In order to drive more bookings at a lower cost you need to increase the amount of traffic to your hotel website. To accomplish this, it is important to have a comprehensive search strategy that includes both organic and paid search initiatives.
Leonardo was invited to speak on this very topic at Sojern’s recent webinar “Search Engine Marketing for Hotels: Making Sense of Organic and Paid.” Darlene Rondeau, our VP Best Practices, Online Merchandising focused on a 3-pronged approach to driving more direct bookings:
- Drive qualified traffic to your hotel website through SEO and SEM
- Show travel shoppers how your property will satisfy their needs
- Make booking direct seamless and easy through your website
In this article, we recap some of Darlene’s main discussion points from the webinar, and how to approach your own search strategy to ensure success.
Search Engine Optimization
To improve your organic search rankings, you need to optimize your website content for search. The content on your website is what Google or Bing uses to determine rankings on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) when providing the answer to someone’s search query.
The advantage of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that your hotel is viewed to have a higher degree of trust and authority in the eyes of travel shoppers by being the best match to their search queries. The downside is that it can take a long time and a lot of effort to start ranking on the first page, and for very general head terms like “hotels in Chicago” you will likely never get there.
In Sojern’s webinar, Darlene suggested that instead hotels tailor their SEO strategy to focus on long-tail keywords. These are search terms that comprise of 4 or more words, for example “kid-friendly Miami hotel near zoo.” They’re specific, less competitive (easier to rank on page 1), and transaction based in nature, resulting in higher conversion rates. It still may take some time to reach page 1, but the beauty of SEO is that once you have reached the first page it’s easier to stay there.