According to data from think with Google, travelers report that search is the most common way in which they discover the brand they ultimately book with during the travel planning phase. 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 (OTA’s), to new startups like AirBnB, to the recently opened resort down the street, the competition will capture your audience if you are not at the top of your game.
But, don’t fret, there’s good news! We’re giving you 5 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’s a boatload of reasons why you need to transition to a mobile friendly website immediately!
- 40% of U.S. travel site visits come from mobile. And I think we’re safe to say that the percentage is only going to increase moving forward.
- 45% of mobile travelers would switch to another site or app if the one they’re using takes too many steps.
- 53% of business travelers say they booked on a smartphone in 2015, up from 47% in 2014.
- And honestly the most important metric, conversions:
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.
3. Answer Boxes
Answer boxes or featured snippets, provide answers to 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
Trip Advisor and Yelp – There’s two websites many hospitality businesses have a love hate relationship with. Whether you like them or not, your business needs them, because your audience uses them, so take advantage of them. Reviews hold an extremely large amount of clout with the travel audience. 95% of travelers read reviews before to booking so be sure to feature your positive rating on Trip Advisor on your website. Link to your Yelp 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, you’re allowing Google to see 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! 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. 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, and then create it! 67% of travelers are more likely to book with a travel company that provides relevant information for the destinations they’re interested in. Make sure your business is the one providing that content!
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!