We have just developed an international hotel booking website. Our competitors are sites like agoda.com, booking.com, hotels.com and expedia.com.
Now we need to do the internet marketing side of the website but we have no clear idea about it. So can you please advise me about how we should do it ?. How much will have to spend for this and what is the most suitable internet marketing company (ex: tradedoubler.com) for this website ?.
Thank you in advance !.
In the long term your budget should be fairly self funding with the costs being covered by the lifetime value of new signups. However initially, and for certain peaks [i.e. seasonal trends or to ramp up size] you will need to growth invest. How much depends on your business goals and the strength of your unique selling propesition (your USP) -- the more differentiated you are, the better each ad dollar can potentially do in getting users in and keeping them. Social and viral techniques can also be a good investment to spread without as much traditional media.
Again, what you spend is very much a function of what you want back and how quickly. Your campaign coudl be just a few thousand dollars, but if you're trying to go up against the likes of hotels.com you should really be thinking about making a splash to get seen and build trust to use both with end consumers and properties for bookings and that will require far more investment.
Keep in mind that those names aren't just spending a few grand, they're spending it by the minute, and seeing less and less returns as hotels and airlines hone in their own digital offerings. You have no reputation, no history, and likely less selection to go off of -- so having other value and showcasing it is essential.
Side note: t's essential that you understand and forecast against a lifetime customer rather than a single transaction. This is how your competitors operate and if you try to drive profit on single sales you will be at a major disadvantage.
There are many different types of internet marketing strategies available. You have to chose which one is better for you to get potential customers from internet. You can do search engine marketing, in this you can do PPC or SEO. Similarly you can also perform social media marketing. which can easily bring lot of traffic to your website.
@ Ted S,
Thank you for the great advice. It's really useful.
Thank you too
I'd recommend a Facebook page as well. Especially after Google's Panda update, Facebook is taken into great consideration by SEO. Make sure your marketing includes a lot of social media for traffic and visibility.
you have to first do some market research, carefully because the hotel market is a broad market to jump into. No matter how much money you spend on advertisement you are kicking a dead horse. You have to be very innovative and find a niche within this market to be successful. but i feel that it can be done with precision. This includes an extensive keyword research to find ones with as less competition as possible. And analyzing your competitors' websites to see what makes you different from them and what new tools and resources you can offer that would be more beneficial.
This is what I usually suggest to my clients with new projects.
Hire a PR guy and tell world about your services: Nothing like getting a media cover! Think about press release at multiple sites or newspapers. It also help for SEO.
Start with PPC or other paid campaign: It'll provides faster result than other marketing channels. Very effective for Brand development and building initial user base.
Start Social Media Campaign: It usually takes more time to deliver results. But having a Facebook fan page or twitter account will help a lot for targeting lot of visitors.
Then traditional SEO: Do blogging, link building, infographic etc for getting maximum link juice.
There are multiple agencies and firm in the market. Search for those who deliver performance based services.
@ sedge, themlp, ankit7,
Thank you all for your valuable advices !.
I would like to know one more thing. How about the idea to have our own in house team for this project ?. How many (as an average) minimum employees will we need for the team then ?. What kind of knowledge and skills they should have in addition to the internet marketing knowledge ?.
Thanks again !.
It's good that you have targeted booking.com, hotels.com as your competitor. But if you are looking for online promotion then you have go a long long way to reach their status no matter how much big and informative site you have.
The reason is user engagement and brand value. You need to create a brand value both offline and online so that people love your website. And regarding the resources that you have asked for, i will say first fix up you goal step by step, then have a thought of recruiting online marketing professionals.
Yes, you can do it. You should try services like oDesk or Elance and hire some contractors hourly/monthly basis. No. of employees depends on the budget for your campaign.
In addition to internet marketing knowledge, you can hunt for good communicators, self-motivated and good analytical persons.
I wrote a post in a forum on odesk called " Searching for the ideal contractor..." I got so many responses on both sides of the table and I caused an uproar in the Odesk community forum. People who totally agree and people who totally disagree. It really is an ideological difference. The reason I wrote this post is because I was shocked at how less people are willing to work for and more shocked at what people are willing to pay for.
But London Bridges are falling down! I am increasingly seeing a need for businesses to hire people/company that know what they are doing and enjoy what they do. As a contractor if you have a serious passion for something, marketing or painting or whatever. You will Master your skills. You eat, breath, and think what you do for a living. It's not a job to you it's a way of life. My point is these are the best people to hire. All you gotta do is pay them what they want and they will help your business flourish, increase your profits because they are happy to.
Just think if you were doing something for $2.50/HR to make a living. How interested would you be in detail, construction, creativity, precision, performance, etc...? If you making $2 an hour your not only poor you have a poor spirit because a confident person wouldn't
dare charge $2 hour for a $50-100 hr job.
Most great products you find are not at the dollar store. They are customized and priced accordingly. Profit is definitely important but stability and longevity in profit is more important! Unhappy and unpassionate, unmotivated workers will tear you down faster then the twin towers collapsing.
And the bottom line is you gotta pay like you weight! You looking for cheap labor don't be surprised to get a cheap product. Don't be surprised if you are on the Rip Off Report. Don't be surprised if you are considered a Spammer, link farmer, etc... Don't worry though because you will be phased out! Google knows what they are doing when they change their algorithms every week. The name of the game now is quality over quantity!
You look for people who love internet marketing and just want to be paid fairly, then they will be happy to work for you, they will know all the most up to date info, tips, tricks, the latest and greatest tech savvy, ins and outs, etc. etc. to make you the most successful business you can be.
You really only need one tech savvy person that knows what they are doing and pays attention to the latest trends. Now a days it doesn't take a whole team of people to make you successful. The notion of a "team" just makes you feel confident. You can hire 1 brilliant person. 1 Genius = 30 underpaid employees, at least. LOL
What I could suggest you is to have a concrete plan on how you want to accomplish your ultimate goal to make waves in your niche or at least meet and/or exceed your competitors standards. It cannot be done by a single techie person alone. I strongly believe that and because you will need all the help of experts in every aspect of biz it is impossible to delegate it even to a single highly competent individual. To reach the skills and talent you need to acquire thus you need a group of experts in the fields of marketing, Recruitment, logistics, SEM, SMM, SEO, Customer Service etc.
Odesk, elance and other web based outsourcing provides all the pool of talents that you need and in multiple variety of contractors to choose from across the globe at lower rates but please bear in mind the specifics of a particular project you need to focus on. The number of employees may vary directly from your company and skills needed. A single genius techie individual may be able to handle the SEM, SMM, SEO and other related factors but I don't think he can also be good at taking care of the online and offline reservations (taking/answering calls, customer relations etc.). A single talented HR manager maybe excellent in managing people but it does not mean he/she can also handle a team of Marketing and Logistics personnel. Aside from having a strong web presence and reputation (whether due to SEO, PPC, SEM, SMM etc.) agoda.com, booking.com, hotels.com and expedia.com is at the top due to their strong and steady back office teams of individuals who work online and offline 24/7.
Its like putting together a rubics cube. Millions of people have tried, thousands have been successful and only a few can put it together in a matter of minutes no hesitation. This is before the cheat sheet was invented of course... We call those people geniuses when really they just look at a problem differently than STATUS QUO. If u r trying to compete with the big dogs. You have 2 choices for your future. Do what the STATUS QUO did- pay a cheap price for cheap "talent". This is what you can Expect: them to spam the net working as fast as they can or slow, depending on an hourly or fixed rate you are paying. They write article using content generators or duplicate material depending on hourly or fixed rate. If you pay $5 or less and you want them to generate lots of content then you definitely will get the content generator. You hire a "link builder" they will use pingapoid- it generates comments. I know cuz i get this crap on my site!
I can go on and on... But my point is that Google is on to the GAMES. You got to be original. So your second choice is to hire someone who is creative and has expertise and who is vertical. These are the most successful people online because they understand the evolution of internet marketing. The STATUS QUO seo marketing firm is 2nd rate to these beta testers and web 2.0 developers. If you are not developing products you are just copying whats out there already. Quality over quantity is the key. Google ranks by relevance not popularity. They make tweaks everyday to see that you dont cheat. Remember there are some who can solve a rubic's cube quickly and most can't.
We just rebuild our website Only a simple website but we have team of 2 and spending like a month already.
A site such as Agoda.com or booking.com required either ton of $ and time.
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