Great Ways For Hotels To Target International Travelers Online
By Ashley Stevens Director of Client Services, Blue Magnet Interactive | May 27, 2012
According to a recent survey by the World Tourism Organization, there were over 940 million international tourist arrivals worldwide in 2011. Almost 60 million of those travelers are coming in to the United States. This presents a huge market that hotels in the US should be sure to target in any online sales strategy. International travelers tend to book early, stay longer, and rarely cancel, all attributes that make international travelers ideal candidates for staying at your hotel.
In order to reach these travelers as they start their online planning, your hotel must make a conscious effort to target them in the channels they use the most. Because these travelers are coming from countries around the world it's important to note that they're not always going to use the typical online travel planning sites that we use here in the US. Some travel websites do have a strong international presence, but other sites may be specific to individual countries, while having little to no presense in others. For instance, while Google is the dominant search engine in the US, the Chinese rely heavily on a local search provider known as Baidu for the lion's share of their search queries, despite Google also providing Chinese search results.
Below are some of the most budget-friendly and ROI-producing strategies for targeting international travelers online.
Long term strategies:
Local Attractions - International guests likely won't know your city very well, but they'll probably do plenty of research on local attractions they plan on visiting. Your hotel should partner with local area attractions for link building purposes and visibility. Make certain your hotel is featured as a recommended property on any local event or attraction that may draw an international audience. This will vary by location. For example, if you have a Seattle hotel, it would be important to be listed on the Pike Place Market or Space Needle website. For Chicago, top listing on the accommodations page for Navy Pier would be ideal.
OTA Opportunities - Work closely with your OTA Market Managers to receive notice of any upcoming seasonal promotions. Expedia and other OTA's email lists include an incredible number of travelers, both international and domestic, and being included on these promotions can greatly increase visibility.
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