Hospitality Marketing Best Practices To Be Found By More Travelers
When marketing your lodging company the first question you have to ask yourself is how are travelers finding your property? Are you showing up on Google searches, in OTAs or are people finding you by word of mouth? Hospitality marketing can seem complicated at times with so many options but there are a few best practices you can use. Here are some hospitality marketing best practices to be found by more travelers online.
- Search Engine Optimization
- PPC Optimization
- Marketplace Listings
Search Engine Optimization
Any time you can get traffic for free is a good day! With the increased monetization of search engines and competition with OTAs and metasearch sites, this can be difficult to do. That’s not saying you can’t get a good portion of travelers finding your website from organic search.
To start out, every page on your website should be optimized for search. You want to make it as easy for Google to read and rank your content. Google’s algorithms are increasingly tailored to getting the best results for web surfers. This means if you optimize to make the user experience great you should be included on more search pages.
One of the more powerful strategies to be found by travelers is blog posts. A well thought out blog can help your business get out in front of travelers organically in places that you normally wouldn’t be found.Here are some hospitality marketing best practices to optimize for search.
- H1 Tags: 1 per page
- H2, H3 subheaders
- Keyword optimization
- Alt Tags on Images
- No duplicate content
Search Engine Optimization is necessary to be found organically but it’s getting tougher with Google’s move to more of an ads based platform. There are more instances where you need to pay to play. It is very important to show up early in search results. With many travelers never making it past the ads it’s essential to show up. So with that being said here are some key ways you can optimize your paid search campaigns.
- Have the right bidding strategy
- Optimize for the right keywords
- Target based on geography
- Optimize landing pages
The importance of marketplace listings can not be denied. It’s important to keep your property in front of as many travelers as possible. Whether it’s an OTA, a Metasearch site or an advertising site like Resortsandlodges.com travelers prefer a marketplace to compare and contrast amenities and pricing. Although we always prefer direct bookings, hotel websites just don’t have the reach that these marketplaces have.
Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
OTAs are what every property manager loves to hate. They charge commissions up to 20% and control the entire booking process. They can make reservation agents and travelers lives difficult by having to go through them to change a reservation. In the end, they do this so that they own the customer and you can’t get around them.
OTAs can make life difficult but there is no denying their effectiveness. They spend billions in marketing each year and in many cases give travelers a great interface to book their stay. This is why so many properties and travelers use OTAs. If you’re not on the right OTAs you’re probably losing out on revenue. With that being said, here are some best practices to being found on OTAs.
- Compelling Images
- Clear description of amenities
- Competitive Pricing
- Keep data current
With the high commissions be sure you’re optimized to gather customer data during their stay so that the next time they book, they book direct.
Metasearch is on the rise especially with the added importance of Google Hotel Ads. It’s important to be found on these sites as they can be a great tool for travelers. Metasearch aggregates listings from multiple sites into one. If your property is listed on an OTA it’s most likely found on a metasearch site. This example in Google Hotel Ads shows that multiple listings can show up for one property.
With that being said the cost per click on metasearch sites is way less than any commission to an OTA. That is why it is so important to show up with the option to book direct. Not only that but once they do book direct you can own the customer experience. Overall metasearch can be a great value compared to OTAs. Here are some hospitality marketing best practices to keeping your metasearch listings up to date:
- Competitive pricing so travelers book direct over OTAs
- Updated My Business Profile
- Compelling Photos
Another option is to get listed on ResorsandLodges.com which is our marketplace here at TravelNet Solutions. What sets ResortsandLodges.com apart is that it isn’t a traditional OTA. Properties pay a monthly rate and the listing page redirect directly to your website so that travelers can book direct. You own all of the guest data and the user experience. ResortsandLodges.com ranks for thousands of keywords and has on average 7 million visitors a year. You can get listed here.
Overall travelers should be able to find your property in as many places as possible. It’s preferred to be found organically but in today’s travel landscape, that won’t always be the case. That’s why it’s essential to be found in paid search and on marketplace sites. With your hospitality marketing you should make it as easy as possible for travelers to book direct but even if they don’t, you now have the opportunity to get them to book direct at your property the next time.