Semantic Web: Hoteliers need to pay attention now

By Michael McCartan Managing Director Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Duetto | December 29, 2013

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, is set to take center stage once again as he leads the evolution of the next development of the World Wide Web through a set of Semantic standards that will process data directly and indirectly by machines. In essence this means qualifying content throughout the web space to identify its originality and quality to ensure that users find the information that is most relevant to their needs.

Over the years, Google has been developing its technology, as well as other search engines, to deliver results that are meaningful to the user. The most recent installments include delivering automated and generated search terms for the user based on previous searches and reference across historic web reads.

The results that are being delivered are also more specific to the user, in this way providing content that is most relevant to individuals. As this technology becomes more refined the way to optimize web-pages for search will shift and therefore businesses will need to prepare in order to remain at the forefront of the search results. Therefore this will require ongoing manipulation of the content across the web to make the most of the search results opportunity available.

As we delve into structuring SEO, it is important to note that structures implemented 5 years ago are now out-dated, and as a result search engines have reorganized their search algorithms that identify those pages that played to those traditional rules but potentially provided the user bad, irrelevant or meaningless content. It used to be the norm to post the same SEO-styled article throughout the web, however duplicated content is now noted by the search engines and is more and more discounted.

Pages that were tagged with a whole range of Search Keyword terms, which are irrelevant to the content, are also being sidelined in the internet stratosphere. Specialists in this field are coming under demand and its important to understand why. Search engines are doting themselves to the user, providing specific targeted content, further as an evolution of paid-search businesses want to more accurately target the right web-users that will deliver an ROI. This means the entire web industry needs to step up to the mark.

For hoteliers it is essential that all content across the web and on the direct website makes reference to these changes and begins to develop a strategy to benefit from these, whilst also reaching the right value consumer to become your guest.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.