With the rise of digital and Google travel search, the customer’s journey has grown increasingly complex. Hotel managers need not only to service guests, manage rooms, availability, and pricing. They are now also expected to compete for guests in new channels and digital communities that emerge every day.
Research shows that 87% of today ́s online travel consumers visit a hotel website before making a reservation. However, according to Google research, these same consumers visit an average of 12 websites via multiple devices across multiple before making a hotel booking.
So how can your hotel stand out from the competition? To remain competitive means constantly being up-to-date with the latest digital marketing trends and customer behaviors.
OTAs have invested heavily in digital marketing and technologies to engage online travelers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Research shows that 70% of online hotel bookings come from OTAs.
So how can hoteliers reassert themselves in the customer journey to get in front of online travelers and increase direct bookings?
Google has significantly increased its own assets in the online travel marketplace
and continues to threaten OTA dominance. Google search now plays a major role early on in the travel booking journey. In fact, research shows that 51% of accommodation searches start on the search engine.
Furthermore, nearly 50% of all searches in Google have local intent, according to Search Engine Roundtable.
Meanwhile, Google reports that “Near Me” searches have grown 150% faster than traditional, local-based searches. Therefore, it is imperative that you ensure your hotel has a strong local SEO presence.
Research and establish local keywords: You need to consider local intent. What would people search if looking for a local hotel?
Revamp your Google My Business listing: Hotel listings can now customize their services and amenities in the ́Hotel Attributes ́ section. However, this is only available on desktop.
Encourage customer reviews: Google uses reviews as another factor in their ranking of your website if you are a local business. While you are not allowed to monetize customers for reviews, you can encourage them through social media channels or other means
social media is critical, have a professional-looking presence on facebook and other platforms, and allow guests to engage over twitter. To use the social network to amplify your message, ensure that good experiences your guests write about are
shared on the different digital communities.
For photos, you may see the best results using instagram and for videos a dedicated YouTube channel. And don’t forget email: it is still the most widely-used mechanism to share
itineraries and ideas of trips.
Google research reveals that nearly 50% of mobile users are comfortable researching, planning, and booking an entire trip to a new travel destination using only their smartphone.
However, those who have a negative brand experience on mobile are 62% less likely to purchase from that brand in the future.
If you have deployed a mobile-optimization strategy, you will realize that mobile consumers have a much more focused behavior. They are looking for your hotel’s address, phone number, or want to book a room for tonight or tomorrow night. Hence, the experience to conclude those tasks must be optimized.
To find out how to utilize SEO, optimize your site and generate effective social media engagement , join BetterBrand Academy today.