

…and have some AMAZING results to share with you.

Marketing Solutions how to increase direct hotel bookings

Nowadays:

Emerging technologies and hotel marketing websites are helping the hospitality industry to adapt as fast as possible to increasing and worrying challenges that are heavily impacting marketing operations.

By and large:

the following hotel marketing techniques and other trends can reinforce your hotel website online presence and boost direct bookings:

  • Discounts and Loyalty Offers
  • Social Media
  • Review Management
  • Website design and optimization
  • Easy to Book
  • Mobile-friendly website

At this point, you’re probably wondering:

“How can I use all these strategies to get more organic search engine traffic for my hotel website, and then convert prospects into customers?”

There are 4 simple steps to follow to take advantage of “The Website Locale Boosting Method”.

Step 1: Localize hotel website to the language of the target audience.

Step 2: Localize e-mail newsletters.

Step 3: Localize Customer Support.

Step 4: Localize Social Media.

And you’re set.

Now it’s time to break down each step in detail.

Localization solutions to increase direct hotel bookings

1. Hotel Website Localization Techniques

For many years website localization and translation has been seen as the process of cultural adaptation of web content and applications, modifying the source language and other site elements to appeal to the customer’s cultural preferences in their own target language.

The Rapid development of online businesses has caused to reconsider the definition of website localization. The reason was obvious. It turns out that a big percentage of customers who assigned projects to translate a website into Russian are not satisfied with the results. The customers haven’t increased direct hotel bookings on their websites from the targeted markets and they haven’t increased direct hotel bookings with social media.

There is a range of reasons for that.

Let me give you an example. A few months ago a company X (for confidentiality reasons I would not reveal the name) contacted me asking to check if their localized hotel website is addressing the Russian-speaking community properly. The manager stated that they had invested a fortune into localization in Russian but still do not see any return on investments and their website didn’t increase direct hotel bookings. The main goal of this project was to drive new customers to their localized hotel website through web search results. I conducted an audit checklist of this hotel website translation and detected that this localization in Russian is not relevant at all for the target audience. The vendor just translated webpages to Russian (I would call that translation, as the final goal of the project – increase direct hotel bookings – has not been reached) adapting cultural and linguistic elements for the target market.

And now, want to know the best part?

The final goal of a localized hotel website is to drive new guests/customers to the hotel website via search results. In other words, the content for your hotel website must be relevant for certain markets that you are targeting at. Relevant content is audience-dependent, that means that any website localization techniques should start with the basic essence who is going to make direct bookings.

Thus:

Only by understanding who the potential guests from the target market are, you can address their problems, questions, concerns, interests in the content localization in Russian or in any other languages.

All the website localization best practices provide website localization techniques which outline the intent of the target audience. The hotel guest intent is the vehicle that drives behind the keywords. Roughly the hotel guest intent can be predefined into three main categories:

  • do something – commercial queries: “book direct hotel”;
  • know something – informational queries: “best hotel Berlin customer reviews”;
  • go somewhere – navigational queries: “best hotel in Munich”.

With predefined hotel guest persona and his or her intent, it is very important to develop a list of relevant keywords for the content which going to be localized and work at SEO issues within the localized content. This is a very long and vital topic for discussion. I will explore it in another post.

Briefly, content localization in Russian or any other languages that the target audience speaks starts with hotel guest persona description, their intent, keyword list development and finished with the relevant website localization services, utilizing website localization best practices and relevant SEO improvements.

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2. Email Marketing Localization

Now:

Email marketing personalization is more important than ever. Today it is probably the easiest way to start creating a more personal experience for your email recipients. No one likes receiving standard bulk mails that are sent to everybody. As a rule, when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions, personal feelings, and experiences, rather than information – brand attributes, features, and facts. It is a must that your readers feel that there is an actual person behind your brand.

Here’s little case study of this strategy in action:

Email marketing localization will bring more personalization in the marketing communications and will drive the guests closer to your hotel. When localizing your emails, you are undoubtedly targeting for certain audience. E.g. recently a hotel manager assigned me a newsletter Russian translation project to send newsletters to the Russian-speaking target audience. The purpose was to attract more guests during Christmas holidays. The Russian email marketing project was doomed to failure. It was obviously a localization in Russian. I totally changed the content, because Russian-speaking consumers have Christmas holidays on the 7th of January. 25th of December is a workday, nobody from the Russian-speaking countries would be interested in the hotel promotion within this period of time. In other words asking just for a newsletter Russian translation my customer was obviously taking a risk to carry out useless email marketing campaign among Russian-speaking hotel guests. Or even more – just lose them by getting unsubscribe notes.

What’s the bottom line?

This email marketing translation example shows that website localization best practices also include newsletter localization. With the right website localization techniques, you can narrow down the target audience and give more personalization to your marketing campaigns than just sending emails in English. Indeed, the more you know your guest and traveler, the better and more tailored service you can provide. By translating an email from Russian to English or localizing the email content to certain languages, you can create a new profile for your target audience and collect a lot of information: what holidays they celebrate, what they prefer to do on holidays, what they prefer to eat on holidays, etc.

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3. Customer Support Localization

You can find a website translator to Russian or any other languages, and ask to localize and translate webpage to Russian, you can hire hotel marketing freelancers or study hotel marketing techniques at hotel marketing websites.

But I bet,

there is one thing that you can do that almost guarantees that your guests will want to come back and stay at your hotel. It’s more than just delivering amazing customer service. It’s delivering amazing personalized customer service.

According to Common Sense Advisory:

75% of non-native English speakers are more likely to buy something if post-sales support is in their own language. Offering a customer-tailored support will not only increase your direct bookings but will also be a good way to satisfy and delight your guests.

Here’s the deal:

The goal is to create the personal touch. This is an engagement at a higher level. In its simplest form, it may be just using the customer’s name.

Generally, there are different channels of customer support in the e-commerce: FAQ, live chat, email-based customer service, social media support & a call center.

But what are the best channels for your small hotel, a hostel, a guest house or even a medium-sized hotel?

The best COST-EFFECTIVE solutions would be FAQ & email-based customer service & social media support. Call center and live chat support channels are very effective, but they will require additional significant investments.

You might be wondering:

It is very important to localize FAQ page. The more questions will be localized, the less money you will have to spend further. The FAQ page can extremely reduce your further costs on customer support, especially when you get the same questions from people over and over again. And it is worth considering the fact that due to different cultures and mentality, you might be asked unexpected questions. Do not ignore them; just add to the localized FAQ page.

Email channel and Social media support allow you to offer personalized help to your customers. Travelers and guests expect to be seen as individuals and want to receive information. Besides using your guests’ names during the conversation, your photo, your guests’ history with your hotel, it is very important to keep communication in the language of your guests.

Numerous studies have shown that happy guests come back and stay more, they come back more often, and they tell their friends to stay at the hotel, too. The benefits of personal service extend beyond your guests and their immediate social circles, too. As your hotel business builds a reputation for great service, you’ll begin to draw more guests from around the market. The benefits are evident.

What’s the bottom line?

How to provide personalized customer support in other languages without investing a fortune? You can either use services offered by a professional website translator Russian (or whatever language you need) or find a cheaper language service provider: students or those who are just starting their freelance translator career. But remember there can always be options for professional services. E.g. you can get in touch with a professional freelance translator and ask for a cheaper price promising a one-year contract and easy texts to translate.

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4. Social Media Localization

This step is important:

Localized Social Media presence is not just important, it is essential to market expansion nowadays. According to the research made by CMO Council, most of the companies state that localized social media is crucial for their business profitability and growth. It is a powerful tool to expand locally, as it tailors the content to specific communities and markets. Local social media users have their own behaviors, trends, cultures, language, and even social media network preferences. For example, in China web users prefer a network called Weibo to Facebook and Twitter, biggest Russian social media – Odnoklassniki & Vkontakte.

Check examples:

The growth of social media has helped hotel brands market themselves at a local level. Thanks to the well-developed social media localization strategy, for example, such hotel chains as Sheraton, Reikartz, etc have set up numerous Facebook accounts for various local markets around the world and localized social media marketing. In the image below you will see screenshots of local Sheraton accounts: Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel (Israel), Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel & Conference Centre (France), Sheraton Palace Hotel Moscow (Russia), Sheraton Frankfurt Congress Hotel (Germany), Sheraton Tirana Hotel (Italy). On each account, the company posts updates, answers customer’s questions and deals with issues regarding specific direct bookings in the language that the customers speak.

How to localize social media with fewer costs:

The challenge to direct posts and messages in the language that the customers speak can be a costly enterprise. But there are solutions to avoid the costs and make the social media campaigns effective. There are a lot of freelancers worldwide who translate webpages to Russian and other languages and also provide website localization services (include website translation which is relevant according to SEM and cultural requirements) involving social media exposure at the local markets. The main tasks of social media virtual assistant for your hotel will be to help your hotel in the day-to-day running of social media accounts. Depending on the needs and requirements of your hotel, a social media assistant manages all the social properties of your hotel, creates a social media localization strategy (goals, tactical action plans, etc.), translates email from Russian to English or any other language pairs, provides newsletter Russian translation (or whatever language), contacts opinion leaders/influencers, builds relationships, generates content, creates engaging content, finds the right social platform for the right audience according to interests and geo-location, runs promotional campaigns on social networks.

Taking into account the successful social media experience of the largest hotel chains (like Sheraton), social media localization is worth implementing into smaller budget hotels’ campaigns. By paying attention to local markets from nearby countries, budget hotels and hostels will be able to connect more deeply with the customers from the neighborhood.

Overall, it may be said that the direct bookings online can be increased through localization, which includes content localization, email localization, customer support and social media localization to the language which the target audience speaks.

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By | 2017-10-23T04:54:03+00:00 February 13th, 2017|

Translator & localization specialist, Wordpress website developer, SEO and online marketing expert. Able to develop and shape your company’s voice and style in Russian & Ukrainian to ensure that it’s clear, accessible, and culturally relevant for your customers and partners throughout the Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking world.

One Comment

  1. Oleg Gordeev October 10, 2017 at 6:42 am - Reply

    Thank you for the great article, Hanna! This is a scientific research rather than just a post. I totally agree that localization helps companies (hotels) to add value to their products, improve brand loyalty, and attract new customers.

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