German Online Marketing tool launches in Portugal: First free tool to analyze the online marketing

Developed and successfully rolled-out in Germany the online marketing tool, Hotel Digital Score, is now also available in Portuguese. In this article we will introduce you to the tool, explain why and how to use it and show why it’s more important than ever to improve your online marketing performance.

What is the Hotel Digital Score?

Neutral, fast, easy-to-use, clear, free and accessible for every hotelier. The Hotel Digital Score is an analysis tool to measure the online performance of hotels. The total score from 0 to 100 provides a total measurement of your overall online marketing performance. Moreover, the tool shows your performance in the five basic areas of online marketing as well as offering a detailed report with tips and recommendations on how to improve it. In order to get your report, simply enter your hotel website on and open your personal report in just a few minutes. The German Hotel Association (IHA) named the tool ‘Innovation of the Year’ in 2019. In cooperation with the Associação da Hotelaria de Portugal (AHP), the tool is now live and ready to use in Portugal and all individual hotels in Portugal have free access.

Why use the Hotel Digital Score?

In order to maximize direct revenues through owned channels, targeted online marketing has become an essential instrument for hotels. Hoteliers frequently ask themselves how well they perform in digital marketing and in which areas they still need to improve. The Hotel Digital Score analyzes the most important benchmarks of online marketing and offers answers to those questions. The tool measures how well you perform in the most important areas of online marketing; it offers recommended actions to improve your performance and advice on how to implement these actions more efficiently and professionally.

People are not traveling, why should you work on online marketing now?

The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic can again be felt across Europe, with governments responding with lockdowns and accommodation bans. Once again, the hotel industry is especially affected by the current crisis. However, it is more important now than ever not to lose courage and to keep going. A study by Singh and Dev (2015) for Cornell University of Hotel Administration showed, based on their research of the 2009 financial crisis, that there was a significant relationship between marketing expenditures and performance within and after the crisis. Hotels that did not significantly lower their marketing expenditures during the crisis were more successful. Likewise, we here at Online Birds were able to achieve great success with many of our customers even during the first wave of this pandemic. Long-term measures such as search engine optimization (SEO) are especially important to proceed with as results show up months later. There will be a time after the current lockdowns when people will start traveling again and there will also be a time after this crisis - we are confident that there will be a real boom in local recreation and regional travel activities during this period. Therefore, work on your online visibility and increase your direct bookings now to ensure long-term success.

How does it work?

The Hotel Digital Score evaluates the most important factors and benchmarks based on 19 different parameters in the five basic areas of online marketing:

· Website (especially usability and conversion optimization)

· E-mail marketing

· Search engine advertising (SEA)

· Search engine optimization (SEO)

· Social media marketing

An automated analysis and weighting of the parameters then builds the individual score for the analyzed hotel. The result simplifies the complex nature of your online marketing reality. The advantage for you is the simplicity of the score; you quickly receive a coherent and structured evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of some important areas of your current online marketing.

How to use your Hotel Digital Score

Use this score to discover your online marketing performance, to better understand your own online marketing results and to find out what influences your potential guests. With the individual tips and recommendations, you have the possibility to take action in order to improve your digital marketing activities and your score step-by-step.

How to improve your score

Take step-by-step actions. First, assess your Hotel Digital Score and receive your reporting. Based on the recommendations for the 19 parameters of your report, derive actions for your online marketing. Determine who is responsible for which task and agree on a timetable and action plan for your team.

The focus on one of the areas with the corresponding tasks should be in line with your strategy and the goals of your online marketing activities.

Below you will find an example selection of possible tasks that you can derive from your Hotel Digital Score reporting. You will also find some additional advice on measures that should be prioritized right now during the ongoing pandemic.

· In general: Invest in your website - the hub of your online marketing. For more direct bookings, guide potential guests from other channels to your website. Accordingly, inquiries and bookings should be made here and everything should be measurable.

o Task: Check the function of your tracking and if your booking engine is integrated correctly.

o Task: Check that your website is laid out optimally, such as a prominent integration of a Best Price Guarantee.

o Task: Formulate a statement regarding the current pandemic, highlight the safety and hygiene measures you are taking and provide transparent information on local rules, cancellation policy as well as for your "book today & decide later" campaign.

· If you want to pick up existing demand on search engines and increase direct bookings, for instance, use the possibilities of search engine advertising (SEA) and search engine optimization (SEO). SEA is especially helpful for the short-term address of new target groups. SEO is a long-term process that should not be paused even in a lockdown, to achieve sustainable visibility and ranking.

o Task: Start GoogleAds campaigns or check for efficient alignment. For example, you can run a GoogleAds campaign to position your new food delivery service, if applicable.

o Task: Check website for alignment with important SEO ranking factors. If necessary, adjust in line with your new target groups if your target consumer has changed in the past year.

· If you want to reduce distribution costs, you can invest in customer retention through e-mail marketing.

o Task: Inform yourself about the possibilities and advantages of a newsletter and, if necessary, an arrival and departure mail. Research possible tools as well as your target group.

o Task: Inform your existing customers about all the measures you are taking during this pandemic. Keep open communication with them, stay relevant and incentivize them to visit you again.

· If you want to strengthen your hotel brand, create more visibility and recognition for your brand through social media channels. This channel is suited to communicate with potential and existing guests in a very emotional way.

o Task: Check all social media presences and corresponding targeted activities. Adjust posting frequencies and optimize content if necessary.

o Task: Provide up-to-date and relevant information to your target group. Address their needs and fears with empathy for the uncertainty of the current situation.

When a task is completed, retest the URL of your hotel. Improvements in the score should reaffirm that you’re on the path to success. You can also derive further actions from your updated report. Determine again who is responsible for the suggested tasks and agree on a schedule for completion. With this approach you can continuously improve your online marketing with a palpable method of measuring how well you’re doing.

Important to know: A score of 100 does not mean you are done. What this shows is that you have mastered the basics of online marketing and have set the right course. Now you should constantly dedicate yourself to further optimize and align all marketing channels.

Be sure to take a look at our previous articles from the series “Getting Through the Corona Crisis With Online Marketing” for some more recommendations and quick wins for each of these areas:

· Quick Wins For Your Google Ads Campaigns

· Quick Wins For Your Search Engine Optimization

· Quick Wins For Your Hotel Website

· Quick Wins For Your Social Media Communication

· Quick Wins For Your Email Marketing

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