The fact that Google favors brands in search results means independent and flagged hotels need to be more proactive about staying on top of their online marketing. Fortunately, the avenues discussed in this article are excellent ways you can remain competitive online and on Google.
Continually invest in content: Content can include video, photo, interactive maps/travel guides, mobile apps and articles/blogs/travel guides – basically, anything that users will find helpful when planning a trip or vacation. Big travel companies are not able to do this, as they are spread too thin with too many properties or too many locations. However, you have the advantage of only having to create content for your local area. Content investment has a huge impact on SEO and social media visibility. This is your biggest advantage against the big brands.
Maintain strict control over rates and packages: This might be the most important barrier to increasing direct bookings: the rates at your property website must be the same or a little lower than the rates found on OTAs and global distribution systems. Additionally, offer a few more unique, seasonally appropriate packages on your property website than on OTAs. We still see plenty of hotels offering better rates through OTA websites than their direct channel.
Run Google AdWords: Make sure your internet marketing provider is utilising all tools, micro-channels and geo-targeting features that AdWords offers. This includes: ad scheduling/day parting, mobile PPC, Ad Extensions (site links, video, expandable map) and geo-targeting (geo-target specific offers to relevant areas around the world or don’t advertise to areas with low ROI). Additionally, make sure you are #1 for all derivations of your brand name terms. This is very important: it might seem like a no-brainer, but the OTAs will try to bid on your brand name and steal those clicks from your website.
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