Hotel Marketing Coach
Neil L. Salerno, CHME, CHA
Internet Marketing Articles
Building Traffic (SEO)
Mastering The Art of Online Sales
Through Hotel Website Content
By: Neil Salerno – Hotel Marketing Coach
The content on your proprietary website performs two separate, and extremely important, functions. The first is to attract visitors to your site through organic search; second, to generate interest and drive visitors to your site's booking page. Two reasons why hotel site content must be the primary focus of a site's design and why site content must be carefully shaped and written to produce sales.
Although many hotels are using search engine pay-per-click advertising to supplement site traffic, PPC cannot replace a good site design; a design which supports organic search and second, one that encourages reservations sales. Some unscrupulous or unknowing site designers, use pay-per-click advertising to compensate for a poorly planned, search deficient, and dysfunctional website.
The result is a waste of money because the mission is to capture reservations, not just visitors. Get your site right first.
Organic Search Elements
To many hoteliers, designing content for search is simply choosing the right keywords for the site's search meta tags. The fact is that several major search engines no longer rely on keyword meta tags at all. More sophisticated search engine algorithms have transitioned from reading meta tags to analyzing site content (text). Their primary goal is to provide "relevant" results on searches performed.
Relevancy is the magic elixir for search engines. They focus on site content to thwart the efforts of "black hat" unscrupulous website designers and so-called SEO specialists, who used non-relevant, but popular, keyword meta tags just to drive visitors to a site which has no interest or relevance for site visitors.
The new rules for working with search engines require melding or incorporating keywords into the text content of the website itself. This makes the actual composing of your site's text content the single most-important element in your site's design. Yes, content is still king.
Beware of using the same keywords too often, this can result in some severe penalties from the search engines; this is called spamming. Composing text content isn't rocket science, but it does take experience and expertise to do it properly. Remember every page should be designed as a landing page for search.
Many of the elements, which contribute to organic search, also serve to produce reservations.
Important Elements Which Contribute to Search & Sales
Location, Location, Location
The first and foremost design element necessary for search and sales is highlighting the hotel's location. Now, don't confuse this with the hotel's address; location is far more significant. Travelers always choose their destination first. They choose hotels near where they want or need to be. A good location description will highlight the hotel's location in relation to major businesses, attractions, event venues, and trade shows.
Packaging and Promotions
Everyone wants a deal and packaging is a great way to provide strong perceived value to drive visitors to your booking page. Destination-focused packaging also serves both a search and sales function for your site. Because packages are highlighted on your site, it allows your webmaster to include additional keywords for search. This is a great site booster.
Third-party endorsements contain a strong message. Providing guest comments directly on your site adds plausibility and credibility to your site. The best vehicle to do this is the TripAdvisor widget, which will display comments made about your hotel directly on your site. For those skeptics, experts agree that guest comments add credibility to hotel websites.
Every hotel website needs a site map, no matter how large or small the site may be. Major search engines use them to index your site. Sometimes, the little things count too.
Collaborate With Your Site's Webmaster
There are many more elements which will augment your site's visitors and drive more reservations. Work with your webmaster to develop programs and promotions for your site. If you haven't reviewed your site in the last three months, shame on you.
Make sure that your webmaster understands that you expect sales results and not just visitors. Set goals to improve your site's productivity and create content to achieve those goals. It does not happen by itself; make it happen for you.