One thing we would always recommend for any of our hotel clients is to start blogging on your website. Inevitably we always get asked why – are blogs still relevant?
Blogs are an amazing tool for your website, and their use goes beyond just Google.
SHOW YOUR KNOWLEDGE
What separates you from Online Travel Agents (OTAs) such as booking.com? OTAs have the benefit of extremely large online budgets and high organic Google rankings due to their enormous number of hotel listings and website visitors.
However, no one knows more about your property and your local area than you. For guests coming to stay, your blog can provide invaluable knowledge of the local area that they wouldn’t get from a huge Online Travel Agent. For example – where is the local favorite spot for dinner outside of your hotel? What’s the best way to get to your hotel from the airport? Why not have ‘special’ blogs from employees sharing their own updates or tips?
BE HELPFUL TO YOUR GUESTS
As well as giving useful information to potential guests, your blog can be an excellent resource for those who have already booked and are looking for information.
Consider sharing top spots in your area, or hidden spots that only locals would know. You might think of these types of articles as a virtual concierge – what questions about transportation, food or services does your front desk typically get asked? Build these out into articles and establish yourself as an authority on the local area. This can be an opportunity to cross-promote with local businesses, from popular tourist shops to local car rental companies.
SHARE HOTEL UPDATES
Your hotel blog can also serve as a way of updating your guests with news that might not be suitable for a normal page on your website, but you would like to give more real estate to than a social post. In the past two years, we and many of our clients have used our blogs as an update tool for COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures.
Sharing good news such as an internal promotion or a “meet the team” post is a great way to keep your website updated, while also showing your guests your personality and of course introducing them to your excellent staff.
Other hotel updates such as renovations or any planned hotel improvements or changes could also be added to your blog. Use your blog as the space for information. This link can then be shared on your social media and added as a link to your homepage. This is particularly useful if you don’t use personalisation software such as The Hotels Network on your website.
First and foremost, your blog is a tool to post about anything that you think your guests may find helpful.
If you have a limited time special offer that you would like to push — for example, a special family break for Easter weekend — your blog is an option to help promote this. However, while you can share this offer on your blog on its own, always offer something useful to your guests to go with it. Are there any Easter events on within the hotel or nearby that they may not know of? Tips for a family travelling for Easter (e.g., get the eggs in advance!)?
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
As we’ve discussed, there is so much more to blogging than Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), but there’s no denying that Google loves website that blog.
SEO is optimizing your site to show on the first page of Google and other search engines for your most important keywords. Start by choosing the keywords that you want to show up for when a user searches.
For example, if you’re a hotel in Dublin, when someone types “hotel in dublin” into a search bar, you want your website to show up on page 1. You can help your ranking by using your chosen keywords as part of your blog, as well as your other website pages.
Previously marketers may have recommended having two separate blogging techniques:
- Blogging for SEO
- Blogging for content
Today, they are the same. Your blogs should always be nice to read for users and helpful. If your hotel blog is relevant to your website and guests, Google tends to rank it highly. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing. Blogs with titles like ‘Why our Hotel in Dublin is the perfect Dublin Hotel to stay in Dublin!’ are no longer part of a viable strategy. Google and other search engines’ algorithms are much more sophisticated than they used to be, and they will know (and penalize you) if you’re writing a blog strictly to fit in as many keywords as possible.
Google and other search engines also favor a website that is kept up to date and not just left to go stagnant. If you can show your guests and Google that you are an expert in your area, you may just be featured higher in search results.
QUICK TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED
It can be a mind-numbing process deciding what to blog about! If you would like to get started, we’ve put together some quick tips to get you organized:
- What are your keywords? It’s important to have a list that’s longer than just one main keyword i.e., “hotel in Dublin”. Some keywords are extremely competitive and are likely being heavily focused on by the OTAs. Think about anything that sets your hotel apart from others that your guests may want and are likely to search for – i.e., “hotel with pool in Dublin.”
- Use your FAQs. Your Frequently Asked Questions are an amazing insight into what your potential guests may be looking for online. Think about what questions your guests ask at check-in or before they stay. For example, where are the best places to eat around the hotel?
- Keep your blogs as long as they need to be. People tend to skim through blogs or long pages of content – but that doesn’t mean it should be short. Keep your blog as long as it needs to be to get across the relevant information. Use headings and frequent paragraph breaks to separate text and keep it easy to read – a table of contents could help your users find what they are looking for.