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Being Online - How to promote your business

Large numbers of people use the internet extensively to research, plan and book their trips and stays. Therefore, if you do not have an online presence and are not appearing in search engines you are losing out on even being considered as a possibility for the customer’s choice.

What is the importance of appearing in Google?
With over 86% of the UK population using Google to search the internet, you need to be appearing here. While you’ll appear if someone searches for your business name, you should also appear under relevant keywords related to your business.

How to appear in Google search
In order to appear in Google, you have two options.
The first, search engine optimisation, is the process of optimising website pages so that they are structured correctly, with good content, where that content is relevant to what people are searching for.

Find out more on how to optimise your site in our SEO basics for beginners’ toolkit.

The other option is Google Adwords – an advertising option which allows you to show ads when people type in specified keywords or terms.

How to increase web traffic
As well as Google, there are many other ways of raising awareness of your website and your property.

• Online display advertising: text, image, banner or video ads which appear on website pages alongside similar editorial content.

• Social media: Whilst extremely popular, social media should always be used as just one of multiple marketing tactics and while considered free, it will cost you in terms of time. For more information, download our Twitter page management for beginners’ toolkit, Facebook page management for beginners’ toolkit and Instagram page management for beginners' toolkit.

• E-Mail Marketing: Before sending e-mail marketing messages, you must have authorisation to do so - known as ‘opting in’ and relevance is key; the more specific your marketing messages the better your results will be. To maintain a professional look and feel, use an e-mail marketing tool such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor.

Responsive web design
People are using multiple devices to browse the web, send e-mail, use social media etc. therefore it is more important than ever to ensure your website features a responsive design. Visit - Google’s mobile site tester tool for more information.

Is your website performing?
Factors which can have an impact on your website performance include:
• Make sure your website is attractive and easy to navigate.
• Use good imagery.
• Include reviews.
• Ensure room rates are visible on site.
• Make information easy to find.
• Enable online booking.
• Offer multiple payment methods: credit cards, debit cards, Paypal etc.

In order to determine how your website is performing you can use a tool called Google Analytics. For more information, download our Google Analytics basics toolkit.

Booking engines
Booking engines can either be added to your own website or can be external to your site for example, and
Third party booking engines can also be useful because of the audience numbers and traffic that these sites attract as this can help drive awareness of your property.
Which option is best is fully dependent on your circumstances, the time and effort you are willing to put into your site, your desire to reduce commission payments to third parties etc.

For more information, download the full guide to being online toolkit.