Eviivo’s main aim is to provide small hotel and B&B owners with more bookings, placing them on the map in order to boost their exposure and find more customers.
That’s why we are constantly researching the market to ensure that we are doing that job to the best of our ability. Simply put, if there’s a better way to generate exposure for your business, we want to make sure that we are in on the ground floor.
Of course, it’s also crucial to understand what doesn’t work, and new research has suggested that leveraging the power of social media will only make a negligible impact on hotel bookings.
This might be the opposite of what many owners are expecting to hear. After all, just a cursory glance at recent digital marketing trends shows that being active on social media is of huge benefit to a business. Unfortunately, that trend does not seem to extend to the hospitality industry.
These findings were arrived at after an exhaustive analysis of booking data taking from 5,600 B&Bs and small hotels.
Our research was able to uncover that even a social media behemoth like Facebook is only responsible for 3.3% of the web traffic to hotels’ websites. Even more importantly, we were able to demonstrate that only around 0.75% of bookings made for independent hotels and B&Bs had their roots in social media – an insignificant number from a statistical point of view, and hardly one likely to turn your business around.
In stark contrast, we found that an impressive 74% of bookings came from travel websites, including Expedia, Hotels.com, Laterooms, and Booking.com.
These findings demonstrate the remarkable superiority of such travel websites over social media, despite the fact that nearly six out of 10 (59%) of accommodation providers reported using social media sites to encourage bookings, with a quarter of them describing social media as a ‘very important’ part of their business model and 36% claiming to spend five hours or more trying to establish a presence on social media platforms. One in five even went so far as to spend money on paid advertising each month.
In the words of Thomas Messett, our chief marketing officer: “It’s actually quite staggering that over 10% of B&Bs in the UK aren’t working with any of the three biggest travel booking websites out there, knowing that these are really cost effective and this is where the vast majority of bookings happen.” He went on to point out that small hotel and B&B owners who made the decision to work with the top three travel booking websites experienced year-on-year growth in online bookings of around 80%, while those who make no such effort saw see year-on-year bookings decline by close to 1.5%.
We also found that 87% of B&Bs that have a Facebook page have managed to accumulate less than 1,000 fans, with the vast majority of those being local to the business. In fact, of the 2,000 consumers we surveyed, only 8% of them ever reported booking a stay at a B&B due to the fact that it had an active social media profile. Compare that to the 44% who said they checked review websites before booking, and it becomes clear that social media is not the answer.
If you want to maximise online bookings for your small hotel or B&B, using social media is clearly unlikely to pay off in the way that many owners would hope. Instead, research strongly suggests that contacting eviivo to ensure that you find a place on popular travel sites is the way forward.