Cruise Control SEO Is Over: How Hoteliers Take Charge and Increase Bookings 37-100%

By Jennifer Dunphy Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Vayu Media | July 14, 2013

If you are like many hoteliers, you are constantly on the lookout for the next silver bullet marketing strategy that will not only fill your rooms year round, but will have all of your property's amenities booked to capacity as well. With the convoluted online landscape and the way guests research and book their travel accommodations constantly changing, it can be a daunting task for hoteliers to find the proper channels to reach their targeted audience, let alone entice them to make reservations and engage them once they arrive. While there may not be a silver bullet solution that will keep you booked throughout the seasons, there certainly are strategies that can be implemented that will generate more bookings and increase your profits.

Good ol' SEO still does it. With the rapidly changing quality guidelines and search engine ranking algorithms, your business stands to benefit from your competitor's cruise control approach. Just make sure you take a more proactive stance. Leaving your SEO strategy in cruise control will ensure you miss out on the opportunity. Many hoteliers focus on the low hanging fruit or what they understand as "SEO" and then move on. A modern SEO strategy requires a comprehensive web strategy.

Bookings start with search

With numbers as high as 50%-70% of all hotel website visitors and website bookings originating as leads from the major search engines, driving bookings directly to the hotel website needs to top every hotelier's priority list.

Implementing a comprehensive SEO strategy will allow hotels of all sizes, even boutique hotels and B&Bs, to compete with the likes of Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Expedia, etc. Although having a positive reputation on TripAdvisor and other OTAs is a part of having a successful SEO strategy for hotels, the fact remains that all of these reviews point to the OTA sites and directly compete with your own website for favorable rankings in the organic search results. By implementing a SEO strategy for your hotel you can and should keep your presence on the OTA's and drive direct, more profitable traffic, to your own website.

Increase opportunities 37-100%

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.