Should Your PR Firm Know SEO?

By Lorraine Abelow Founder & President, Abelow PR | May 15, 2016

Getting top rankings on Google and the other search engines is the prime marketing objective for hotels. Insight into the logic of Google's madness is a must for your PR agency. While no one pretends to know their secret algorithms, a qualified travel public relations firm should understand how to achieve the objective on page one. While everyone agrees getting high on the search rankings is key in today's Internet driven environment, why do so many hotels miss the boat? The reason is clear: hoteliers must understand that integrating the PR and SEO functions into your marketing programs at the outset is the answer to making this happen.

If you engage a PR firm that knows the ins and outs of this tricky business, you will get the reservation phones ringing and traffic to your website. It is also wise to check with them for referral of an SEO firm they regard as knowledgeable and equipped for the challenge. If you start the team out together at once, you will get better results in the end. And this is an evolving process so make sure you revisit this as a team every few months to revaluate and retool.

What to Look for in a PR Agency for SEO

In hiring a PR agency, you should have already made certain they have the clout with editors to get the vital links from online stories to your hotel's website. This is earned SEO manifold. In the media sphere, when your property is mentioned and the right keywords are in there with live links, such outlets as the New York Times and Huffington Post are golden. In the hotel sphere, obviously Conde Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure are prime targets as well. These are the most highly valued by Google, which is why they are called "authority links."

The PR firm should know the other outlets that are tops as well, which can run the gambit from The Robb Report to the Los Angeles Times. So always ask to see samples of prior work before you hire any PR firm.

Live Links and Their Value

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.