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UK hotels embrace social media but fail to maximise opportunity

07 December 2012 by
UK hotels embrace social media but fail to maximise opportunity

Neil Gerrard looks at the findings of a new report into eCommerce in independent hotels by technology provider Micros

The majority of independent hotels have embraced eCommerce, with most having some form of online booking system.

But many have a long way to go when it comes to offering optional extras such as flowers or Champagne to maximise sales during the online booking process.

Those are the findings from a new report into eCommerce in independent hotels by Micros, the technology provider to the hospitality and retail industries.

The report evaluated 156 UK hotels on 33 questions related to search engine marketing, web design, user experience and social media.

"However there is still a lot that can be achieved, especially in revenue generation. Sixty-two per cent of the hotels weren't offering any extras during the online booking process and that is a missed opportunity," added Finch.

We present the key findings below. To access the full report, go to www.micros-ecommerce.com/research.

SIX KEY FINDINGS

38% offered extras during online bookings Some 90% of the 156 hotels had an online booking facility on their own websites. But only 38% have the guest the option of buying additional products during the online booking process. The most popular items were flowers, wine, Champagne, chocolates and balloons. There were other ideas like buckets of beer. Micros said hotels not doing this were missing an opportunity.

6% offered online restaurant reservations Only 6% of the hotels allowed Micros's researchers to make a restaurant reservation during the online booking process. Not all hotels had a restaurant, and many of those that did recommended guests email or phone to make a booking.

Just 6% allowed the guest to book a table. Micros warned that hotels that did have a restaurant but did not offer customers the chance to book online risked seeing them go elsewhere.

37% responded to all comments 
on TripAdvisor A total of 37% of the 156 hotels surveyed that had a profile on TripAdvisor responded to every single comment made about their hotel, whether good or bad. At the other extreme, a quarter of the hotels were not responding to any feedback at all.

39% didn't appear on the first page of Google Around 39% of hotels did not appear on the first page of Google natural search results for their keywords. Research suggests that 7% of Google users would click on the second result in a list, so the chances of them looking on pages two or beyond are slim.

35% responded to tweets, 85% were on Facebook A social media savvy 85% of hotels had a Facebook page, although the quality of updates varied. Only 43% of hotels on Facebook were putting up details of offers and promotions. 74% of hotels had a Twitter account, but only 37% replied when tweeted with a question.

10% had a mobile-optimised website Only 10% of the hotels tested had a mobile-optimised version of their websites. Some only optimised the home page and often the "book a room" button led to a non-optimised web page.

By Neil Gerrard

E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.

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