Hotel Online  Special Report

Create Impact by Developing a Link Strategy
For Your Hotel Web Site
By: Neil Salerno, CHME, CHA Ė February 2005

One often neglected method of increasing the popularity of your hotel web site and getting a better ranking by search engines is to develop reciprocal link agreements for your site. For those unfamiliar with the term, these are links on your site directed to another site which, in turn, has a link directed to your web site.

These reciprocal links can have a powerful impact on the popularity of your web site. 

Many people feel that it is very clever to post external links (outgoing) to their local Chamber, AAA, attractions, etc. Although these are convenient for the visitors to your site, they can actually reduce your siteís effectiveness. Why? These links direct people away from your site and your reservation booking engine. Not a good thing.

Links to sites which list other hotels, as well as your own, just donít make any sense at all. The visitor has found your web site, why would you provide a link to a site where they can view other hotels in your market?

To offset the potential negative impact resulting from having external links, make sure all outbound links are placed deep into your site, never on your home page. Hopefully, they will use these links after making a reservation. Next develop a strategy to get links directed to your site. If you can get away with it, try making their link to your site a prerequisite for placing their links on your site. 

Links to Your Site Have Impact

Developing reciprocal links is very time-consuming but it is a crucial element involved to further develop your web site. Links to your site are important for several reasons:

  1. They can be traffic builders; more visitors to your site.
  2. Several major search engines use link popularity as a primary ranking criterion. Their thought is that the more links to your site, the more popular it is; so links directed to your site can have great impact on your siteís ranking.
  3. The number of links to your site creates more opportunities for search engine spiders to find your site. 
Your link, placed on a high traffic web site, can give you the benefit of their popularity. 

One place to start is to determine which sites, if any, link to your competitorsí web sites. Google has an excellent tool to find their links. Using the Google search engine, simply enter your competitors address into the search box. In the search results you will see a text link to view which sites link to their site. Of course, you can see your own as well. You may be surprised.

Perform this ďlink searchĒ for all your competition. If other companies are providing links to your competitorsí web sites, why shouldnít they do so for your site as well? 

Once you have created a list of these referral sites, itís now time to contact them. Most sites have a contact or web master listed. Compose an email to them requesting a reciprocal link. Itís tedious and difficult, but itís worth the effort. There are also several companies which can do this for you for a modest fee.

If youíre still not motivated to develop reciprocal links for your web site, allow me to give you two more reasons. 

First, these two way links are free! Itís like bartering access to each others sites. Your only investment is time and effort, and maybe some selling skills. Attractions and restaurants, if you donít have one, are prime candidates. Be creative, some companies who have people to your area might also be interested. Certainly anyone receiving a negotiated corporate rate at your hotel might have an interest, no matter where they may be located.

Second, smart hoteliers are always seeking ways to gain an ďedgeĒ on the competition. Reciprocal links could give you that ďedgeĒ. 

Check with your Web Site Developer and/or Maintenance Company to make sure these valuable links are placed in the proper location on your site. No external link should ever be placed on your home page; even it is simply to another hotel in your group. Combining two or more hotels on one web site puts them in competition with one another. 

Remember to check all links on your site, regularly. Search engine spiders do not take kindly to broken inks. Ask your web master to make this a part of their monthly routine maintenance of your web site. A web site is a work in process.



Neil L. Salerno, CHME, CHA
The Hotel Marketing Coach

Also See: Steps to Develop Your Hotel's Presence on the Web / Neil Salerno / February 2005
Five Hotel Internet Marketing Myths - Busted!/ Neil Salerno / January 2005
How Does Your Hotel Web Site Measure-Up? 2005 Will Be the Internetís Most Productive Year so Far / Neil Salerno / January 2005
Are You Being Out-Hustled By Your Competition? How to Dominate Your Hotel's Market Set / Neil Salerno / December 2004
Why Are Some Hotel Companies Plagued By Management Turnover? Is This Systematic of Poor Performance? / Neil Salerno / December 2004
Basic Components of a Hotel Website: Current Weather, Flash Animation, and Virtual Tours?? Plain Talk About Internet Sales / Neil Salerno / February 2004
Donít Compromise Your Goals In 2004; Five New Yearís Resolutions You Will Want To Keep / Neil Salerno / January 2004
No More Whining About Third-Party Suppliers; You Control Your Own Fate On The Net / Neil Salerno / December 2003
Six 'Maxiís' Guaranteed To Boost Hotel Sales / Neil Salerno / November 2003
Itís Time To Take Back Control Of Rates & Rooms - But Is The Enemy...Us? / Neil Salerno / November 2003
Booking Engines Are Like A Box of Chocolates...You Never Know What Youíre Gonna Get! / Neil Salerno / October 2003
Hotel Web Site & Search Engine Optimization; Always A Work In Progress / Neil L. Salerno / October 2003
Hotel Budgets and Marketing Plans; Oh No, Is It That Time Again? / Neil L. Salerno / September 2003
Increasing Hotel Internet Sales Is Not Rocket Science...And It Doesnít Have To Be Costly Either / Neil L. Salerno / September 2003
Are You Treating Third Party eWholesalers As Competititon Or a Valuable Marketing Partner? / Neil L. Salerno / August 2003
How Often Have You Heard, 'I could have gotten a better rate but the client saw our rates on the Internet' ? Itís Time To Get Back To Selling Location, Facilities, and Services / Neil L. Salerno / August 2003
Before You Begin that Marketing Plan Challenge Your Sales Team; Expect More and Get More / Neil L. Salerno / July 2003
Jump Up and Shout Yes - Delivering Best Online Customer Experience, Nice Job Vividence! / Neil L. Salerno / July 2003
Is The Internet Delivering On Its Promise? Well, It Depends on How you Look at It / Neil L. Salerno / June 2003
Coaching and Mentoring, Sometimes A New Paradigm Can Go A Long Way / Neil L. Salerno / June 2003
Sales Training Works Well, But Sales Mentoring Makes It More Effective; Mentoring Lasts a Lifetime / Neil L. Salerno / May 2003
Is It Time For A Sales Tune-up? How Healthy Was Your Last Forecast? / Neil L. Salerno / May 2003
Hotel Web Sites; Want it Creative or Effective? / Neil L. Salerno / May 2003
If You Always Do What You Have Always Done.... Youíll Always Get What You Always Got! Hotelierís Mantra... Thinking Outside The Box / Neil L. Salerno / April 2003
Good Sales Planning - The Basics Still Work / Neil L. Salerno / April 2003

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