10 Success Tips on Online Visibility for Independent Hotels

By Pedro Colaco President & CEO, GuestCentric Systems | January 27, 2012

Many independent hotel managers are unhappy with the small amount of business generated by their websites. This should come as no surprise as these websites have poor visibility, and often less than 20 visitors a day. Simple techniques like being present in a few online channels and registering for Google Local Business can dramatically increase the level of visibility of an independent hotel's website. This article suggests 5 simple and 5 advanced tips to dramatically boost the visibility of an independent hotel's website as a first step to create a structured online strategy to ensure e-commerce success.

Online visibility: where e-commerce success starts

Online visibility is about creating sources of traffic for your website, i.e. be present in places where your offer is available and gets the traveler thinking, "I would like to stay there". The online visibility of your hotel is determined by lots of factors: your website's Google ranking, your presence in online channels, links to your website, and promotions on Google, Yahoo or meta-search engines like Kayak.

Choosing a visibility strategy

The most important thing to realize when wanting to improve your website's visibility is how much time and money you are willing to dedicate to improve your website's visibility. This article shows two ways: a minimum level of visibility required to make your website an effective sales tool, and advanced strategies that enable you to compete with the best hotels in your area.

Getting found: it all starts with distribution

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.