Written by: Cristina García
You must already know the advantages of having your own booking engine. But it is useless to apply all the right techniques to convert customers when you don’t get enough visitors to your hotel website. If you have laid the foundation of what your website should be, it’s time to start applying the online marketing methodology that works best. Now it’s time to Inbound marketing.
As you know, the first Inbound stage is to attract traffic, especially if they are qualified users. Hence the knowledge and research of your potential customers is so important. Because you need visits, but not any visit. You need traffic to have more opportunities to convert into customers.
With that in mind, you should start applying the best SEO practices to get the attention of these users. They will query about their travel plans on search engines. And if you know them well, it will be easier for you to answer their questions, in order to increase your chances to reach the first page of results (SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages) of Google, Yahoo or Bing.
If you had already started with your hotel’s website SEO, you need to do this test. Depending on the result, you will know if you have weaknesses to solve.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal host, based on real data and demographic information, behavioral patterns, motivations, preferences, needs, goals...
On the one hand, by using tools like Google Analytics you can better understand their behavior on the network. Furthermore, through interviews and customer surveys, you will also get relevant socio-demographic information. The more data you get, the better to build profiles and adjust your hotel web content to their real preferences.
Keywords are those words that your buyer personas (potential customers) would write in search engines. That is, the travelling information they could be looking for.
Since nowadays, everyone can access the Internet for information, it is essential for your hotel to investigate your buyer personas’ search preferences. If you have worked carefully to create their profiles, you will notice that your hotel has always had an answer to their needs. It’s a matter of analyzing how they would seek that kind of information.
Consider making a list of keywords based on the relevance for your hotel website. Think that search engines are smart, and today search intent is what counts. So include alternatives and synonyms in your list of keywords.
Also don’t forget to investigate the trends within the travel industry and other that could affect you (business, weddings…). Each hotel should have a distinguishing offer and every buyer persona different needs. So remember to analyze search trends and your potential guests’ behavior on social networks.
Note that there are two types of keywords to rank for a better place on search engine results pages:
With short tail keywords only the best known hotel chains and the strongest OTAs are on the first search page.
With the long tail ones a website has easier access to the first page. Use the keywords that have high search volume with lower competition.
To attract visits to your site, you have to investigate their needs within the travel industry and categorize keywords based on the Traveler's Journey stages, that is, how close they are to book:
Dreaming (awareness stage): keywords based on consumer travel preferences in your area.
Planning (consideration stage) based on the different solutions, travel experiences and activities offered in your area.
Booking (decision stage) based on the purchase decision and therefore the options that your hotel’s brand can offer.
One of the most affordable ways to boost traffic on your hotel website is a blog. Today there are tools to help you manage this section.
Try writing quality content with those keywords that you set for each stage of the Traveler’s Journey. Generally, you will find that they are related to interesting local festivals or events in your hotel; what to do nearyby; local culture and the best gourmet restaurants; FAQs and tips for traveling to the area, etc.
Keywords have to be a summary of each page content that shape your website. And each page includes a meta tag that relates to the keyword which can optimize it. Remember to include them, so search engines can find your pages more easily.
Also, you have to include the same keyword in the URL, page title and meta-description. These are your web page’s features that appear in the listings of SERPs.
Also, use the same keyword in the body of that page and the images alt-text so that search engines navigate through the content more easily and to categorize it.
Include internal (from your own site) and external (from other reputable sites) links in the content that will help you build your hotel’s website credibility.
Make sure your website is UX-friendly, intuitive and easy to navigate for the user who enters like visit. Thus the conversion process to the next inbound stage would be simplified.
Now travelers when planning their vacation, move through different devices to complete quests and tasks. 80% of Internet users are using a Smartphone and the conversion rate on mobile grew by 88% in the travel industry. Therefore, your website should be easily navigated on any screen size. Be sure to use a responsive design and have a smooth navigation.
Your hotel website can be found in two ways. Through blog content, or by a direct search for hotels in your region. In the latter case you must determine the keywords that people use to find your website.
Google “rewards” hotels that work local SEO, for this reason, sign up for Google My Business. Set also your website in the best online directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages and others related to your industry, in order to increase the number of links and references to your web.
The correct distribution platform will show the right content to the right person at the right time. That way you will get more traffic and more potential guests. Think that social networks are the way to create a dialogue with your potential customers. You need to be updated with your followers on these platforms and keep checking the different channels to see which one works better to share your content and build your popularity.
Search engines follow links between pages to see how they are related and which helps them analyze the level of authority of that particular web. The links pointing to your site are called inbound links (quality is better than quantity) and they are part of external SEO.
Build relationships and connections with other websites and opinion leaders on the travel industry, they can collaborate with content. Sharing this will generate new visitors and more links.