How to drive organic search results for hotels
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – organic search results for hotels, something very important that in the last few years have been part of the marketing strategy in all businesses, however for many hotels’ management is still a little hazy. We all understand what it is and why it is vital to get it right, however it is still quite difficult to act on it and make it work.
We will find suggestions and strategies all over the internet, I found this article by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell, a HotelNewsNow contributor, very straightforward to understand. It offers a brief description from the Oxford English Dictionary definition – “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine” – up to a few suggestions to make it work.
First we have to take in consideration that the SEO is no longer what it used to be and that every year the algorithms are modified thousands of times to make sure that we keep up with our website and that we do not ignore it for too long. It is a challenge to keep up with search engines like Google, but if we want to maintain our hotel website on the top of the list we have to manage it and here a few points to achieve that:
- Consistency is definitely one of the keys, the hotel information should be written in the same way on all pages.
- The content is king – we need to make it interesting to engage our visitors, short but with a clear message.
- Videos play a very important part, however they need to be of a high quality and not too long.
- Keywords are essential and well spread out in all the pages, three to five main ones are enough.
- The home page should have the brand promise to catch the interest of the visitor.
- The website must be mobile friendly, as more than 60% of our potential guests, check out their next trip over the phone.
This is just the beginning, but when we get to start our strategy many other details become clearer.
Hotel Managers and Uncontrollable Variables: How to Deal With it!
Hospitality like every other businesses needs to rely on great managers or leaders if we prefer. Someone in charge in better or worse, able to comprehend when to step up and to deal with every situation that comes along.
They need to lead their teams and consequently the business in the right direction also through difficult times. Every day is a different one and uncontrollable variables could be just around the corner.
Factors, that hotel managers meet every day and have to be prepared to handle them. Max Brass from FrontdeskAnywhere brings up a few, that managers need to be aware off, so they can be organised and do not waste any minute to keep up the good work.
Economy is a primary uncontrollable variable. If the economy is strong, hotel managers have to be able to take advantage of the situation, on the other hand, if the economy is weak, they need to be able to deal with it. For instance, if a currency is strong, hotel managers need to target the right market and fill the hotel without killing rates.
Technology goes at a very fast pace and hotel managers need to keep up with it otherwise they risk to lose business and to be left behind by the competition. Upgrades to old software are essential as well as investing in new ones. Investments are seen as initial costs, but they will create a better and more efficient working environment, hence they will increase revenue.
Keep an eye on the competition and acknowledge it helps the hotel managers to create the right strategy and try to be better than other hotels in the area.
Here just a few of the main uncontrollable factors without talking about the weather!
Price Positioning Strategies
This week I would like to address another great topic of revenue management: the price positioning strategies. I usually take the subjects from interesting articles on hospitality magazines, today I would like to be a little bit more academic and mention an article published by Bill Carroll on the eCornell blog.
We know that the OTAs offer an endless range of prices, however hotels and restaurants still need to come up with the best price strategies. A price decision is influenced by many different factors like competitors’ rates, events and different markets. Here Bill Carroll offers a price-value matrix to help us to position our product or service. This is possible when we know the targets we would like to achieve. Those could be short term revenues, higher profit margins as well as to stand out from the competitors or just to survive.
Here the five different price positioning strategies to apply:
- Skim – we position ourselves higher than the competitors, to attract the crowd who is willing to pay more, however high price is equal to extremely high value and guests are still wondering why they should pay more in our property.
- March – we sell one of our rates like our competitors and the others slightly higher, in this way we can be competitive without beating the other players.
- Surround – we get one rate lower than the competitors and bring in the market who has a limited budget, but at the same time have higher rates with great products / services and added values for guests who are willing to spend way more.
- Undercut – we can potentially get more guests, if we offer the same rate like our competitors and one even lower, personally I am not a fan of this one.
- Penetrate – we stay lower than the competitors, cutting prices and increment offers, but this can take to a price war, depress the price market, lower margins and reflect bad on our property reputation.
Pricing strategies are more complicated than that, however it can be a really good start.