This blog is the final installation of “The Local Marketing Dos and Dont’s,” and we’re focusing on the hospitality industry, specifically hotels. Even though hospitality and travel imply having customers come in from outside of your local vicinity, local influence and brand presence is just as, if not more important in this vertical as any other. With search being the starting point for 60% of travelers, your hospitality can’t afford to miss this conversion opportunity.
Local Pages and Locators
DO move from “mobile responsive” to “mobile optimized”
As of this month, Google has officially begun the roll-out of its “Mobilegeddon” search algorithm update. If your brand has not even gotten to the point of mobile friendliness, this is the first step. For Fortune 500 Brands who haven’t taken any of these steps, the true solution resides within dedicated mobile optimization. And in the hospitality industry, there’s no time to waste. Optimizing location pages is the most immediate way you can rank on Mobile. If you have customers who do a lot of research before booking at your location, or even customers who need a quick stop, cross-channel optimization will keep your brand top-of-mind.
In becoming mobile optimized, your hospitality needs to be highlighting the main points of interest for each of its location pages. If potential searchers are looking for information and don’t have the luxury of doing extensive prior research, you need to give them what they need, when and how they need it through mobile SEO.
Get on par with these top mobile optimized hospitalities by:
Having complete and accurate NAP data (small data) for every local page
Having a clear description of the popular services you offer at particular locations
Implementing structured data, which helps assist with search engine indexation (crawling on Google)
DON’T implement your local pages inside of an iframe
In addition to your data being clear and recognizable for users on local pages, your content and metadata need to be indexable to search engines as well. Tap into the capabilities of your local pages by providing beneficial local content for your busy customers and searchers. This means you can’t make the rookie mistake of withholding any beneficial information from search engines, and definitely can not leave your these pages inside of an iframe. As simple as it may sound, the wealth of data your hospitality can provide through these website properties will differentiate you locally and on SERPs, so you must leverage this content as much as possible. Strengthen the presence of these pages with:
Clear, relevant and simple headers/footers
Strong title tags to encourage clickability
Location-based schema.org markup
Image alt-tags on any imagery inserted into local pages
DO recognize the personas of your travelers
The great part about marketing in the hospitality industry is that, if you know your audience, you can target a variety of different groups of people in different ways. Search Engine Land determined visitors on travel sites tend to be older.
38 percent of visitors are older than 55 years old.
22 percent are between the ages of 45 and 54.
21 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44.
14 percent are between the ages of 25 and 34.
5 percent are between the ages of 18 and 24.
Keeping these stats in mind, there are variations in the way you should be targeting your searchers aside from age demographics.Consider customer search habits, search trends within your region and key interest factors for these different types of searchers. Many hospitality brand managers are unfortunately unable to capture and analyze the key characteristics and demographics of their searchers and potential customers, making it hard to decipher who and how to target. This will give you the opportunity to get more creative with your marketing as well. For example, Marriott has been able to utilize customer data and establish a perks messaging program at scale. While this in opt-in service, it shows the area of opportunities hotel brands have in targeting, engaging and retaining loyal customers.
DON’T syndicate to irrelevant publishers
Customers appreciate brands that can appear in the most convenient places. When syndicating your local data, keep your customers actions and search destinations high priority. Understand what services you provide at the local level such as wireless internet, exercise and pet friendly facilities, room service, breakfast, laundry and valet parking, and syndicate this information to those search destinations. You need a powerful tool that can syndicate to relevant networks for your region to target the right customers. Consider channels like Urbanspoon, TravelShark, Tripadvisor and automotive channels like OnStar, TomTom and Telenav. These types of places are where your mobile customers are. If you’re not there to service them, your competitors will be.
Conversion and Retention
DO publish localized social content
National hospitality chains often times can’t control the social aspect of their locations brand presence. Even if they have location pages established for each hotel, customers will come to these places with specific questions or concerns. And if the brand is outsourcing their efforts to an agency, they might not be able to effectively dig deep and respond or post valuable content to searchers in a timely manner.
Take the reigns on your local-social presence. Make your locations recognizable to customers by paying attention to customer reviews, comments and recommendations. Equip your corporate and/or regional brand managers with a dashboard that helps send out local content and monitor local reviews at the same time. Rather than working to communicate all the wonderful benefits of each of your locations, bringing the efforts in house and using the right presence management dashboard will make all the difference for your internal team, your ROI and your customer satisfaction.
DON’T forget the customer journey
Travelers care about their experiences, and you should too. Both in digital and literal sense, your customers need to feel that your destination was worth the journey. As a local hospitality, showing customers you appreciate them is crucial to bringing them back for more. From their initial search all the way to the end of their stay with you, you have the chance to provide them with the most seamless, enjoyable experience possible. Make sure that every touch point in the path to purchase is optimized for Local. Use your social presence to reinforce customer loyalty and drive visibility toward your brand. If your locations are garnering lots of positive reviews, make sure to get in touch with those customers and establish a loyalty program to keep them coming to any of your locations.
When it comes to building a trusted, loved hospitality, it all depends your data targeting, local properties and social moderation. Use this information to optimize and strengthen your local presence for travelers who journey to your local hospitality destination. If your brand is ready to take local to the next level to get the love it deserves from customers and search engines, check out our latest infographic on the formula for a loved brand: