From time to time, we feature content written by other thought-leaders in the hospitality space. The following was written by Alex Vere Nicoll, owner of Kudu Network.
Attracting attention to a hotel or hostel has never been easy. No matter where you might be located, competition is stiff and standing out above the pack is crucial to making sure your beds stay full. For a long time, print ads in travel magazines and guidebooks were a popular way to entice travelers. TV commercials, radio ads or even a billboard were all common methods to draw attention to a hotel or hostel. While these more traditional methods of marketing may have been effective 10 years ago, technology has flipped the travel industry on its head. The means by which travelers find their accommodation is now almost entirely through the Internet.
Utilize an Online Marketing Strategy or Get Left Behind!
While most hotels and hostels realize that Internet visibility is crucial to their success, they are often not investing the necessary time and resources to improve their presence online. Many hotels and hostels simply think that signing up for an Online Travel Agency (OTA), such as Expedia, will start brining in reservations. While this is one element of an effective online strategy, it is essential that a hotel or hostel invest in the improvement of their own online assets (website, social platforms, business listings) too.
An Effective Hotel & Hostel Online Marketing Strategy
In addition to managing OTA listings with a channel manager, there are three elements that are important for an effective online marketing strategy:
1 – Website SEO & Blogging: Most hotels and hostels realize that a visually appealing and easy to use website is important. The mistake they make is failing to recognize the value of properly structuring and adding content to their website to regularly increase traffic. If a website is setup well to rank for strategic keyword search phrases in Google and other search engines, the hotel/hostel will reach a far greater audience. A potential traveler to Rio de Janiero might be searching for ‘the best caipirinha in Copacabana’ when they are planning their trip to Brazil. If a hotel or hostel has well written and optimized blog posts with useful travel information like this, they will attract potential travelers to their website who have a good chance of using their accommodation. As travelers and everyone else live online these days, it is crucial to make your hotel/hostel website a resource of travel information in addition to a means of booking a room.
2 – Local Search Optimization: When a traveler searches for ‘hotels in Rio’ the Google search results provide local search listings of all the hotels in the area. These are Google Places business listings that any hotel can create and optimize to better show up during a keyword search. Most hotels and hostels go as far as creating a Google Places business listing, but they stop there. What most hoteliers don’t realize is that, by building citations to these listings on a monthly basis, getting lots of reviews, and strategically setting up the listing to rank for keywords, they can influence the search algorithm to increase the visibility of their listing.
3 – Social Media: Most Internet users spend more time on social media than anywhere else. For this reason, it is very important for hotels and hostels to develop a community to further grow the presence of their property. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google + are just a few of the platforms where ALL hotels and hostels should not only have a profile, but also build a community. This is a very effective way to reach a large audience and give potential guests a feel for your brand.
About the Author
Alex Vere Nicoll is the owner of Kudu Network, which specializes in the creation, execution and management of online marketing strategies for hotels and hostels. For more information on Hotel or Hostel Marketing here’s a useful blog post about 4 Reasons Online Marketing is Crucial for Hostels.