Content Marketing Strategies for Your Hotel
Hotel Marketing Strategies for Your Hotel
Hi, I’m Darlene Rondeau, vice president for Leonardo’s online merchandising group. Today, I’m going to outline some content marketing best practices for hotels and accommodation providers.
According to Google’s travelers rated decision report, 66% of people watch content related to travel while they consider taking a trip and most travel brands are investing big money in it. 84% of travel brands already have custom content on their homepage, yet the average conversion rate on travel sites is just 3%.
So, what’s going on with that? Well, it’s likely that a lot of these websites are focused on the wrong things. In this video, I’ll provide five tips on how to improve your content marketing strategy to drive more direct bookings.
First off, you want to attract quality traffic to your website. By that I mean, travelers who actually intend to visit your area. Quality visitors have a lower bounce rate and are stickier: once they arrive at your website they stay around and shop around longer, which results in a higher conversion opportunity. So, how do you attract these prized visitors?
My first tip is to understand your unique value proposition, whether that’s location, amenities, your on-site restaurant or something else. And then wrap your story around it. Instead of worrying about what Airbnb, Google or TripAdvisor is doing, concentrate on you. Identify those characteristics that make your hotel special.
Craft your story. Give shoppers an immersive visual tour of your property and focus on your target markets. Let’s take a look at an example of one hotel that does this very well. The Blue Bay Inn is a lovely 27 room hotel by the Jersey seaside, conveniently situated just 40 minutes from Manhattan by boat.
As you can see from their website, their value proposition is targeted, unique and relevant to their kind of guests; someone who wants to be close to the water and/or close to Manhattan. When I search for “Jersey Shore Hotel Near Manhattan” the Blue Bay Inn appears on the first page. Then when I click through, my search query further validated “
A luxurious boutique hotel on the Jersey shore just 40 minutes away from Manhattan.” You can see that Blue Bay provides information on nearby attractions like the Twin Lights Historic Lighthouse, Henry Hudson Trail and the SeaStreak Ferry, and other things travel shoppers like me may be searching for.
They also use a good blend of content: words, pictures, and videos to tell their story. Together, these create an emotional connection that travel consumers are likely to remember as they move through their shopping journey. Now that you’ve created a story that will sell the shopper on you: what makes your property and experience unique, people need to be able to find you.
And this brings me to my second tip: consider what long-tail phrases consumers are searching for. Long-tail queries have three, four, five or more words and account for 80-90% of your website traffic.
When the search engine discovers the property that is the best match for the shopper, it’s reward is a prominent place on the results page. You see, search engine optimization is all about creating relevant information that matches what consumers are searching for and this is trending towards longer and more specific, aka, long-tail queries.
Now, for my third tip: focus on what actually matters to your ideal guest. Travel shoppers want to see detailed descriptions and photos of your property and guest rooms taken from multiple angles.
And naturally, everyone likes a deal, so present them with an offer. Ensure that at minimum, these three things are included on your website. Special offers don’t have to mean discounted rates. If you’re known for your bar scene have a drink special to bring guests into the lounge area to increase ancillary revenue. It’s all about knowing who your audience is and tailoring an offer and content to them.
When it comes to images on your website, show them what they’re looking for. Leonardo did an extensive analysis of more than 500 million pieces of media to learn what consumers were most interested in. Here’s what we discovered. The top 10 most viewed images on travel websites include guest rooms, restaurant, recreation, the lobby, a map, business center, pool, other amenities, your property’s exterior and the bar or lounge.
So tip number four is to lead with guest room images on your homepage. A lot of hotels opt for an exterior shot but that’s not your money shot because that’s ninth in the top ten of what people really want to look at.
Now, let’s quickly touch on content creation. Who can help you tell your story? The narrative of your property can be told by anyone; your marketing department staff, your guests.
Find a way to encourage everyone to share their stories. Many hotel marketers use their TripAdvisor reviews as the basis to create their stories. Consider this: if you’re a 100-room hotel at 60% occupancy, with an average of 1.4 guests per room, that’s 31,000 annual storytellers that could be sharing your narrative for you.
My fifth and final tip: remember that consistency is the cornerstone of any brand. So, once you’ve developed your story, repeat it everywhere, including your website, OTAs, social channels and mobile. Consumers will perceive you as trustworthy and credible, which will lead to more bookings.
Let’s review my five content marketing tips. One, understand your unique value proposition and wrap your story around it. Two, consider what long-tail phrases your ideal guest is searching for and build relevant content that relates directly to it.
Number three, keep your story focused on what matters to the consumer; include detailed descriptions of your property, guest room images and special offers. Number four, lead with images travel shoppers want to see: your rooms, not you exterior.
And five, tell your story consistently and everywhere, including social channels and on mobile devices to build confidence that your property is the right choice for them.
Remember, content marketing is all about communicating the value of your property to hotel shoppers and differentiating yourself without directly selling to them. Be helpful, be unique and most importantly, be authentic. I’m Darlene Rondeau, thanks for watching.
Professional Hotel Consultants, Hotel Rescue is on a mission to optimise profits for hotel and accommodation businesses
From increasing occupancy, driving online visibility and conversions to implementing profitable pricing, we work with Boutique Hotels, Motels, B&B’s and Serviced Apartments to make this happen.
“The key for us was that it was a relatively low investment cost when compared to the potential upside we were looking to achieve. The program has certainly paid for itself and some, and really, we’ve only just begun!”
“I’ve been operating this motel for the past 35 years and I’ve seen the industry rapidly change of late, and Michael has helped me adapt and change my business so I can remain competitive”