Search Engine & Web Marketing tips for Hotels
I develop a significant amount of work with small and medium enterprises in Italy, many of them are hotels. Tourism plays a significant role in the Italian economy.
Hotels have come to terms with the idea that their future is online although many are simply not prepared for (and cannot cope with) the sweeping changes of the online world.
I presented the results of my web site optimization activities at a meeting in Siena last week. It was a selected audience of four and five star hotel managers and owners.
By the expressions on their faces I could see it was difficult to follow what I was saying. The questions raised after the 5 minute presentation [a presentation for hotels cannot be any longer in my opinion] confirmed my suspicion as to just how far away most people are from web marketing and search engines.
Many are still talking about keywords and meta tags as if it were medicine the doctor prescribes.
My message to the audience was that it’s time to move on, keywords and meta tags are not enough to keep your hotel on the SERPs – you need more, much more than that.
So I wrote a preliminary list of tips for hotels I thought would be worth blogging about, hoping others will join the conversation and provide suggestions to add to this short:
- Monitor the performance of your hotel listings. Read your statistics and identify important referrals
- Don’t waste time listing your hotel in every portal you find on the web: Many of them will prove to be a big waste of time.
- Set up a blog on your hotel web site – don’t try with a free one. By the time you understand that it is an important marketing tool for your hotel it will be too late and you’ll face very high costs to migrate the content you have created to a new platform on your web site, not to mention the loss in popularity and links you’ll face, having to start all over again …
- Document local activities of interest to your target readers. You need to transform your hotel web site into a mini information portal people can turn to find out what is happening in your area
- Integrate your accommodation with other activities to make your offer more attractive and different from that of your competitors. You’ll avoid direct competition on pricing
- Increase your interactivity by using RSS – now that Internet Explorer 7.0 is out and RSS is an integrated feature there are millions of people interested in the new orange button they have and will want to put it to use – make sure they can when they visit your hotel on the web, use it for your special offers and last minute pages
- Subscribe to feeds dealing with travels where you can get some ideas on what others are doing and find your own way forward. Go to any major search engine – like Big G – and search for travel. You can subscribe to that query and receive updates as new information is made available – here’s the query you can paste into your RSS reader:http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch_feeds?hl=en&q=travel&ie=utf-8&num=10&output=rss
- Work on you hotel’s web site every day. The more you update it, the better your chances are it will surface on the SERPs even for the more competitive queries. Of course just updating it will not do the trick, but it will certainly help.
As I write I am thinking to myself that this all sounds very simple and down to earth, but the truth of the matter is that many hotels turn to their web sites only to update their price listings once a year.
This is a preliminary and incomplete, but enough to get you started.
Would you like to add some points to my list ? There’s still plenty of room to grow …