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How the Riverside Hotel Boosted Purchase Intent by 30% in Just 3 Months
The Riverside Hotel is a family-owned property filled with character. Its central location on the Spree River, which flows through Berlin, is ideal for guests who want to stroll through the city’s major historic and cultural gems by foot.
Anne Fritsch is the General Manager of the hotel. With her extensive background in the hospitality industry, she moved to this property in July 2015. The 41 room hotel is unique because they’re one of the only hotels in Berlin with southern facing views of the river. There is a lot of potential for this hotel; however, it’s a bit older and requires some love and care. Anna is currently planning major renovations to the hotel’s exterior, interior and rooms.
In the meantime though, Anna realized that the first step in revamping this property was setting a good foundation for its marketing. Since a great website is the basis of any digital marketing strategy, Anna was determined to find a digital marketing solution that would set her up for future success and change the OTA to direct bookings ratio in her favor.
The Problem: An Outdated Website That Wasn’t Engaging Travel Shoppers
The Riverside Hotel is a bit old and in need of renovations – and Anne decided to renovate its previous website first. The property was using a website designed by Anna and her colleagues, but it wasn’t quite working for them.
“The website we had before wasn’t contemporary enough, it was very basic. We want to be a modern, profitable boutique hotel in Berlin. The website before didn’t have a cutting-edge feel to it.”
This is an important point, because the hotel is about to undergo a major facelift; the last thing she wanted for the property was an outdated website as well. Ultimately the old website wasn’t driving enough traffic.
“We did want to get more traffic to our website. We want to achieve a big chunk of return customers and guests who book directly through us.”
Anne also wanted to improve her hotel’s ADR and decrease its dependency on the OTAs (currently about two thirds of their bookings are coming through OTAs). “We wanted to increase profitability as much as we can by reducing costs.”
The Solution: A Modern Website That Provides That OTA Experience
Anne wanted to decrease her reliance on the OTAs – but in order to do that, she realized that she needed to beat them at their own game. With 47% of travelers saying they chose an OTA over a hotel website because the OTA website was easier to use, Anne decided that the Vizlly Digital Marketing System was the best choice for her hotel. With Vizlly, Anne created a visually-driven website that is easy to manage.
“The backend of Vizlly was very easy for me to use and I didn’t have to go through a lot of steps to do everything.”
The Riverside Hotel’s new website looks great and gives travel shoppers everything they need in order to book: a Compare Rooms feature allows travelers to easily find the right room; large, high-resolution photos fill the pages; guests can easily view the hotel’s current special offers; and a “Check Rates” button is on each page. Plus, the website heavily emphasizes what to do in and around Berlin with its ‘When in Berlin…’ page. This is important for Anne: “We want to give people an idea of what to expect when they get here, since we don’t have a concierge desk yet.”
In addition to building a website that will help drive direct bookings, Anne was able to build Facebook apps that showcase her hotel’s rooms and special offers. This allows her to engage with her guests in new and powerful ways.
The Results: Increased Occupancy and Purchase Intent, Plus the Stage is Set for Future Success
The Riverside Inn’s new Vizlly website is attracting a lot of attention. Only 3 months after implementation, the website had a 30% purchase intent rate. This means that travelers are motivated to move through the story the Riverside Hotel is telling online – and 30% of these people are checking the rates. This is translating into a higher occupancy rate.
“We did get more bookings. In September and October, our occupancy rates went up.”
The hotel currently has a lot of domestic travelers – Anne estimates that about 60% of them are German. Ultimately, she plans to get to a place where her marketing efforts encourage more international guests to stay with her. The renovations will help make the hotel better; but it’s the great new website that will draw the guests in.
OTAs may have the established reputation to attract travel shoppers, but creating a website that provides an ‘OTA experience’ is a great way to get shoppers to book directly. Now, Anne’s website is competitive, it provides travel shoppers with the content they need in order to book, and it has the added benefit of sharing the hotel’s local story, something the OTAs cannot do. The Riverside Hotel’s new website provides a great web experience for the travel shopper, and its analytics are proving that shoppers are interested in its story. With the upcoming renovation, the future is bright for Anne and her hotel – and she’s now ready to embrace it with her digital marketing in place, and a Vizlly website that can be easily updated as she goes through renovations.