First let’s start with a quick definition of ecommerce. Electronic commerce- otherwise known as e commerce, is quite simply where transactions are exchanged over the internet.
The use of e commerce is continuing to rise across all industries. Even companies in the service industry are incorporating e commerce into their business strategies to remain competitive in the marketplace. This is especially true of the hospitality industry.
With the Covid-19 lockdowns still in effect across many global countries, e commerce is continuing to rise. According to Ecommerce Guide, 95% of all purchases are expected to be via ecommerce by 2040.
They concluded that this is largely due to the fact online shopping is convenient and available 24/7.
E commerce is a lighthouse in the storm for many organisations throughout this crisis.
With the impact of the Coronavirus causing many businesses across the hospitality industry to close or restrict services, companies are needing to adapt.
E commerce has made drastic changes to the hospitality industry.
People can now search for places to stay, where to find the best deals, things to do all from the comfort of their own home and even on their mobile.
There are many advantages to organisations within the hospitality industry that are adapting to incorporate e commerce into their business strategies.
For hospitality businesses, e commerce has no doubt changed the services and outreach to customers in significant ways. An online presence is a given. Whether this is with a company website, social media page, or even a Google My Business listing. But to really have a competitive advantage, restaurants, bars, hotels and more services in the hospitality industry need to be doing so much more.
E commerce has allowed hospitality businesses to dramatically increase their visibility. Customers will turn to Google or their social media pages to find new places to eat, drink or have spa days.
What does this have to do with e commerce? - Everything.
To be able to book services with you online, your customers need to be able to find you.
Increased visibility gives businesses access to a much wider audience.
Even when it comes to the hospitality industry, e commerce has opened up accessibility to international markets.
Now when people are planning to travel overseas, they typically research thoroughly places to stay, places to eat and things to explore. Having an online presence that not only communicates your brand, but perks, prices and while providing the ability to book and reserve online will boost visitor preference over any of your local competitors.
If your attractions and promotional material is excellent, you may even encourage new travellers to your area. Take the Celtic Manor Resort with their international Ryder Cup Golf course. For golf fanatics this is a must for the bucket list! Many golfers from all over the globe travel to the small town in Wales, United Kingdom to experience one of the best golf courses in the world.
To reach global eyes effectively, your marketing and promotional activity must showcase the very best of your services.
In comparison to traditional marketing, e commerce is allowing businesses to promote their businesses on a global scale for a fraction of the cost.
Businesses using SEO (search engine optimisation), paid ads, social media marketing, email and retargeting marketing are not only getting further reach with their audience but are more successful in attracting new customers, increasing returning customers, increasing engagement and interactivity and improving sales.
You can read in more depth on each of these digital marketing tactics for hotels here.
One of the best ways to utilise e commerce strategies is to keep up to date on the latest digital marketing tactics.
Businesses in the hospitality industry who are using sophisticated tracking and retargeting tactics are increasing their sales by 70% over competitors.
spiralytics.com explain how potential customers who browse your site, will view and compare many websites for research. Retargeting those visitors helps nudge them back into your direction. With as much as 25% of them enjoying seeing retargeting ads, while 60% remain neutral. So you don’t have to worry about alienating any website visitors.
E commerce is drastically changing the way businesses in the hospitality industry are making sales. By opening up accessibility, more and more businesses in this sector are utilising online revenue-generating services.
To generate extra e commerce revenue many businesses in the hospitality industry are discovering the power of selling gift vouchers for their services.
Gift vouchers are an extremely effective way for hotels, restaurants, pubs, spas, salons activity centres, and more to generate extra revenue alongside their services.
The huge sales that can be made through an excellent gift voucher strategy are often overlooked. Hotels can make millions with the right gift voucher system and marketing.
Especially in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, selling gift vouchers have been a great support for businesses in the hospitality industry. You can read much more about selling gift vouchers and promotional activities here.
Some tips to increase online sales:
Ecommerce makes the booking and payment of hospitality services simple and easy online. Businesses that have online bookings are making the booking process faster and more convenient for shoppers than those who don’t.
Having an online e commerce booking or shopping store on hospitality websites allow businesses to make discounts and promotions more accessible and available to customers. Whether this is through email marketing, website banners or automated at checkout. Thus, encouraging more customers to make purchases.
The convenience of shopping online anytime at anyplace will attract more customers to your services. Many potential customers are not available to call to make a booking during open hours, or even visit the business in person to book.
We talk often in our blog posts about the importance of personalisation. An e commerce platform can greatly allow businesses to create personalized experiences.
Shoppers are looking for experiences that are not only memorable but personal too.
We are hitting new heights in the ecommerce world, and personalised experiences are what's turning heads.
Whether it’s sending a birthday discount code or tailoring product recommendations based on shoppers tastes, e commerce is allowing businesses to gather a wealth of data to customise and personalise the customer experience.
Promoting individualism and inclusiveness to your brand is a clever way to entice and keep customers returning to your brand.
You can create personalized shopping experiences by using visitor tracking tools or simply by providing opportunities for shoppers to tailor purchases to their wants and needs.
A great example of this is with selling gift vouchers.
Businesses who use the enjoiva gift voucher system are able to easily incorporate item ‘add-ons’ onto their voucher experiences to create bespoke packages exactly to their shopping needs. By using a special feature called ‘Add-on’s a dropdown box appears and allows shoppers to add extra products or services to the voucher experience.
For example, an overnight stay with a spa day package may come with an ‘add on’ choice to purchase champagne or chocolate-dipped strawberries with their gift voucher. Thus making the voucher bespoke and exclusive to the shopper's needs.
We have more on gift voucher add ons here (Create unique experiences with gift voucher add-ons) if you want to know more.
Leading off from the importance of personalisation, website visitors also enjoy transparency too.
Businesses that can provide online virtual room tours are taking the experience to the customer and are 75% more likely to convert sales. Virtual tours for the hospitality industry get around 50% more clicks than using a standard photo gallery.
It’s important to allow shoppers to envision their potential product and their use of the product or service. It will help them make a purchase decision much faster.
We hope you enjoyed our pose on the advantages of e commerce in hospitality industry.
For a business in hospitality, you can always improve your digital footprint. Any small detail you make to your website can have huge effects on the traffic and amount of customers. And don’t forget to review any small changes you make on your website over time. E Commerce is a fast-moving process, constantly adapting to new technologies and new trends in the market.