October 22, 2018 · Stuart Butler
Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 97 – 8 Great Ways to Gain More Bookings Through Destination Information
Should your hotel website have a section dedicated to area information, or is it even worth competing with other sites who may already have that content? In this episode of the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast, the Fueligans discuss their best practices for having destination content on your hotel website and how it can help drive more direct bookings.
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STAT OF THE WEEK:
*US Adults planning a trip in the summer (Arival – June, 2018)*: https://www.arivalevent.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Arival-Summer-Traveler-Pulse_2018.v2.pdf
- 75% of travelers will book a tour/attraction/activity upon their arrival to the destination.
- Younger travelers (age. 18-24) show more interest in “experiential tours” (food; arts; drink-related).
Isn’t Destination Content The Job Of DMOs & OTAs?
DMOs (destination marketing organizations) typically promote the destination as a broad spectrum. Instead of creating generic content give the content on your site a unique, personalized voice catered to your audience.
OTAs: You know more about your area than the OTAs. Create personalized content that sets yourself apart from the OTAs.
Why hotels should put more effort into building/promoting local information to guests:
- Building your property’s authority and credibility as a trusted guide/source to the area.
- Building relationships with nearby attractions and points of interest can potentially create incentives for potential guests (contests, giveaways, special stay packages, etc.)
- Rank higher for non-brand terms in search engines → catch more people near the top of the conversion funnel who know where they want to travel, but haven’t decided on where they’re going to stay.
- Gives your property a competitive advantage against other properties
- Gives the guest another incentive to book direct vs. booking through an OTA or AirBnB/VRBO etc.
- Encourages word of mouth exposure
- Builds a tighter relationship with your guests which leads to higher guest retention and more loyalty
- Improves the guest’s experience!
8 Best Practices to Gain More Bookings Through Area Information Content
1. Speak With A Unique Voice
Travellers aren’t looking for the same old story about your local area. They want to know something new, or unique, or special. Your content should be written with a sincerity and a level of authority that only a true local could portray. Be opinionated, tell the guest what your favorite picks are, be genuine and, above all, be helpful. By building trust, you will deepen the relationship with your guests.
- Manager’s Picks
- Hidden Gems
- Local’s Favorites
2. Create Personalized Travel Guides
These can be based off of interests (e.g. shopping, outdoors, shows), visitor demographic (e.g. families, couples, honeymooners), or events (e,g local concerts, festivals), etc.
- This is where you can get specific with your target audience. Don’t just create a travel guide based on the outdoors; create a travel guide based off of hiking, fishing, and so on.
Go a step further and find out why your guests are visiting your destination. You may see a trend. Use this as a starting point for your content creation.
3. Offer Unique Experiences Through the Property
Create a one-of-a-kind local experience through your property’s services.
- Examples: Beach activities for kids; yoga on the beach or in the park; hiking tours; bar crawls; bike rentals, campfire stories; etc.
Even if it’s something as little as shuttle services to and from popular attractions near your hotel.
4. Leverage Your Location
Let visitors know what’s near your property. This is an opportunity to rank for non-brand search terms (e.g. “hotels near atlanta aquarium”; “walt disney world hotels”) and is a top of funnel type strategy. Include as much information as possible on these pages like prices, phone #, and hours. If you have the time and budget, possibly develop a map of the area to show people how close you are to these places.
Along with price, value, and quality, the location – specifically the vicinity to why the person is coming to your area – can be one of the biggest factors when a traveller chooses a property.
5. Build Partnerships with Local Businesses
This not only builds trust amongst local businesses who will recommend you within their circle of influence, but can lead to incentives for guests.
- A hotel partners with an upscale, romantic restaurant: create a honeymoon/romance package that includes discounted room rates at the hotel and free drinks at the restaurant.
6. Gain More Exposure Through Paid Search Ads
For Google and Bing: target non-brand keywords, like “hotels near six flags” or “hotels around disney world”. Use this space to promote the location of your hotel.
- Utilize ad extensions
For non-brand campaigns based on attractions → use the aforementioned attractions pages as landing pages for your ads.
- Create CTAs, booking buttons, links to rooms, etc. on the pages.
7. Promote Local Events/Attractions Through Social Media and Email
Giving people a reason to come visit your area is a sure way to boost business in the shoulder seasons. Take a break from slamming your email database with deal and try the helpful approach by showing people what’s going on this weeked.
Paid: Facebook Ads
- Create a campaign specific to an event.
- Example: Concerts → target concertgoers, age groups, types of music interests, etc.
- Target people based on interest.
- If your property is near an area with hiking trails → target people with interests in hiking, etc.
Non-Paid: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
- Promote local happenings like festivals, events, or highlight local businesses.
- Promote your own services; images of the destination (like the sunset over a beach) with catchy, clever headlines.
- Use relevant hashtags, tags, etc. to reach a broader audience.
8. Provide Area Information On Property
Many guests will arrive on property without a planned itinerary. Have your front-desk prepared to offer their personal opinions on the best places to eat, but make sure that it’s genuine and personalized. Have them be observant of the type of guest. Do they have kids, how old are they, etc. Also, have them engage the guests with qualifying questions such as “What type of food are you in the mood for?” or “what’s your favorite food?” then tailor the answer to the guest’s specific needs.
If you’ve already put the effort in to develop local guides and maps for your website. It won’t take much more effort to produce the same content in printable form. Hand these out to guests at check-in and possible incorporate coupons or discounts to create even more value.
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