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SEO Is Critical - IF You Know Your Industry Well

If you are an owner or operator of a hotel, we're here to tell you: SEO is critical for your business.

Why is this? Because the competition is crushing in your industry.

The first thing to understand is that, as a hotelier, you are part of a much larger business niche called the "hospitality industry." This field is made up of all sorts of businesses: those offering lodging, food and beverages (which includes bars, nightclubs and restaurants - even diners!). Also in the hospitality industry are travel resorts, entertainment venues (casinos, gaming establishments, cruise lines), and timeshares, bed and breakfast locations and hostels.

So much competition - from so many different sources - for the same types of customers.

Not only that, but within the hotel industry itself, there are many different types of hotels:

  • Stand-Alone, Full-Service Hotels: These establishments provide a full range of services, including dining and entertainment options, and are often found at resorts and beach areas.
  • Venue-Connected Hotels: Those located in casinos, theme parks, cultural districts, and sporting facilities.
  • Specialty/Niche Hotels: We could include in this group motels, bread and breakfast, historic manor houses and village inns, overnight stay commuter accommodations, youth hostels and the like.

Here's the bottom-line: The hotel industry is absolutely crushed with competition. If you don't find a way to stand out from your competitors (who are not just other hotels but also reams of establishments who are competing for your ancillary services) your business will never be successful.

Hotel Owners: Where Do You Need to be Visible?

OK, so I need to stand out from my competitors? How do I do that? You need VISIBILITY. The question is, where and how do you need to be visible?

Traditional radio, TV or print advertising? That's not going to cut it. Why? Because when people are doing travel planning they are not likely to reference an advertisement that they saw or heard. It's not impossible, of course, just not very likely.

Today's travelers - whether sightseers, business travelers, or just long-distance commuters - will research online when they are making plans.

This is the environment that you need to be visible in. Want proof? Just ask around. Or you can refer to the eMarketer website, which noted (way back in 2016) that almost 50% of survey respondents said they used search engines when beginning to research a trip, around 20% relied on information on that facilities website, and almost 14% used an online travel agency.

And, remember that was back in 2016 - online searching has only blossomed even more within the travel/hospitality industry.

How SEO Can Get You to the Top

Let's face it, at the end of the day your hotel needs more calls and more bookings, as bookings are the only thing that brings you revenue. That's your bottom line.

And SEO is the key to getting increased revenue. How so? Because it is a well-known open secret that websites listed at the top of the listings in search engines get more "clicks" - because more people see those listings, than say, those listed 2 or 3 pages further down.

Let's repeat that: Most clicks in the SERP's (Search Engine Result Pages) go to the top-tier sites.

And this is whereSEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the key, because properly executed SEO can move a site that is currently hidden way down deep in the SERP's, over time, higher and higher in the rankings, and the higher your site goes the more its chances of being seen. The top 1-3 sites can get 30-40% or even more of the total clicks on that page! SEO for hotels is a must in today's online environment.

How Would You Like to Increase Your Revenue Through Direct Bookings?

Truly, in the travel and accommodations niche, the growth of third-party booking platforms has been a game-changer. Sites like Expedia and Travelocity have helped many hoteliers to grab a bigger share of the hotel business. And a good experience there can lead to repeated bookings from repeat customers.

But there is a downside: it is expensive to use these platforms. That means that you are losing revenue to your booking platform service provider(s).

But what if you could get more people to come to you directly - without having them visit a third-party travel search site? No, you don't need to ditch those sources of bookings, but you do need to maximize your direct bookings because that revenue comes to you free, without making listing fee payments to platforms.

When people visit your site because they have seen it in the SERP's, and not through some form of advertising (which is what third-party providers are essentially providing you), we call that ORGANIC traffic. And organic SEO is our core expertise here at Posirank, and it takes real skill to rank sites this way, because anyone can just pay for placement, but sites will only rank well when search engines value them highly - more highly than their competition.

Here Are Some Tips For SEO Quick-Wins

Based on our extensive experience in helping hotel operators gain additional visibility here's a short list of things to take a look at - and fix - if you want to enhance your sites SEO:

Take a Hard Look At Your Content. Industry surveys tell the same story, over and over again: site visitors come looking for important information that they do not find. Visitors to hotel sites are looking for things like

  1. Tour Guides/Sightseeing Maps
  2. Restaurant Lists
  3. Operating hours - Especially for the Front Desk
  4. Check-Out Times
  5. Availability of Parking and/or Baggage (Bellhop) Service

So the first thing to do is to make sure that your website is providing this kind of content. And it needs to be kept up-to-date (especially for things like community events and celebrations calendars).

How Well Does Your Site Function? You not only need to have great content on your site, but it has to be easy-to-find. If your navigation is confusing, or your site has links that are out-of-date or are broken (404 or other errors come up) then your visitors will not be pleased. Remember: Your customers' customer service experience begins when they stop by your site, even before they spend any money or even book a call. Make sure your site pages load quickly (here's a LINK where you can check this) and that they look good and work well on mobile devices as well as desktop computers.

Avoid Social Media Mistakes. One mistake is to just leave that environment alone. Your business may not be on social media, but we guarantee that your competitors are. Social media marketing is a part of SEO as social media posts do get picked up by search engines and people will see them. Social media is ever more important because information about hotels - and people's experiences at them - is being freely shared. People will search this information out when planning their next vacation, family reunion or business booking.

Keep Your Messaging On Point and Positive. Speaking of messaging, what's the overall approach you are taking? You need to accentuate the positive. For example, you know you face stiff competition from property-sharing or timeshare platforms, such as Airbnb. An effective hotel SEO strategy will stress the unique things that you can offer, that they cannot - things like room service, special amenities, accommodation of special needs, enhanced security, on-site cleaning staff, and the like.

Keep in mind that because cheaper alternatives are available, and someone chooses to investigate you, they are ultimately looking for the things you can provide that the lower-priced alternatives do not provide - so stress that.

Good SEO for Hotels Can Get You More Than Just Customers

What more could you want than customers? Well, what is your other major need as a hotel owner/operator? Its STAFFING.

The hospitality industry in general, and hotels particularly, now have an acute need for staffing, which continues to be an issue.

And while the last few years have been difficult due to COVID-19, life is starting to return to normal (albeit with some ongoing challenges of course) and sooner or later bookings will be on the rise as people resume traveling. And where are you going to get the staff you need?

It's easy: from the same place you get your customers - the web.

So, another crucial reason to get visible - and stay visible - in the SERP's is that not only customers will see your hotel listing, but also potential employees. Finding and retaining the highest-caliber staff is critical to your operations. People looking for work - front-desk clerks, cleaning staff, maintenance, kitchen and foodservice personnel - need to be able to find your web listing when they go searching, and it needs to "sell" them on coming to you to apply for open positions instead of your competitors.

The hotel industry is growing. According to the website Statista, the worldwide hotel industry had $550 billion in revenue for the 2016-2017 FY, and has increased every year since then. Growth brings opportunities to any industry, but to meet the demand you need to have a stable influx of staff to service your properties - and organic SEO can help you secure them.

Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management: The Organic SEO Solution

What is the one thing that customers must be convinced of before they will book a room at your hotel? That it's the cheapest? Not necessarily. A business professional with an expense account is not paying their own way, so for them the lowest-priced accommodation may not even be on their radar.

Over-the-top luxury? Perhaps for some. Yet the existence of hotels that offer more modest facilities means that many can do without that. The best of fine dining? Surely that is important - but folks can easily leave the hotel and visit neighboring restaurants (especially in big cities).

No my friends - the most critical area is customer satisfaction. Of course, if someone stays at your hotel and has a great experience, they are very likely to return if they are in your area again. But how do you get that first visit?

This is where Reputation Management comes in to play. What are people saying about your hotel in the online world? The web is filled with grumpy people and you don't want people grumbling about their experience online because, true or fake, even one negative post can send your business reputation into a tailspin. Bad reviews must be negated - and ideally they should never even see the light of day.

Does your hotel suffer because a few people had less-than-stellar experiences there and have spread it around everywhere? Did you know that there are ways to combat this? Strategies that can be effective even when the negative post cannot be taken down? This is an important aspect of SEO for hotels as almost all facilities that have been operating for any length of time have been affected by negative online comments

Summary and Conclusions

Let's put all the cards on the table: you need more bookings and paying customers. You need repeat customers. You need the most-qualified employees to staff your hotel. You want to minimize revenue lost due to fee payments to third-party booking platforms (as necessary as they are).

In short, your website needs increased visibility in the SERP's.

And for that you need some expert help - folks who will come along side of you and use an integrated SEO approach that encompasses all aspects of SEO.

Posirank can:

  • Audit your existing website, pinpointing areas where you are falling behind. Compare your site to those of your competitors.
  • Help you with searcher keyword analysis and selection.
  • Monitor your GSC analytics.
  • Manage your PPC campaigns if you run them.
  • Give you updated rankings reports

… AND keep it all within your available budget.

To get started? All you need to do is to reach out to us:

Will do it.

You're reading this right now but we don't know that - you have to make the first move. We're waiting and excited about the opportunity to work with you. Why not reach out today, while you are thinking about it? Let's get this done - together!

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