According to data from Think With Google, search is the most common way in which travelers discover the brand they ultimately book with during the travel planning phase — and the number of searchers only continues to rise. Therefore, SEO — and really all aspects of online marketing — are essential in trying to compete online in the hospitality industry. The struggle that makes organic search results so complicated for hospitality and travel brands is the ever-changing landscape they live in. From Online Travel Agencies (OTAs to alternative options like Airbnb and the recently opened resort down the street, the competition will capture your audience if you are not at the top of your game.
Don’t fret! There’s good news! We’re giving you five SEO tips that can help in getting your travel or hospitality business moving in the right direction for earning organic search visibility from the search engines.
1. Mobile Friendliness
Is your travel website mobile friendly? If you’re shaking your head no, here are a boatload of reasons why you need to transition to a mobile-friendly website immediately!
- There was a 10% increase year-over-year of customer journey’s that were either mobile only or across devices, according to Think With Google.
- During the travel research process, 43% of consumers said they use their smartphones to look for accommodations and 25% use them to book.
- 42% of consumers use their smartphones to look for travel inspiration.
- 73% of consumers use their smartphones while traveling.
- People who have a negative experience on mobile are 62% less likely to purchase from that brand in the future.
- Travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today have grown over 150% on mobile over the past two years.
- Booking.com found that 80% of customers prefer mobile booking to get the information that they need.
2. Local Information on All Pages
This tip may seem like an easy one, but it holds a significant amount of weight in the eyes of search engines, plus it’s the easiest to forget.
Have your full street address, in text on every page of your website. If you’re a hotel or resort trying to obtain organic visibility for your region this is a must.
Also, keep in mind other ways to incorporate local mentions throughout your website. Does your tagline use a local mention? If so, make sure it’s in text or if an image, the alt tag appropriately states it as well.
Make sure you create and optimize your Google My Business profile. If you’re not already using it, Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your website on Google Search and Maps.
3. Answer Boxes
Answer boxes or featured snippets, provide answers to the most common question directly within Google’s search results. The featured snippet typically includes a summary of the answer as well as a link to the page Google is using as the source of the answer.
These featured snippet answers are pulled directly from the webpage providing the answer. Google programmatically determines the pages so there is no way to “submit” your page. However, with proper optimization efforts and content marketing initiatives, your travel business can take advantage of this real estate on the search result listings by producing content that answers your audience’s questions. “Near me” content works extremely well.
4. Include Guest Reviews
Many hospitality businesses have a love-hate relationship with reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor and Facebook. Whether you like them or not, your audience uses them so your business needs them. Take advantage of them.
Reviews hold an extremely large amount of clout with the travel audience. Previous research has shown that 95% of travelers read reviews before booking, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and I think it’s safe to say those numbers won’t be decreasing any time soon and more and more hotels, Airbnb locations, and other accommodation options compete for attention.
So, be sure to feature your positive ratings and reviews on your website and link to your listings that are full of positive reviews. Online travel agents like Trip Advisor, Orbitz, etc. as well as review websites like Yelp, hold credibility to the audience and search engines. Not only will you be able to feature positive feedback from travelers on your website, but you’re also allowing Google to see that you’re legit and that your fans think your business is pretty awesome too!
5. Create Content that Users Want
Of course, there would be content in a search engine optimization blog post! As mentioned above, travelers LOVE to research their destinations so make sure your travel website is giving them what they may be searching for. Create engaging content with things to do in the area, places nearby, recommended transportation methods, where to eat, landmarks to see, etc. The list can go on. According to Think With Google, people search to help spark excitement, learn about the area and build their confidence and make the most of their budget.
Really take the time to put yourself in the driver’s seat. If you were interested in traveling to your location, what information would you be searching for? Think about it and then create it! 55% of travelers say they have to check too many sources of travel information before making a decision. Make sure your business is the one providing the content they need along every stage of their travel journey!
Bonus Tip: Lots of images and video!
People are visual and what better industry to use visuals than the travel and hospitality one? Videos, photo galleries, infographics, user-submitted photos, the whole nine yards. Go for it!
These 5 (well actually 6) tips are simple, yet powerful when implemented correctly. They are critical to your travel and hospitality business. The competition is already tough, so invest the resources in making your website the number one choice for your audience. Don’t give competitors the slightest opening, because trust me, they’ll pounce on it!