Search Engine Marketing Strategies for Hotels
The hotel industry of late, is really facing some stiff competition from B&B’s and specifically, Airbnb. The competition is unavoidable by the fact that both B&B and Airbnb are going all out to cut themselves a chunk of the hotel’s share of tourist accommodations. Further and to make matters worse, hotel marketing is entirely different from the typical B2B, given that they have a particular set of challenges they have to overcome, including but not limited to:
- Having to advertise more complex services and products to the market. This is unlike most B2B’s that focus on just a single product or service.
- The cost per conversion (CPC) for hotels is higher than that of most B2B. The typical cost per conversion for hotels is between $50 and $200. The rates are slightly lower for most B2B
- They have to create landing pages that service, not sell. Most B2B landing pages are designed to capture leads, which will then turn into sales later on. This is never the case with landing pages for hotels.
- Market segmentation – within the hotel industry, there are different levels or classes of hotels. For instance, if you run a five-star hotel, your approach in hotel marketing will differ from that of a three-star hotel because you are targeting different clients.
So with all the competition and challenges, hotel marketing may not be a walk in the park. However, it is possible to vastly improve your results once you know what to do.
SEO Strategies for Hotels
Search engine marketing is one of the approaches hotels can use to market efficiently and decimate the competition within the various niches. Since this is a widely diverse arena with many possible methods, it’s imperative to focus your efforts on specific approaches that have been proven to give excellent results time and again.
Discussed below are some of the search engine marketing strategies that hotels can use to gain more clients:
Using Location-Based Hotel Ads
The use of location-based keywords has been on the rise in marketing other service-based industries. As such, hotels can also use this tactic to increase their organic reach and overall traffic. This calls for adjusting the keywords used in the content as well as in off-page optimization to include the specific location of the hotel. This makes it easy to have the hotel showing up when local searches are done or when people in other places are searching for hotels located in that particular area. This only makes sense right?
Destination Events Search Terms
Local events and attractions are known to attract new visitors every year. Hotels can tailor their search engine marketing to focus on destination events as search terms. Every time destination events occur, there is an accompanying need for hotel services and tailoring your inbound search terms to this, will increase chances of gaining incidental business from these events.
Online Reviews and Reputation Management
Online reviews like those found on Expedia and TripAdvisor and reputation management may not be deemed as a strategy – per se – for hotel marketing, but they are vital for the continued acquisition of hotel customers. Unknown to many hoteliers, the reviews sites are compelling in the eyes of search engines. If you have lots of reviews (good or bad) the chance increases that these reviews will show up every time someone is searching for hotel reviews in that particular niche. This makes it very important for every hotel to keenly watch the reviews and if necessary, hire online reputation management services to manage all the bad mentions they might have on the internet.
Now that mobile users have exceeded desktop users in internet access, it goes without saying that every business must have their websites and online content optimized for mobile devices. For hotels specifically, it makes more sense to have a mobile-friendly website since most of the searchers will be using devices such as mobile phones and tablets to do their searches on the go.
In addition to increasing your reach by having mobile-friendly sites, you will also be getting a boost in SEO because Google is now favoring mobile-friendly sites over those that aren’t optimized for mobile in their searches.
Some other strategies worth considering in hospitality marketing include testing multiple media sources to see which ones are performing best for your hotel. Think: avoid being a one-trick pony and like investments, focus on diversifying to truly succeed. Carry out well-coordinated social media campaigns for lots of social proof in the local area. And investing in a professional on and off-page search engine optimization ongoing campaign.
Heading into the 2018 tourism season, if you can’t easily be found on the first page of Google these days, you’re on a real slippery slope for sure! Now would be an ideal time to up your game.
Thanks for reading!
Also published on Medium.