UK’s Independent Hotels Failing to Cash In on Online Bookings

UK based hotels are not realising the full potential of the Internet, according to the recent report, eCommerce in Independent Hotels 2012.

While 90 percent of UK hotels offer online booking facilities on their websites, around 60 percent of them are not taking advantage of cross-selling opportunities during the online booking process. Only 38 percent of hotels are offering extra welcome amenities like flowers, chocolates, or champagne on completing an online booking process.

The report also says that only 37 percent of hotels respond to every TripAdvisor review of their properties, around 6 percent of hotels permit guests to book tables for dining at the hotel restaurant, and only 10 percent have a website that is receptive to mobile phones.

Although around 85 percent have a Facebook page, only 43 percent of hotels regularly share details of promotions and offers on the page. Similarly, while 75 percent have a Twitter account, only 35 percent respond to questions asked through Twitter.

Around 39 percent of the hotels do not appear on the opening page of a Google search, while only 31 percent of hotels appeared at the very top. Out of the 156 hotels surveyed in the UK, only 11 hotels have a fully optimised website for search engines such as Google.

Paul Finch, vice president of hotel sales at MICROS, a software company that offers marketing solutions, said, ‘We were impressed to see so many independent hotels using social media, 85 percent had a Facebook page and 74 percent were on Twitter, although only 35 percent actually responded to our tweet.

The fact that 37 percent of the hotels take the time to respond to every review on TripAdvisor was also very positive. However, there is still a lot that can be achieved, especially where revenue generation is concerned. 62 percent of the hotels weren’t offering any additional extras during the online booking process and that’s a missed opportunity.’