As a traveler, browsing online travel agencies (OTA) such as Expedia and Booking.com is fun.
You can compare prices, read customer reviews and check the map to see which hotel is the closest to the landmark, restaurants or other cool places you are thinking about visiting.
But from hotelier perspectives, that is not an ideal situation because they rather want you to visit their own hotel sites and book from there.
Because hotels need to pay commissions to OTAs if they want to have their properties listed. But the commissions have been increasing in recent years and the relationships between some of the hotel chains and OTAs have worsened.
However, many hotel guests could care less about that and are simply looking for the best deal. Depending on time of year, travelers might find a better deal on hotel websites rather than on OTA.
So, a hotel should have just have its own website and let people book there. Then bookings start rolling in, right?
That looks good in theory, but ranking in SERPS (search engine results page) is not easy for smaller hotels and in recent years OTAs have been dominating SERPs.
Which brings me to…
Why Should Your Hotel Start a Blog?
There are a few reasons a hotel should invest on blogging as a marketing tool. Yes, ranking high in search engines is difficult, but the number of traffic can be a vanity metric, so, your website’s UX(User Experience) and content becomes paramount.
7 Reasons Your Small Hotel Should Start a Blog
1.You Can Rank in Search Engines
First of all, as I said, it’s not easy to rank in the first page of Google if you are not a big brand. But depending on the topics and the level of competition, it is doable.
Some of the topics, which I laid out in my previous post about hotel blog ideas, can become evergreen content, which means the information will continue to be valuable for the foreseeable future.
With a good long-tail keyword, some pages can continue to rank high in search engine results even if you are unable to spend time churning out posts on a regular basis.
Not every one of your blog posts has to rank well. If there are a few posts you are drawing a lot of traffic to, you can direct it to other pages by strategically placing CTAs on those pages.
That way, visitors will more likely visit other pages as well.
2. You Can Increase Brand Awareness
There are a lot of topics to write about besides promoting your hotel.
You can educate readers not only about your hotel but also about your city, community and people who live there.
Today’s internet-savvy users are not interested in a company that just broadcasts advertisements. So, use your blog to teach potential visitors about your city, people and interesting things to do.
3. Number of Mobile Phone Users on the Rise
It’ been a few years since smartphones became part of our lives, and nowadays who leaves home without it? Or who goes anywhere without it even inside the house, right?
Whether organic search or social media, make sure that your website can easily be found.
4. Increasing Use of Voice Search
With the increasing use of Google Voice Search and Siri on smartphones, the volume of voice search is estimated to increase up to 50% by 2020.
So, as a hotelier, you cannot ignore this trend and definitely want to make sure that your pages are optimized for voice searches.
5. You Can Send Traffic from Social Media
Nowadays having social media presence is expected. Quality content is asset and you want to get as much value out of it to drive traffic and generate bookings. So, fill up your feeds with quality content.
Generation Y and Z love to interact with friends and recommend stuff on social media, so make sure they are seeing your content.
6. Helps Branding
If your hotel caters to a certain type of travelers, you can create targeted content for them: business travelers, backpackers, family travelers, etc.
7. OTAs Let You List Hotel URL on Their Sites
According to TravelDailyNews, 52% of users who visit an OTA site will click the URL of hotel website.
So, still, potential guests will visit your website through an online travel agency site, and if they find a deal or incentive too good to pass up, they might book directly.
Obviously, a blog alone cannot become the be all and end all tool to get you more bookings on your hotel website, but it is only going to benefit in the long term.