Digital marketing for hotels is becoming increasingly challenging. Hotel digital marketing is no longer about booking engines and flash galleries with great pictures. The interesting pictures and detailed information about a hotel’s services, room descriptions and availability, and pricing are not enough to truly compete for your potential guests’ attention in the digital space. In order to thrive and be noticed in digital, you will always need to expand your marketing efforts and follow your guests into new channels and digital networks that emerge every day.
To prepare hotels for future digital marketing demands and global expansion, hotel marketers should build a solid global strategy for digital marketing with the right plan, resources and tools that provide a consistent multi-channel and multilingual experience for hotel guests.
This blog post provides solid tips hotel marketers should consider when building a digital marketing strategy for their hotels targeting a global audience:
Social Media Marketing for Hotels
The majority of travelers turn first to social media for information. Therefore it is critical to manage your social media channels professionally. Social media channels are not just an option for hotel marketers, but it is the best way to reach your potentials guests. Facebook and Twitter top the list for influential social media platforms.. Some hotels are using Tripadvisor to reach travelers globally while other hotels are using YouTube channels to market their hotels with catchy videos. However, it is really important to use the suitable channels for your services and target market. The best advice here is you need to study each network and the benefit of it for your business before you start devoting your social media marketing efforts.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a common and a very applicable saying when it comes to digital marketing. In order for hotel marketers to syndicate their hotel pictures including views, luxurious suites, special menu dishes, hotel architectures and many other hotel amenities and activities hotel marketing managers will need to consider some other networks and applications like Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.
Social Media is not typically the same in every region or marketplace and in order to reach your potential guests you need always to speak their language. This requires global marketers to localize channels, promotions, packages, menus and graphics for each market. You will also need to define which local network is effective. For instance in China, QQ is the most popular social network and not Facebook. For a successful global social media strategy you will need to create and distribute content that addresses the following key attributes:
- The most popular local social media networks (varies from country to country).
- The languages used on the local social networks. It is important to appropriately localize content in a manner that makes it compelling and culturally appropriate.
- The modern languages and dialects used for communication on the local network (Arabic and Spanish regions have a lot of spoken conversational dialects.)
- The trending topics in each country -what are the local market segments talking about.
- The target culture is extremely important and you will always need localization professionals to localize your communication and to provide advice about the content you are posting or sharing.
For more information, please check our previous blog post about Social Media Localization.
Global Search Engine Marketing for Hotels
Being indexed and found by search engines is very important for a hotel’s website and online content marketing efforts. Search Engines are one of the most successful tools for online marketing.
- Global search engine optimization: Optimization for global search engines should be a part of your website localization process. Most hotels have multilingual websites in several languages and in order to ensure success globally your multilingual websites should be optimized. See our blogs on global SEO including:
- Keywords localization: To localize your keywords effectively you need native search engine professionals to conduct market research and to research your keywords in order to provide the most effective keywords for each language and market.
Keyword localization can critically impact your search results. To explain this let me provide you with a very good example for keyword localization. In the UK people usually search for “Holidays” using the keyword “Hols” which means when you are optimizing your website for UK market you need to consider the top keywords use in the local market such as “Hols”. However, this term is meaningless to the US market so people would not be using it to search and you would not need to optimize your web content for that keyword if targeting potential US visitors to your website.
Here is another example of the importance of culturally customized keyword search engine optimization. The Arabic culture is different than western culture and this sometimes affects the meaning of keywords when you translate from English into Arabic.
“Hospitality” is a common keyword in English referring to the hotel and travel business, however when you translate it properly into Arabic the accurate translation would be”ضيافة” or “فندقة”. Although the translation is accurate these two keywords would not help your SEO or PPC campaign if you work in Hospitality industry and are looking for opportunities in the Arabic region.
In Arabic region, the most common word would be “فندق” which means “hotels” in English while the translation of the word “hospitality” would refer to “generosity” in Arabic culture. For more information, please check our previous blog post The Difference between Keywords Translation and Keywords Localization.
- Google places: According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Submitting your hotel locations into Google places would achieve your search engine results. A lot of travelers will basically use “Keyword+location” before traveling or booking. Implementing your locations will help your booking for each hotel or tourism services and maintain high visibility with your potential customers targeting your destinations. It some cases it is important to use the native language for the local market you are submitting to in order to get best results. For more information, please see our previous blog post Why Google Places is Important for International Business.
- Global search engine marketing and PPC: An effective localized keywords list is the first step toward any successful PPC campaign then the next step is the ad copy. Most of hotels only translate their ad copy without considering localization and copywriting. Copywriting is a very sensitive area for your localized copy and it requires professional translation agency with solid experience is SEO copywriting to keep your message valid and effective and to avoid getting your messaging getting lost in translation. The last step is to target the right user or traveler using geographical targeting options effectively.
- Events and content creation: Creating more fresh and relevant content related to your services or destination will always benefit your search engine results. Providing content about the local market destinations or historical scenes will likely increase your website traffic and your hotel branding in the local market. Hotels should make the most of the events they host. It is great opportunity to generate more traffic if you provide content about the events you host and promote the events you are hosting.
- Image search: Images are very important for every hotel and travel destinations. You will need to optimize your images ‘alt’ attribute to gain top results in Google or Bing image search. Never underestimate the impact of image search results on your website traffic.
Mobile Marketing for Hotels
Mobile is the fastest growing category in digital marketing. Surprisingly, most recent reports show that mobile devices have become the traveler’s best friend.
- Develop mobile version for your website: The increasing growth in internet mobile users has had a major impact on the digital marketplace. Without mobile access, your website will not generate high visitor hit rates. Hotels should adjust their websites addressing the major mobile considerations including:
- Optimizing website for mobile display and usability including different screen resolutions and Mobile browsers.
- Booking engines should be fully functional on mobile browsers with support of mobile operating systems.
- Avoiding Flash components and move to HTML5 (iOS doesn’t support flash). Many hotel websites rely heavily on the use of Flash which poses problems for mobile devices and reduces the effectiveness of your search engine optimization efforts.
- Optimize your website for mobile search engine: Google research states that more than 19% of all hotel searches are generated from mobile devices. Optimizing your website for mobile search engines will benefit your online presences and will ensure better visitor experiences.
- Consider mobile and tablet applications: Hotel searching and booking activities are expanding on mobile applications and a lot of travelers are making decisions through mobile applications. Mobile and tablet applications are critical for hotels to survive into the digital world and it is one of the most consistent solutions to communicate and reach your audience.