We work with independent hotels & motels to prioritise and execute better branding and guest experience strategies to organically increase direct bookings.
Our agile and practical approach aims to maximise your return on investment.
Read about our latest success story in August 2017 where we increased overall bookings by a sustained 45%—delivering a return on investment of 100% within just 45 days.
MAJOR SURGERY : Oval Motel Bendigo
Brad Gibson approached us in April 2017 as his parents Gary and Carolyn had just purchased a 27 room motel located in Bendigo that was in need of better branding, photography and online presence.
Gary & Carolyn were fantastic hosts, and while reviews were very positive, they suspected money was being left on the table in terms of their digital presence.
After assessing their requirements over several telephone strategy sessions we put together an all inclusive package that included a three night stay at the motel—and the following tactics:
STAGE 1: SIMPLIFY ROOM NAMING
Chris Jack worked with Brad to simplify the naming of rooms to make it easier for guests to identify the number and type of beds in rooms.
Stage 2: New logo and branding identity
The existing logo was outdated and needed a refresh. Rather than replace the logo, we took the existing logo and modernised it to ensure existing signage could remain untouched.
This was produced by Nick Smith of Locus Focus, our in-house graphic designer and branding consultant.
Nick also produced a branding style guide in preparation for the new website with information about consistent colour, font and logo usage.
STAGE 3: New MOTEL photography
New photography was shot by Chris Jack in July 2017 over a three day stay through the Chris Jack Photography brand.
Staying at the motel enabled Chris to capture a warm and inviting sunrise shot at 6.30am which is now used as the primary image across the entire online presence.
With a smaller motel or hotel, it is often helpful to show the character and personality of the hosts. We took this environmental portrait of Gary and Carolyn right on sunset. If you look carefully you can see the Queen Elizabeth Oval in the reflection of the room window.
It also tells the story of being able to park right outside your room which is a primary USP.
In terms of the room photography, the strategy was to take shots were "light, bright and white" which contrasted to the previous dark and yellowish shots that were being used.
Light bulbs were replaced in all rooms to ensure consistent white temperature colour and reduce any colour casting on walls and ceilings.
Stage 4: New website & SEO
While Brad worked on the new website copy, room descriptions and blog content — Chris and Nick put together a brand new website using Squarespace using the new photography portfolio.
Squarespace was chosen over Wordpress as the website platform because it was much easier for the owners to update and maintain, while still offering powerful blogging, content management and "Book Now" call to action features.
All the old URL's on the website were not very search engine friendly, so these were remapped to the new URL's to ensure Google traffic was not disrupted.
The total package was valued at $11'000+GST including travel. 100% return on investment was achieved in just 45 days from going live based on the previous months revenue.
Bookings increased substantially overnight after the new photography, room naming and website were launched, and factoring in cancellations and all booking channels the total increase was 44%* within the first 30 days after the launch compared to the previous 30 days.
*Analysis of longer periods of 59 days before and after actually indicated a 68% increase in bookings. However, there were some room pricing changes through this period which we felt might have skewed those figures.
BOOKINGS: 30 days before & after
Due to the improvements in SEO (Search engine optimisation) and other factors, the site also went from position 13 to position 8 (on the first page) for the search term "Bendigo Motels".
Of course this will fluctuate, but once Brad creates more blog content we are confident that traffic will increase further over time.
Traffic increased by 90.57% compared to the previous two months, a substantial organic traffic increase which had a very positive impact on bookings.
Traffic: WEEK 8 LAUNCH, BEFORE & AFTER
LOCUS FOCUS HOTEL CONSULTING
Marketing accommodation in 2017 is much more about improving the guest experience and then making sure your online presence clearly reflects this.
Every hotel is unique and needs a strategic approach to increasing bookings in the long term that factors in both the Locus (the location) and Focus (online presence).
We help independent hotels & motels achieve this by concentrating on Locus Focus:
We approach everything with an agile and practical philosophy. We prioritise tasks together and break them down so they are manageable, achievable and cost-effective.
The process is normally underpinned by 3 week sprints (an agile software development technique) which allows for fast feedback.
Every three weeks after any initial on-site consultation we assess your online presence through our proprietary auditing process designed specifically for independent hotels. This process is designed to uncover opportunities for improvement either on an actual or hypothetical basis. These insights are then moved to the prioritise phase.
At our three week "scrum" telephone or skype meeting we discuss the outcome of the audit and present our recommended prioritisation of those tasks. You (as the hotel owner, general manager or marketing manager) then tweak this according to your requirements. In effect, we agree what is the "lowest hanging fruit" that represents the best opportunity to move the needle forward.
The next step is to assign these agreed tasks to the most appropriate resource. This might be to your own staff, myself or external partners. The best person for the job is chosen based on the balance of importance, efficiency, experience, availability and value for money. It really just depends what is best for your situation.
Tasks should be small enough to complete within the three week sprint. A task could be something as simple as changing some copy on your marketing website to improve clarity, or as complex as setting up creating a new marketing website.
Everything that is worth measuring is evaluated and that analysis discussed at our sprint meeting. It is important to not only use analytics, but to know how to interpret the results and change course as required.
Focus meetings are conducted on Skype or telephone calls from Brisbane by Chris Jack and Nick Smith and last as long as they need to. Chris is the digital marketing and photography guy and Nick Smith the creative, branding and visual media expert.
Together, we are able to quickly identify opportunities for improving online presence and effectively take on a project management and oversight role. Any tasks that are assigned to us can be quoted—giving you complete transparency—or completed on an hourly basis.
We collaborate with you using Asana—project management software that allows everyone to see exactly what is being worked on, and where tasks are assigned. This also allows us to prioritise everything.
All our services are based on a flat hourly consultancy rate based on whether it's "strategy" or "action" and are $109 per hour back at the office, or $129 per hour on-site while staying at your hotel.
Our initial on site consultation costs depend on the number of days required and travel costs and a free estimate is available over the phone or by written quotation.
THE FIRST STEP
Our agile approach ensures you get incredible value for money and return on that investment. We will work with you to determine the right mix of strategy and action to achieve your goals and all within your budget.
As our services are highly time-intensive and very little is outsourced, we only work with a small number of independent hotels at any given time. If we are currently booked out we will discuss this with you and advise of the next available consultation.
We work with independent hotels, motels and B&B's that have 3 to 300 rooms. You will only invest what makes sense for you, so yes—you can absolutely afford us!
Apply now and we will call back to discuss how we can start working together to attract and delight more guests.