B&Bs and small hotels across the UK are missing out on a big payday by advertising their services on the wrong platform – social media.
So claims a new report published by eviivo, the UK-based booking management app developer favoured by independent hotels and B&Bs.
Nearly 6 out of 10 (59%) accommodation providers polled by eviivo admitted to using the likes of Facebook to encourage bookings.
A quarter of those surveyed said social media is “very important” to their business and 36% confessed to spending five hours or more on it each week. In addition, more than one in five (22%) spends money on paid advertising each month.
The company analysed bookings data for some of the 5,600 B&Bs and small hotels it works with, which has revealed social media is responsible for a meagre 3.3% of the web traffic to hotels’ websites.
More importantly, eviivo was able to establish that just 0.75% of bookings made for independent hotels and B&Bs originate from social media – compared to 74% of bookings emanating from travel websites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Laterooms, booking.com and others.
Thomas Messett, chief marketing officer for eviivo, said :”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. Those who work with the top three travel booking websites have a year-on-year growth in online bookings of circa 80%, whereas those who don’t work with any actually see their year on year bookings declining by nearly 1.5% from one year to the next!
“Yet somehow, B&B and small hotel owners are convinced that social media is the way to go and that it is something worth investing a lot of time and money in. But facts and figures don’t lie. Throughout our research we found that 87% of those B&Bs that have a Facebook page actually have less than 1,000 fans – with the vast majority of those being local people keen to remain in the know about cultural events happening on their doorstep.
“Besides, when we quizzed holidaymakers on who they turn to for recommendations on where to stay, it is clear that social media isn’t top of their list; with only a scanty 8% having ever booked a stay in a B&B because it had a social media profile.”
Of the 2,000 people surveyed by eviivo, 44% said they checked review websites before booking a stay, whilst for another 39% it is all about placing friends’ recommendations.