Hospitality tips for hotels form the very backbone of the hotel industry. It’s all about creating an environment where guests feel valued, comfortable, and cared for.
The Anatomy of a Memorable Hotel Experience
Crafting the First Impression
First impressions matter. A friendly welcome, a seamless check-in process, and a well-maintained lobby area all contribute to setting the right tone.
Room Essentials – Comfort Meets Luxury
Quality of accommodation plays a pivotal role in a guest’s experience. Cleanliness, comfort, and a touch of luxury in room service can enhance a guest’s stay.
Providing Personalized Services
Personalization is a game-changer in the hospitality industry. Remembering a guest’s preferences or catering to their unique needs makes them feel special and appreciated.
Empathy in Customer Service – The Unseen Comfort
Empathy isn’t something you can pack into an infographic, but it’s an essential trait for all hotel staff. Understanding a guest’s perspective can significantly improve their experience.
Leverage Technology for Enhanced Guest Experience
Technology Integration – The New Normal
In an increasingly digital world, hotels can leverage technology to enhance their guest’s experience. Mobile check-ins, personalized digital communication, and automation are just the beginning.
Social Media as a Hospitality Tool
Social media is more than a marketing tool. It’s a platform to engage guests, address their queries, and showcase your exceptional service.
Food and Beverage – The Heart of Hospitality
Dishing out Delicacies – Culinary Experiences
The way to a guest’s heart is through their stomach. Exceptional culinary experiences can leave an everlasting impression on guests.
Exemplary Bar Services
A well-stocked bar, knowledgeable staff, and a comfortable environment can set your hotel apart from the competition.
Employee Training – The Key to Hospitality Excellence
Training for Perfection – The Foundation
Employee training is the foundation of excellent service. Training programs should instill hospitality values and provide the necessary skills to serve guests effectively.
The Importance of Ongoing Training
Regular training sessions ensure that employees are up-to-date with industry standards and prepared to provide outstanding service.
Infographics and Their Role in Hospitality Education
Visual aids such as infographics can be a powerful tool for presenting hospitality tips for hotels. They simplify complex information and make learning more engaging.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I improve my hotel’s hospitality?
Invest in employee training, personalize guest experiences, maintain high cleanliness standards, and leverage technology for seamless service.
What role does technology play in enhancing hospitality?
Technology can streamline check-in/out processes, provide personalized communication, and even offer keyless entry. It’s all about enhancing the guest experience.
Why is ongoing training important in the hotel industry?
Ongoing training keeps staff updated with the latest industry standards, helps them develop new skills, and ensures a consistent guest experience.
What are some effective ways to personalize guest experiences?
Remembering guest preferences, offering customised packages, and acknowledging special occasions are some ways to personalize guest experiences.
How can infographics be used in the hotel industry?
Infographics can visually present complex data or instructions to both employees and guests. They can enhance learning and communication.
What is the role of food and beverage services in hospitality?
F&B services significantly contribute to a guest’s overall experience. Exceptional food, drink, and service can create memorable experiences.
A hotel’s success is directly tied to the quality of its hospitality. With these comprehensive tips for hotels, you’re ready to elevate your service, enhance guest satisfaction, and carve a unique identity in the hospitality industry. Remember, the heart of hospitality is service, and service is all about creating a memorable guest experience.
Stepping into the charming world of bed and breakfasts, or B&Bs, is an exciting and often rewarding endeavor. Opening your own B&B can be a dream come true, but it also takes a considerable amount of hard work, foresight, and strategic planning. Understanding how to navigate this journey can lead to the successful operation of a business that does more than provide accommodations—it offers a unique experience that guests treasure and come back to, time and again. Here is your guide to running a successful bed and breakfast. Let’s discover how to run a bed and breakfast successfully.
Understanding the B&B Industry
Before embarking on your B&B journey, it’s crucial to know what you’re getting into. The bed and breakfast industry is a facet of the larger hospitality industry, but it has a unique charm that distinguishes it from typical hotels or motels. B&Bs are typically smaller establishments, often housed in historic or otherwise unique buildings, and offer a more intimate, personalized experience for guests.
The Distinct Nature of B&Bs
B&Bs diverge from the standard hotel model, embodying more of a homely atmosphere. Typically, these establishments have fewer rooms, often between four and eleven, which allows for a more personalized interaction between the hosts and the guests. Many B&Bs are located in buildings with historic, architectural, or cultural significance, contributing to the distinctive experience guests enjoy.
Unique Selling Points of B&Bs
B&Bs often revolve around unique selling points (USPs) that differentiate them from other accommodation options. These USPs can range from the property’s history or architectural style, the distinctive local cuisine offered, a charming location, or even special activities and experiences arranged for guests. Identifying and leveraging these USPs is critical in successfully marketing a B&B.
The B&B Demographic
Understanding the demographics of typical B&B patrons is vital. Generally, B&B guests value experiences and are often willing to pay a premium for a personalized service, local charm, and uniqueness that standard hotels can’t offer. Many are couples, though some B&Bs cater to families, business travelers, or specific interest groups, such as bird watchers or hikers.
Choosing the Perfect Location
Like any real estate venture, location is key in running a successful bed and breakfast. Your B&B’s location can significantly impact its profitability and overall success. A B&B in a tourist hotspot, a location with historical or cultural significance, or an area of outstanding natural beauty can attract more guests.
Tourist appeal: The location should have some sort of draw for tourists. This could be natural beauty, historical significance, cultural attractions, or a hotspot for events and festivals.
Accessibility: Your B&B should be easy to reach. A location close to a major road, an airport, or other transportation hubs can increase your property’s appeal to travelers.
Safety: The location should be in a safe neighborhood. Guests should feel secure when staying at your B&B.
Availability of local services: Proximity to amenities such as restaurants, shops, and attractions can be a major plus for your B&B. Guests often appreciate the convenience of nearby services.
However, it’s not just about the appeal to potential guests. Legal considerations such as zoning laws, licenses, and permits should also be factored into your decision-making process. It’s important to fully research and understand these local regulations before committing to a location.
Designing the Guest Experience
Arguably, the most essential aspect of running a successful bed and breakfast is the experience you provide to your guests. This experience encompasses not only the physical environment—comfortable rooms, clean facilities, charming decorations—but also the services you offer and the atmosphere you create.
Every detail, from the quality of the breakfast you serve to the thread count of your sheets, contributes to the overall guest experience. Personal touches like homemade cookies in the room, maps and guides of the local area, or a welcome note can make guests feel special and cared for.
Investing in Marketing and Online Presence
In the digital age, an online presence is a non-negotiable aspect of running any business, including a bed and breakfast. The first place most people look when booking accommodations is online, often through booking platforms, review websites, or the B&B’s own website. Thus, investing in a strong online presence can significantly improve your B&B’s visibility and attractiveness.
A well-designed, user-friendly website that showcases your rooms, amenities, and unique selling points can help draw guests in. Additionally, actively managing your listings on booking platforms, and encouraging guests to leave reviews, can significantly boost your online reputation.
Develop a Responsive and User-Friendly Website
Your website is often the first impression potential guests will have of your B&B, so make it count. A well-structured, responsive, and easy-to-navigate website can be a powerful tool in converting website visitors into booked guests. Your website should not only be visually appealing but also provide useful information, such as available rooms, amenities, prices, location, and contact details.
Ensure your site is mobile-friendly. With the majority of travelers using their smartphones to research and book accommodations, a mobile-friendly website is a must.
Leverage the Power of Social Media
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are excellent channels for promoting your B&B. Visual content shines on these platforms, so use high-quality photos and videos of your rooms, your delicious breakfasts, and your unique selling points. Engage with your followers, respond to comments, and create a sense of community. Social media isn’t just a platform for broadcasting—it’s a two-way communication channel.
Remember, consistency is key in social media. Regularly update your pages with fresh content to keep your audience engaged and your B&B top of mind.
Take Advantage of Online Booking Platforms
Online booking platforms like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Expedia are a great way to reach a broader audience. These platforms already have a large customer base looking for accommodations, making them an effective channel for visibility.
Ensure your listings are complete, accurate, and appealing. High-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and updated availability calendars are a must.
Encourage and Manage Online Reviews
Reviews play a crucial role in the online reputation of your B&B. Many guests rely on reviews when choosing where to stay. Encourage your guests to leave reviews on popular platforms like TripAdvisor and Google, as well as on your social media pages and your website if possible.
However, gathering reviews is just the beginning. It’s crucial to actively manage these reviews, responding to both positive and negative feedback. Thank guests for their positive reviews, and address any negative feedback with grace and professionalism.
Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Optimizing your website for search engines helps increase your site’s visibility in search results, making it easier for potential guests to find you. SEO involves various tactics, including keyword optimization, quality content creation, and building backlinks.
For a B&B, local SEO is particularly important. Make sure your business is listed on Google My Business, and optimize your website for local search terms (e.g., “bed and breakfast in [your location]”).
Mastering the Financial Aspect
Running a successful bed and breakfast isn’t just about providing excellent guest experiences; it’s also about ensuring that your business is financially sustainable. This means you’ll need to master budgeting, pricing, and financial forecasting.
A well-managed budget ensures that your revenue is higher than your expenses. Remember, running a B&B involves various costs, from property maintenance and utilities to food and labor. Also, you’ll need to set your room rates to be competitive but profitable.
Ensuring High Standards of Cleanliness and Safety
High standards of cleanliness and safety are paramount in the hospitality industry. Beyond the basic expectations of cleanliness, B&B owners must be aware of safety regulations and ensure that their property is up to code. Regular safety audits, including checks on fire safety equipment, emergency exits, and food handling practices, are a must.
Maintaining a clean and safe environment is not just a legal requirement but a key component of the guest experience. A B&B that prioritizes cleanliness and safety will quickly earn a good reputation, resulting in more bookings and repeat customers.
Becoming an Excellent Host
While running a B&B might seem a lot like running a small hotel, there is one aspect that truly sets it apart—the personal touch. B&B owners often live on the property and interact with guests on a daily basis, adding a personal, homey element to the experience.
Being an excellent host involves being friendly and accommodating, but also respecting guests’ privacy. It’s about creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes guests feel at home, yet also provides the luxury of a getaway.
Provide Stellar Customer Service
Providing top-notch customer service is a cornerstone of the hospitality industry. In a B&B, the host plays a central role in delivering this service. From the moment guests arrive to the moment they leave, they should feel cared for and valued.
Respond promptly and graciously to requests or complaints, go the extra mile to make guests feel comfortable, and anticipate their needs before they even ask. Remember that small gestures can have a big impact. Something as simple as offering a cup of tea after a long journey or providing a local map marked with interesting sights can greatly enhance a guest’s experience.
Consistently Improving Your B&B
Finally, running a successful B&B involves constant improvement. The hospitality industry is dynamic, with evolving customer expectations and trends. Regularly seeking feedback from your guests and keeping up with industry developments will help you continuously improve your offerings and stay competitive.
A successful B&B is more than just a place to sleep; it’s an experience, a home away from home. With thoughtful planning, hard work, and a passion for hospitality, you can make your B&B a welcoming haven for travelers and a thriving business for you.
Remember, success doesn’t happen overnight, but with diligence and dedication, your B&B can flourish into a successful business, rewarding not only in monetary terms but also in the joy it brings to you and your guests.
With over four million hosts globally, Airbnb has drastically changed the hospitality industry. But as more people list their spaces, competition is intensifying. To stand out, hosts need to understand how to optimize their listings for higher visibility and bookings. In this article, we’ll delve into different strategies for Airbnb optimization to help your listing rank higher. Find out how to drive Airbnb optimization strategies and insights, consider reading this comprehensive article.
Harnessing the Power of Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when potential guests are scanning through Airbnb listings. The photos of your space create the first impression, and it’s crucial to make that impression count. High-quality, professional photos can drastically improve the attractiveness of your listing.
Investing in professional photography for your space is worth considering. Ensure your photos are bright, clear, and showcase the best aspects of your space. Don’t forget to highlight unique or distinctive features, like an amazing view or a stylishly designed interior.
In addition to overall quality, the quantity of photos matters too. Provide various photos covering all areas of your space – bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, kitchen, and any outdoor spaces. This helps guests visualize your space and understand exactly what they’re booking.
Crafting Compelling Titles and Descriptions
Next to photos, your listing’s title and description are crucial elements for attracting potential guests. The title should be catchy, succinct, and include key features of your property, like the type of space, location, or unique attributes.
Your description, on the other hand, should be comprehensive, engaging, and highlight what sets your space apart. Detail your space’s unique characteristics, any special amenities you offer, and what guests can expect from the surrounding area. While being descriptive, it’s also essential to remain accurate and honest to prevent misunderstandings or disappointments.
Airbnb values hosts that are responsive and communicative. Fast response times to inquiries and booking requests not only show that you’re a dedicated host but also improve your response rate – a factor Airbnb’s algorithm takes into account when ranking listings. A good practice is to respond to any message or request within 24 hours, but the quicker, the better.
Accumulating Positive Reviews
Reviews play a massive role in your listing’s visibility. High-quality, positive reviews signal to Airbnb’s algorithm and potential guests that you provide an excellent experience. Encourage your guests to leave reviews after their stay, but remember that the best way to secure positive feedback is to provide a memorable stay.
If you do receive less favorable reviews, it’s important to address them professionally and promptly. Constructive responses to negative feedback can show potential guests that you’re committed to improving their experiences.
Pricing Your Space Competitively
Pricing is a delicate balancing act – price too high, and you may discourage bookings; too low, and you may raise doubts about the quality of your space or even lose potential earnings. Your pricing should reflect the value you offer compared to similar listings in your area.
Airbnb’s Smart Pricing feature can be a helpful tool. It adjusts your price based on factors like demand, location, type of listing, and guest reviews. However, it should be used as a guideline rather than an absolute rule.
Embracing Instant Book
The Instant Book feature, which allows guests to book your space without needing pre-approval, can give your listing a significant boost. With Instant Book, you can increase your chances of securing last-minute bookings, a frequent occurrence among Airbnb guests.
Ensuring Frequent Updates
Regularly updating your listing, particularly your availability calendar, shows that you’re an active host. Airbnb favors up-to-date listings in their search rankings, so ensure to block off dates when your space isn’t available and open updates as soon as you know your space will be open.
Completing Your Listing
An incomplete listing is a missed opportunity. Ensure all sections of your listing are filled out, including amenities, exact location, house rules, and the space’s description. The more detailed your listing, the more likely it is to match guest preferences, positively impacting your visibility in search results.
Achieving Superhost Status
Airbnb’s Superhost program rewards hosts who provide excellent guest experiences consistently. To earn Superhost status, you need to meet several criteria, including high response rates, a high number of stays, excellent reviews, and low cancellation rates. Achieving Superhost status is a surefire way to improve your listing’s ranking.
Providing a Variety of Amenities
The amenities you offer can significantly affect your listing’s attractiveness. Basic amenities like Wi-Fi, heating, and workspace are expected by most guests. However, offering additional amenities like a full kitchen, in-unit laundry, or unique features like a hot tub, can differentiate your listing and appeal to more guests.
Accuracy in your listing is paramount. Misleading information about your location, amenities, house rules, or space can lead to cancellations, negative reviews, and a lower search ranking. Ensure all the information you provide is accurate and up-to-date.
Accepting More Bookings
The more booking requests you accept, the better. A high acceptance rate is a positive signal to Airbnb’s algorithm. This doesn’t mean you should accept every single request, but aim to accommodate as many potential guests as possible.
Remember, optimizing your Airbnb listing is an ongoing process that requires testing and adjustment. But with these strategies, you’re on your way to improving your listing’s visibility, attracting more guests, and potentially increasing your earnings. So take the time to implement these practices and stay patient as your Airbnb success grows.
In the ever-growing world of Airbnb, having an optimized listing is no longer just an option; it’s a necessity. Mastering the art of Airbnb optimization requires commitment, understanding, and consistent execution. It’s all about creating a balance between presenting a compelling, honest representation of your space and delivering a superb guest experience.
Remember, the key elements to focus on are high-quality photos, engaging titles and descriptions, prompt communication, gathering positive reviews, competitive pricing, regular updates, detailed listing information, striving for Superhost status, offering a wide array of amenities, maintaining accuracy, and accepting more bookings.
While this might seem like a lot, each aspect contributes to the larger picture of creating an irresistible listing that ranks higher, attracts more guests, and ultimately, drives more bookings. Keep in mind that each change you implement brings you a step closer to becoming a top-ranked host on Airbnb.
As you embark on or continue your Airbnb journey, patience and persistence are your allies. Changes might not reflect immediately, but over time, these strategies will mold your listing to stand out in the Airbnb market. Happy hosting!
The hospitality industry is highly competitive, and with the increasing reliance on online bookings, it’s essential for hotels to have a strong online presence. Search engine marketing (SEM) is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your hotel’s website and increase online bookings. In this article, we’ll explore the key components of a successful SEM strategy for the hospitality industry.
What is SEM?
SEM stands for search engine marketing, which is a form of digital marketing that involves promoting a website through paid advertising on search engine results pages (SERPs). SEM can include a variety of tactics and channels, including pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, display advertising, and social media advertising.
Why is SEM important for the hospitality industry?
The hospitality industry is highly competitive, and with the increasing reliance on online bookings, it’s essential for hotels to have a strong online presence. SEM can help hotels to increase their visibility in search results, drive traffic to their website, and ultimately increase bookings and revenue.
How to increase your online hotel bookings
Increasing online hotel bookings is critical for the success of any hotel, and there are several strategies that hotels can use to drive more bookings through their website. Here are some effective strategies for increasing online hotel bookings:
Improve Your Website User Experience
The user experience of your hotel website can have a significant impact on the number of bookings you receive. Your website should be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and optimized for mobile devices. It should also load quickly and provide users with all the information they need to make a booking, including room availability, rates, and amenities.
Implement a Strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). A strong SEO strategy can help to increase the visibility of your hotel website and drive more traffic and bookings. This can include optimizing your website content for relevant keywords, building high-quality backlinks, and optimizing your website for local search.
Use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
PPC advertising is a paid advertising strategy that can be highly effective at driving targeted traffic to your hotel website. With PPC advertising, you only pay for clicks on your ads, making it a cost-effective way to drive more bookings. PPC advertising can be targeted to specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, making it an effective way to reach potential guests who are most likely to book a room.
Offer Special Promotions and Deals
Offering special promotions and deals can be an effective way to incentivize potential guests to book directly through your website. This can include discounts on room rates, free upgrades, and special packages that include additional amenities. Special promotions and deals can help to differentiate your hotel from the competition and drive more bookings.
Utilize Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing can be an effective way to promote your hotel and drive more bookings. This can include creating engaging content on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and using social media advertising to target potential guests. Social media can also be used to engage with guests, respond to customer inquiries, and build brand loyalty.
Partner with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
Partnering with OTAs like Expedia, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor can be an effective way to increase the visibility of your hotel and drive more bookings. OTAs can provide access to a large audience of potential guests and can help to promote your hotel through their own advertising campaigns. However, it’s important to carefully manage your OTA partnerships to ensure that they are cost-effective and don’t cannibalize direct bookings.
Increasing online hotel bookings requires a comprehensive strategy that includes improving your website user experience, implementing a strong SEO strategy, using PPC advertising, offering special promotions and deals, utilizing social media marketing, and partnering with OTAs. By implementing these strategies and continually optimizing your approach, you can increase the visibility of your hotel, drive more traffic and bookings, and ultimately increase revenue.
Components of an Effective SEM Strategy for the Hospitality Industry
Keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEM strategy. It involves identifying the keywords and phrases that potential guests are using to search for hotels online and incorporating them into your advertising campaigns. Keyword research can help you to identify high-impact keywords with high search volume and low competition, as well as negative keywords to avoid.
Targeting is a critical component of SEM, as it helps to ensure that your advertising campaigns are reaching the right audience. For the hospitality industry, targeting can be based on a variety of factors, including geography, demographics, interests, and behaviors. By targeting your ads to specific audiences, you can increase the relevance and effectiveness of your advertising campaigns.
Ad copy is the text that appears in your advertising campaigns and is critical for attracting potential guests and driving conversions. Ad copy should be compelling, informative, and relevant to the keywords and audience being targeted. It should also include a clear call-to-action (CTA) that encourages potential guests to book directly on your website.
Landing pages are the pages on your website that potential guests land on after clicking on your ads. Landing pages should be optimized for conversions and provide a seamless user experience that encourages potential guests to book directly on your website. Landing pages should be relevant to the keywords and ad copy being used in your advertising campaigns and should include a clear and prominent CTA.
Budget management is a critical component of SEM, as it helps to ensure that your advertising campaigns are cost-effective and generating a positive return on investment (ROI). Budget management involves monitoring and adjusting your advertising spend to ensure that you are getting the most value from your advertising budget.
Analytics and Reporting
Analytics and reporting are critical components of SEM, as they help to track the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns and make data-driven decisions. By monitoring key metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and cost per acquisition (CPA), you can continually optimize your advertising campaigns to improve their effectiveness and ROI.
Testing and Optimization
Testing and optimization are essential for any successful SEM strategy. By testing different ad copy, targeting, and landing pages, you can identify what works best for your hotel and continually optimize your advertising campaigns for maximum effectiveness and ROI.
How can I measure the effectiveness of my SEM campaigns?
Measuring the effectiveness of your SEM campaigns is critical to understanding how well they are performing and making data-driven decisions to optimize them. Here are some key metrics and tools to use to measure the effectiveness of your SEM campaigns:
Click-Through Rate (CTR): CTR is the ratio of clicks to impressions and is a key indicator of how well your ads are resonating with your target audience. A higher CTR indicates that your ads are more relevant and compelling to potential guests.
Conversion Rate: Conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action, such as booking a room or filling out a contact form, after clicking on your ads. Conversion rate is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of your SEM campaigns at driving bookings and revenue.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): CPA is the cost of acquiring a new customer, and is calculated by dividing the total cost of your SEM campaigns by the number of conversions. Lower CPA indicates that your SEM campaigns are more cost-effective at driving bookings and revenue.
Return on Investment (ROI): ROI is the ultimate measure of the effectiveness of your SEM campaigns and represents the amount of revenue generated by your campaigns relative to the amount spent on them. A positive ROI indicates that your SEM campaigns are generating more revenue than they are costing, while a negative ROI indicates that they are not generating enough revenue to justify the cost.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can provide valuable insights into the performance of your SEM campaigns. It can help you track website traffic, user behavior, and conversion rates, as well as monitor the effectiveness of your SEM strategies.
Google Ads Dashboard: The Google Ads dashboard provides a wealth of information about the performance of your SEM campaigns, including impressions, clicks, CTR, conversion rate, CPA, and ROI. By monitoring key metrics on the Google Ads dashboard, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your SEM campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimize them.
Overall, measuring the effectiveness of your SEM campaigns requires monitoring a variety of metrics and using tools such as Google Analytics and the Google Ads dashboard. By analyzing key metrics and making data-driven decisions, you can continually optimize your SEM campaigns to increase traffic, bookings, and revenue for your hotel.
SEM is a highly effective way for hotels to increase their online bookings and revenue. By implementing a comprehensive SEM strategy that includes keyword research, targeting, ad copy, landing pages, budget management, analytics and reporting, and testing and optimization, hotels can improve their visibility in search results, drive more traffic to their website, and ultimately increase their online bookings and revenue. For more information about SEM strategies for the hospitality industry, consider reading this article about Hotel advertising strategies. By working with a reputable SEM agency that specializes in the hospitality industry, hotels can develop a customized SEM strategy that meets their unique needs and drives results.
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for businesses to succeed. For hotels, this means having a website that is not only visually appealing, but also optimized for search engines. This is where a hotel SEO agency comes in – they specialize in optimizing hotel websites for specific target markets, helping them reach their desired audience and increase bookings.
Understanding the Target Market
Before diving into the specifics of hotel SEO, it’s important to understand the target market. Every hotel has a specific audience that they want to attract, whether it’s business travelers, families, couples, or adventure seekers. Knowing who your target market is will help you understand what they are searching for online, and what keywords to focus on in your SEO strategy.
For example, if your hotel caters to families, you may want to focus on keywords such as “family-friendly hotel” or “kid-friendly activities”, while a hotel targeting business travelers may focus on keywords such as “conference facilities” or “business center”.
What are some common mistakes hotels make when optimizing their websites for SEO?
While optimizing a hotel website for SEO can be complex and time-consuming, there are some common mistakes that hotels should avoid to ensure they maximize their efforts. Here are a few of the most common mistakes hotels make when optimizing their websites for SEO:
Ignoring the Mobile Experience: With the increasing use of mobile devices, it’s essential to ensure that your hotel website is optimized for mobile devices. A responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions is critical for improving the user experience and ensuring that your website is accessible to all potential guests.
Keyword Stuffing: While it’s crucial to include relevant keywords in your website’s content, overusing them can actually harm your SEO efforts. Keyword stuffing can lead to penalties from search engines, and it can also result in poor user experience as the content becomes difficult to read and irrelevant.
Duplicate Content: Duplicate content can occur when the same content is used on multiple pages or when content is copied from other websites. Search engines penalize websites that use duplicate content, as it can be seen as a manipulation of search results. It’s important to create unique content for each page and ensure that any content taken from other sources is properly cited.
Lack of Quality Content: Content is the backbone of any successful SEO strategy, and hotels that fail to produce high-quality content risk falling behind their competitors. It’s essential to create content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience. This can include blog posts, destination guides, and other types of content that provide value to your potential guests.
Poor Website Structure: A poorly structured website can make it difficult for search engines to crawl and index your pages. It’s essential to have a clear and organized website structure that makes it easy for users and search engines to navigate. This includes using header tags, creating a sitemap, and optimizing URLs.
Neglecting Local SEO: Local SEO is critical for hotels that rely on local guests. Neglecting local SEO can result in poor visibility in local search results and a lack of bookings. It’s important to create a Google My Business listing, build local citations, and create location-specific content to improve your website’s visibility in local search results.
By avoiding these common mistakes, hotels can ensure that their SEO efforts are effective and drive more bookings. Working with a reputable hotel SEO agency can also help avoid these mistakes and create a customized strategy for your hotel’s unique needs.
How can I measure the success of my hotel’s SEO strategy?
Measuring the success of your hotel’s SEO strategy is essential to understand how effective it is at driving traffic and bookings. Here are some key metrics and tools to use to measure the success of your hotel’s SEO strategy:
Website Traffic: Monitoring your website traffic is one of the most important metrics to track to measure the success of your hotel’s SEO strategy. This includes analyzing the total number of visitors to your website, as well as the source of that traffic, such as organic search, social media, or referral traffic.
Keyword Rankings: Tracking your keyword rankings is another important metric to measure the success of your SEO strategy. This involves monitoring the position of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords and phrases related to your hotel and its amenities.
Conversion Rates: Analyzing your conversion rates is critical to understanding how effective your website is at converting visitors into bookings. This includes tracking the number of bookings made on your website, as well as the number of leads generated through contact forms or other conversion points.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can provide valuable insights into your website’s performance. It can help you track website traffic, user behavior, and conversion rates, as well as monitor the effectiveness of your SEO strategies.
Google Search Console: Google Search Console is another valuable tool for measuring the success of your hotel’s SEO strategy. It can help you monitor your website’s performance in search results, identify technical issues that may be affecting your SEO, and provide insights into your website’s search traffic.
Revenue: Ultimately, the success of your hotel’s SEO strategy should be measured by its impact on revenue and bookings. By tracking your revenue and booking data, you can gain a clear understanding of how effective your SEO strategy is at driving bookings and generating revenue for your hotel.
By tracking these metrics and using tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your hotel’s SEO strategy and make data-driven decisions to continually improve it. Working with a reputable hotel SEO agency can also help you develop a customized strategy and monitor its success over time.
What are some best practices for optimizing my hotel’s website for search engines?
Optimizing your hotel’s website for search engines can be a complex and ongoing process. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when optimizing your hotel’s website for search engines:
Conduct Keyword Research: Keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. Identify the keywords and phrases that potential guests are using to search for hotels online and incorporate them into your website’s content.
Optimize Page Titles and Meta Descriptions: Page titles and meta descriptions are critical components of on-page optimization. Ensure that each page has a unique, descriptive title that includes your target keyword and a concise meta description that accurately describes the content of the page.
Optimize Page Content: Content optimization involves creating high-quality, informative content that is relevant to your target audience and includes relevant keywords and phrases. Use header tags and bullet points to break up content and make it easier for users and search engines to read.
Optimize Images and Videos: Images and videos can improve the user experience on your website and help to engage potential guests. Ensure that all images and videos are properly optimized with descriptive file names, alt tags, and captions.
Ensure Mobile Responsiveness: With the increasing use of mobile devices, it’s essential to ensure that your hotel’s website is optimized for mobile devices. A responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions is critical for improving the user experience and ensuring that your website is accessible to all potential guests.
Improve Website Speed: Website speed is a critical factor in user experience and SEO. Ensure that your website loads quickly by optimizing images, minimizing HTTP requests, and using a content delivery network (CDN) if necessary.
Build High-Quality Backlinks: Backlinks are an important factor in SEO and can help to establish your hotel’s authority and credibility online. Build high-quality backlinks from relevant websites, such as travel blogs and local directories.
Monitor and Analyze Performance: Monitor your website’s performance regularly using tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Analyze key metrics such as website traffic, keyword rankings, and conversion rates to continually improve your SEO strategy.
By following these best practices and working with a reputable hotel SEO agency, you can improve your website’s visibility and drive more bookings from search engines.
In conclusion, optimizing a hotel website for a specific target market requires a comprehensive SEO strategy that includes both on-page and off-page optimization, as well as localized SEO. A hotel SEO agency can help identify your target market, conduct keyword research, and develop a customized SEO strategy to improve your website’s visibility and drive bookings. For more information about hotel SEO, consider reading this article about Airbnb Seo. Remember, having a strong online presence is essential for hotels in today’s digital age, and investing in SEO can help your hotel stand out in a competitive market and attract the right audience.
If your hotel website is not optimised, your content won’t amount to much. The need of the hour is the adoption of right SEO practices, the content on the website should be keyword optimised, informative and engaging. Very few hoteliers adopt good content strategy, such as posting a blog regularly in the resource section. This is a great way to provide travellers the information they need the most such as local sightseeing places, art and cuisine while also improving organic search results. Hotel owners who have adopted SEO optimisation can see it yielding good conversions.
To be successful at marketing your venue or destination on social media, you must start viewing channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as any other ad-supported medium. If your venue is willing to allocate a portion of the marketing budget, you can reach targetable and distinct mass audiences that you never had access to before.
What are the best ways to use social media advertising to get the optimum ROI? How can you be sure to reach your target audience at the right stage of their travel planning?
Here are four tips to help you make the most of your hotel’s social media advertising:
1. Invest in promoted content
You now have to pay to play. Even when you’re posting for an audience that has voluntarily “liked” you. You might have 15,000 fans on your Facebook page, but only a small percentage might actually see a photo you posted if you don’t pay to promote it. Be sure you include content that stimulates every phase of the planning experience. Travelers and planners in the dreaming phase will be inspired by vivid photos of destinations and experiences, while those in the planning and booking phase will be motivated by a concrete offer or specific package that showcases value or creates urgency. For the experiential phase, promote content highlighting your destination, as well as reposting social media content from current guests themselves.
2. Know the unique reach of each type of social media platform
Be sure to choose the platforms that reach your guests and can achieve your campaign goals. For instance, business travelers tend to favor Twitter over YouTube; Pinterest is the best platform for reaching wedding planners and Facebook; and Instagram and Snapchat are the top three channels (in that order) for millennial engagement.
3. Make your social media ads part of a larger multi-channel campaign
For maximum effectiveness, you can integrate ads on social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to coincide with your hotel’s other marketing channels, like email marketing, Google Display Network, or search engine marketing.
Even better, utilize ADARA, Sojern, or other travel ad networks to help your social media ads reap even greater returns. Using first-party data from top travel planning and airline websites, these travel ad networks target users while they’re planning trips. This extra layer of data added to your social media ad campaigns helps to target your audience when they are closest to the booking stage.
4. Target smarter to stretch your budget
Custom audiences allow social media advertising to truly outshine its media predecessors. Using targeting tools on each social media platform can yield big results for even the most limited hotel budgets.
For instance, YouTube’s unique in-market capabilities utilize search behavior to target users who are planning a trip to your destination and suggest videos that will positively influence their choices during the booking process. On Twitter, follower targeting makes it possible for marketers to reach followers of a relevant Twitter handle. What if your ad popped up on the Twitter feeds of all the followers of a celebrity who recently tweeted from your hotel? You can also target the context of individual tweets by selecting keywords, such as “beach” or “skiing” if those apply to your hotel. Facebook allows you to target your email list, but also a “look alike” audience whose profiles match those on your email list.
Social media will continue to drive modern communication. Never before has it been possible to reach so many travelers with so little effort or capital outlay. Experiment with your top two social media channels, use their different targeting tools, and try out different budget amounts. Keep a close eye on your analytics to find which formulas work best for your property. Most importantly, stay up-to-date with your chosen social media platforms, as new features are being released all the time.
Independent hotels are small businesses, and as such they do not have the same abundant resources and corporate guidance enjoyed by the major chains. Instead of benefitting from a nationwide hotel brand marketing campaign, independent hotels must devise and carry out their own marketing strategies based on the quality and style of the hotel, its price point, and who the target consumers are.
Mass Market Promotion
Large-scale online travel sellers have the reach and the marketing power to deliver big numbers when it comes to room nights sold. They have names that nearly every travel consumer knows, with dedicated websites supported by advertising campaigns in markets around the world. They contract both large chains and independent properties, selling hotel rooms at a discount online. The exposure they provide can be invaluable and well beyond the means of any small-business owner to attain independently.
People searching for a room in a given location will look up the available hotels, and yours will pop up as an option. Online travel sellers select properties based on their location, the selection of available amenities, and the ownership’s willingness to provide commissions and special rates.
The use of travel agencies as a selling tool tends to be more of a targeted effort than national mass sellers. Agencies have had to develop in new ways to compete with large online sellers, and as a result, they have turned their focus more toward specialties or market niches in many cases.
For example, some agencies will specialize in a given region, such as an area known for winter skiing, and will provide agents who know that region inside and out: where to stay, what to eat, how to save, and where to shop. These specialized agencies are often a place for independent and lesser known properties to make their case as a viable option versus major chains and costly luxury brands. Specialized agents will take the time to learn the property and convey its unique marketing message to the traveling public in a way that mass market sellers will not be able to.
Discounting works much the same way in the hotel business as it does in any other: Potential guests are promised rates that are lower than normal for rooms booked under certain conditions. A hotel might offer discounts for extended stays or frequent visits, for example, or during slow periods. In theory, these promotions all lead to more room nights sold and to customer loyalty. They fall short with pass-through travelers who will visit only once, and who cannot, therefore, benefit from long-term rewards. In this case, the use of a one-time special-rate discount is key, no matter the season or the potential for a future stay.
Independent hotels that work with local government tourism boards to promote special rates on tourist maps and in welcome-center brochures stand to gain a lot of traffic even from the one-night-in-town set. The costs of ads or sponsorships in tourism literature is relatively low, and the potential for return is high.
Promotional strategies that incorporate the needs of more than one business are often cheaper to put together than solo marketing efforts, and appeal to a broader audience. For instance, if you sign a partnership marketing agreement with a local surf shop, you will gain an audience of surfers that you might not otherwise have been able to reach. The surf shop in turn gains the attention of all of your guests, some of whom may be considering their first board purchase or lesson. When the two businesses go half on the costs, the expense is reduced and the reach of the strategy can extend further than an individual campaign would have been able to. Promoting local businesses is always beneficial to local business as a whole, and the same goes for hotel marketing.
Value-added promotions are appreciated by sellers and clients alike. They provide rewards to the customer for a basic night’s stay and help make your property easier for travel agents to sell. For example, if your competition is offering a double room for $100 per night, and you are offering a comparable room with free breakfast, airport transfers, and Internet access, your property just jumped to the top of the list of options for many travelers. You probably already have Internet service at the hotel, airport transfers will only apply to some guests, and breakfast is inexpensive to put together. The cost is low but the potential for return is high. Value-added items can be customized to fit the style and amenities of the hotel, and can include such amenities as spa treatments, dinners, champagne or free parking.
Your social media platforms, email marketing, website and paid advertising all work together to brand your hotel and sell your rooms.
Have you thought about your digital advertising strategy for the upcoming year, yet? If not, it’s time to think about moving beyond the status quo and trying some new things.
While digital advertising is an ever-changing arena, and each year ushers in a whole new set of trends, you can take control of your digital marketing today.
To help you, we’ve prepared this article of hotel digital advertising trends and predictions.
Before we get started with the specifics, let’s touch on a few important points to guide you as you begin to develop your digital strategy:
Humanize Your Hotel
In today’s marketing climate, consumers want to have touch points with your hotel brand. They see your hotel’s reputation as a reflection of what they can expect when they stay the night.
While you may have great service and great rooms, if you aren’t focused on building a relationship with your visitor online, you’ll likely lose the booking. To humanize your hotel online, tell stories, share anecdotes, be funny and most importantly, have empathy with your guests especially when they have a bad experience.
If you aren’t currently spending money on digital advertising, the time is now. In this article we’ll touch on some of the best ways to do this in the coming year. You want to be where the consumers are, and that is online. Traditional advertising is hard to track, so eliminate or cut this budget down so you have money to spend digitally.
Test and Evaluate
Use the tools available to you to analyze what’s working and what’s not. Change things up as necessary. Test, measure, evaluate and revise are the keys to your hotel’s digital advertising.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the basic tenants of digital advertising, let’s get to the details.
The Continued Rise of Social Media Advertising
As we turn the corner into a new year, you can be assured that social media is a viable, worthwhile marketing strategy, and one you should use. Here are several trends we anticipate taking root:
Social media will continue to cater to users’ sense of immediacy. People want in the moment updates. If this truly catches on, scheduling your posts days in advance will have to take a back seat to instant updates.
Buy buttons in paid social media advertising will be huge. Facebook and Pinterest have already launched buy features. In fact, their mobile users can use one click to purchase something without leaving the app. Imagine the possibilities for your customers.
Diversify Your Social Media Marketing
For years, Facebook has been the biggest game in town when it comes to advertising your hotel. Facebook will remain at the top of the heap, but it’s a good idea to diversify your paid social media advertising.
Paid advertising options are available on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat as well as Facebook.
What do all of these options mean for you? They mean multiple platforms for you to promote content, engage customers, build relationships and drive website traffic.
As in other marketplaces, competition encourages innovation and quality. Look for new features on all the platforms in the coming year.
Video Marketing is the Hottest Trend
If content is king, video marketing is the emperor. Visual storytelling will dominate, as hotels can share videos across social networks, through their website and with their email marketing.
Some of you may be scratching your heads and wondering just how a travel-related video can help your bottom line. Here are some ways you can stay on top of this hot trend and use it to your advantage:
Inspire your future guests. Use video at various stages of the planning process. The hotel booking process for most customers takes several trips to the website before completion. A well-crafted video can help expedite the process.
Share videos on social media and use paid advertising to promote the video. You’ll create brand awareness and increase your SEO with links to your website.
Industry experts predict that travelers will look less to travel review sites and more toward first-hand video stories of your customers’ experience at your hotel.
Video ads also take hold. Google is soon to incorporate video advertising in their search results, and this has great potential for paid advertisers. Once this happens, video is certain to drive hotel advertising. So, it’s time to start creating your videos so you stay in front of this trend.
Retargeting Leads the Way
Retargeting is a trend that may sound complicated, but it’s one you should take advantage of. Here’s why:
Booking abandonment, the rate at which your website visitors abandon reserving your hotel, is staggering. Studies show the rate to be more than 65% for hotels.
An Expedia study found that in the 45 days leading up to a booking, a consumer may visit as many as 38 websites. It’s important to know when and how to engage and re-engage with these people. Retargeting is an exceptional tool for converting users and helping them with their complicated decision-making process.
Why do people abandon your website in the middle of booking a reservation? Here are a few of the reasons:
They were just looking and in the middle of the research process.
The price was too high.
There were technical issues or the process was too long.
While this may seem all gloom and doom, that isn’t necessarily so. With retargeting, you can reach back out to these customers to engage them and attempt to meet their needs.
We mentioned the personal relationship earlier. Retargeting allows you to re-engage with your website visitors in a personalized manner.
Social media retargeting – show ads to people on social media after they’ve left your site. For example, a consumer tries to book your Dallas hotel. They leave and go to Facebook. Your ads automatically retarget them on Facebook and show them the hotel room they might stay in at your Dallas hotel.
Email retargeting – a subtle reminder to users who started booking your hotel and stopped.
Retargeting is a paid digital advertising medium and one worth a look.
Search Engine and Display Advertising
This year brings you customers who split their time online between multiple devices. In their journey to booking a room at your hotel, they may view your website in an app, on a smartphone and a desktop computer. Their voyage towards conversion is fragmented.
Every encounter they have with your hotel online creates a digital pathway leading to the next interaction and the next, until ultimately they are engaged, and they take action.
Because of this, expect display advertising to take a greater role than search advertising as part of your paid search strategy. While search ads continue to drive business to your website, display advertising has come of age, and the reach potential is enormous.
When potential hotel guests are searching for a place to stay, will you show up in search results? With paid advertising, the odds are much better. We recommend allocating a generous budget to both search and display ads.
Search engine advertising, including paid search and display ads, is essential to your digital advertising success. Let’s look into the ongoing importance of paid search and display advertising.
Hotel marketing teams will move towards more automated marketing. Just what is it? It’s the use of technology to manage and automate the process of converting consumers into paid hotel guests.
Consider the past hotel guest who booked your hotel over spring break last year. With automated marketing, you can reach back out to that person two months prior to spring break with a message that it’s time to make their reservations.
This trend, if you take advantage of it, will save you time and money while allowing you to customize messages to your hotel guests or website visitors.
Marketing automation is part of the relationship building we discussed earlier. It humanizes your hotel and allows you to communicate personally with your customers.
Digital advertising is expected to become the number one media category, according to a comScore report released to CNBC earlier this year. Next year is the year to allocate a budget for digital advertising.
You’ve learned about a few of the digital advertising trends for your hotel including social media advertising, search engine advertising, retargeting and video marketing.
We’ve given you a lot of information about these digital advertising trends for your hotel. One of the most important things to remember is that they are all interwoven and co-dependent.
One digital advertising trend affects another and vice versa. Your social media platforms, email marketing, website and paid advertising all work together to brand your hotel and sell your rooms.
As the hospitality industry continues to grow and independent properties gain even more traction, it’s key to look into the marketing trends that will define the year. Marketing is a powerful tool that has the ability to make or break a business, or even an entire destination.
Take Iceland, for example, which did such a great job at marketing that they now have an overtourism problem. While Iceland might be the extreme example, it just goes to show the power of marketing. No matter your property size or marketing budget, there are a lot of things you can do to put your property in an opportunistic position.
Local SEO has gained traction over the past few years as internet directories and review websites have become more popular. Examples of local SEO opportunities include Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and even large OTAs like booking.com or Expedia.
Local SEO’s goal is to help the person searching for something find relevant, local results. Usually, when we discuss local SEO, we’re talking about how people within a certain destination find results in that destination. But in the case of travel, local SEO comes in handy when people are planning their trips as well.
Almost all online directories, including Google My Business and Bing Places for Business, are free. All you have to do is claim your listing and fill out your profile in its entirety. Usually, this includes your address, phone number, operating hours, and a description which you should use to include relevant keywords. Relevant keywords could include things like “best hostel in Belgium” or “cozy cottage in New Hampshire” – anything that will help potential travelers find you. For help on local SEO and what to prioritize, we suggest using Moz’s library of content.
Facebook is seeking to rebalance users’ feeds. Therefore, posts that are passively consumed, like a static image that has been turned into a video to “trick” the feed will soon lose their virality. But, there is a way around this, and that’s through building a community and then tailoring your content to them. Facebook will rely more on engagement metrics, like shares and comments from friends, to gauge what to place in your feed. Posts that promote discussion and action will win.
This means hard sales and pushy posts will not do so great (they haven’t in a really long time). Whether we’re talking about Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, the focus should turn to building an audience of people who care about your business and feel a certain way towards it. It doesn’t and shouldn’t push a sale, or booking, or whatever else. In the long run, what’s most beneficial is sharing knowledge, tips, insights, and building community. Consider engaging your employees in the Tik Tok account of your hotel as well.
Some ways to build community: create a Facebook group for past guests to connect with one another or for people who are huge brand advocates. Or on Instagram, find relevant hashtags and comment thoughtful things on peoples’ posts to build an audience.
Reputation Management Continues to Be Important
Whether we like it or not, reputation management is here to stay for all business types. Review websites, like the ones we discussed in the local SEO section, have incredible power. Not only are they some of the top results on search engines, they’re actively sought out by travelers. Most consumers today will not book without first looking at at least one review site. And most of the time, if they’re booking on an OTA, they reviews will show up right alongside the “book now” button.
Reputation management is part proactive and part reactive. To be proactive, properties should directly ask happy customers to leave reviews – therefore positively padding your online presence.
Regardless of whether a review is positive or negative, someone from your property should respond to the review. In both the case of a positive or a negative review, a response shows that your property cares and listens to feedback. For negative reviews, always try to find a resolution, ideally off the public forum.
For 2018, create an action plan for reputation management that includes both asking for positive reviews and responding to any and all reviews on the most important sites.
Content Becomes the New Driver of SEO
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand. It has been a long time since creating a super optimized website with static content has been enough to get discovered online. Over the past few years and countless algorithm changes – websites that make frequent changes and have regular quality updates are in the best position to do well. Share timely content, city guides, local events, and other interesting information about your property and destination. You don’t have to be extremely well versed in technical SEO tactics to set yourself up for success. Do keyword research on a topic, and include them in your posts. Moz has fantastic learning center to get you started.
Communication is key and live chat windows, either on your property’s website or through another platform like Facebook Messenger, are among the newest and most effective communication channels
Over the years, we’ve been introduced to countless different mediums of communication. From SMS and email to Facebook Messenger and chatbots, there are countless ways for customers to get in contact with you.
Live chat works well because you’re able to supply information and fulfill requests in real time, unlike emails which may take longer to respond to. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are poised to be two of the next big things, especially in service industries like hospitality. The possibilities with artificial intelligence are endless, and we’ll soon fewer paper guides and maps in properties. Technology already has the ability to replace in-room guides, but artificial intelligence will take it to the next level and for guests to experience a new level of personalization without even talking to someone.
However, the chatbots and the artificial intelligence that will power them are still a couple years away from making their prime time debut, especially for independent properties.
A Wider Distribution Network
Specifically regarding the travel industry, one of the best ways to market your property to a wider audience is through distribution partners. Online travel agencies (OTAs) big and small offer properties of all types and sizes the ability to reach new and expansive audiences.
Large OTAs like Expedia, Hotels.com, or Booking.com cater to millions of travelers every single day – even if you are compared side-by-side to nearly every single one of your competitors. And then there are smaller, more niche distribution channels which help your property reach people of certain demographics or travel types. Take for example a company like Hipcamp. They cater to the young, adventurous camper who is looking for their next off the beaten path destination.
It’s always interesting to look back on the trends that were predicted for the previous year and see how things panned out. We were told video would dominate; mobile use would surpass desktop; reputation management would take off, and that print media wasn’t dead. While the last one is still up in the air, for the most part, those hit the mark or are well on their way.
So, here we go again. Feel free to check back in at the end of the year and let me know if my batting average should put me into the All-Star game or have me sitting on the bench.
1. OTA Advertising
OTAs have become synonymous with high fees, large percentages of business, and just overall market dominance with large ad budgets. For most properties, if you’re not playing ball with the OTAs, you are either in extremely high demand and don’t need to or you don’t have a clue. In recent years OTAs, specifically Orbitz and Expedia have introduced their own ad platforms. This isn’t necessarily new (and Orbitz was acquired); however their capabilities and importance in the advertising channels are increasing rapidly.
Typically these advertisements operate as part of the hotel search in a “sponsored placement” position (see image below). When clicked, the ad would take the visitor to the landing page for the hotel on the OTA. This is a great strategy for combatting low occupancy with targeting for specific periods. Most recently though, Expedia is offering the ability to advertise and link directly to the hotel’s website. Yes, it comes at a slightly higher CPC, but the opportunity is to drive direct and bypass the OTAs while using the OTAs.
Another notable mention in this space is TripAdvisor’s new system allowing for sponsored search. We expect this to be a focal point for TripAdvisor’s sales team in the coming year and beyond. So if you haven’t heard from them yet, don’t worry, you will!
2. Experiential Marketing
Sounds ominous, but it’s pretty straightforward; you want to sell an experience. Staying at a hotel isn’t just about a good night’s sleep. It’s about making memories. The goal of experiential marketing isn’t to pre-promote your hotel, but to compel them to lock in that memory so they can talk about it to their friends when they get home. Get where this is going?
Yep, Facebook, Instagram et al are highly effective in communicating more immersive experiential content. If potential customers see others who have stayed with you plastered all over their pages, and they look like they’re having a wonderful time doing cannonballs into your pool, that can go a long way. Denise Wong, the president of George P. Johnson Experiential Marketing, says: “Experiential work is where the rubber hits the road—where advertising meets the Amazon review.” You want your guests experiencing your hotel, not just dropping by.
3. Mobile-First Indexing
Google doesn’t sit still very long, which has its benefits and annoyances. But, like the IRS, it doesn’t really matter whether you like their changes or not. What matters is that you learn them and figure out how to take advantage of them. Their new deal is that your website performance on mobile is soon going to be primary and desktop performance secondary. No one is quite sure when this will happen, but Travel Tripper says that the rumor is it will formally appear later this year. Like a successful vacation, it’s all about planning.
If you’ve been dragging your feet for the last ten years and still don’t have a mobile-friendly version of your website, things may get a lot worse for you very soon. Google is going to base your search rankings first and foremost on your website’s mobile performance. The bottom line is, if you have somehow managed to appear on the first page of a results page without optimizing for mobile, you can probably kiss that goodbye.
In their summary, Moz.com drew up a simple diagram of the comparisons between the old and new systems, and how they will differ from each other:
4. Voice-First Speech
Ah, the good old days. Remember when you had to be able to type to find anything on the web? We may never be completely rid of the screen-first module, but the speech component in many devices like phones, tablets, and now Amazon’s Echo have really gained traction. Search Engine Land reports that 40% of adults now use voice to search at least once each day. Once again, your search engine optimization (SEO) is probably going to need some tweaking.
When SEO first gained prominence, and the importance of keywords began to evolve, we learned that when typing searches into Google, your search phrases didn’t need to be grammatically sound, as long as the keywords were intact. For example, Forbes notes that when typing, you might search for “luxury hotels in Beverly Hills,” while when speaking you would phrase it as a question such as “What are the best Beverly Hills luxury hotels?”. The most important takeaway from all of this is that long-tail keywords are going to become more important when distinguishing between these two types of search, and they will create less competition in site rankings. Google’s goal is always to connect the search with an appropriate result, and spoken details will make that outcome more likely.
5. Beacons and AR
Apparently, “reality” as a concept has lacked diversity. In addition to virtual reality, the hospitality industry now engages with terms like augmented reality (AR). Expect to see growth over the next few years.
Beacons are essentially the technology or the carriers for AR and other features. Most beacons for hotels are in the form of an app, which gives them access to hotel features. For example, Starwood Hotels & Resorts has an app for preferred customers whereby they can receive a digital key that unlocks their rooms. Virtually every major hotel chain offers rewards program apps giving guests access to local discounts, along with offers on food, drinks, spa, and golf. Beacons are a great option if you’re looking to incorporate new technology into your hotel and impress your guests with your amazing ability to adapt to change.
AR is a form of animation that happens in real time right on the device you’re using. You must have not only the technology for the device but the external hardware to connect to it to achieve real-time animation. Holiday Inn used AR with four different Olympians in its UK properties to promote the summer 2012 Olympics. Hospitality Technology suggests that hotels could use their print brochures and turn them into AR, or to incorporate AR into a hotel restaurant’s menu. Check out this example of a brochure utilizing AR technology.
6.Curated Videos and Photos
Let’s say you have a choice between reading a page of content and watching a two-minute video. Both have the same exact content. I don’t know about you, but I’m all over the video. More hotels are now taking video to the next level by curating or assembling existing online videos and presenting them in an organized fashion.
For example, if your hotel is near a major attraction, consider gathering existing videos and images from other sources and setting up a page on your website devoted exclusively to that venue. We aren’t all located in Orlando, but every town has some unique aspect it can highlight. Just be sure to credit the sources.
For those of you who still think videos are ineffective, check out some of these stats:
The average person retains about 95% of the content from a video versus 10% when reading it.
60% of people prefer to watch a video, given the option.
Video promotion is proven to be 600% more effective.
And here’s the big one. The average website visitor spends 88% more time on websites that offer video.