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By Alexis Krisay

A recent consumer survey revealed that nearly 9 out of 10 customers over the age of 18 prefer booking their hotel accommodations online (88 percent for/12 percent against).

With Google search algorithms constantly changing, hotels without a solid SEO strategy and execution plan will be lost in the digital wilderness.

Here are three critical actions hotels can take to enhance web presence and improve search rankings without blowing budgets. 

1. RULE YOUR REVIEWS. Have you checked your hotel’s ratings lately? Google, YELP and TripAdvisor are some of the sites travelers your potential customers will search when planning a trip. Unclaimed business pages tell a story about lack of attention to customer service and detail, so don’t let them languish - take charge of them! The same rule applies for reviews. Look at any negative reviews as an opportunity to make things right and let customer service shine.

  • Set up alerts for new reviews, ratings, and social media posts and tags
  • Address any customer complaints promptly and publicly
  • If you screwed up, own up - customers notice who ducks responsibility
     

2. OPTIMIZE LOAD TIME. If your website takes more than a few seconds to load, you’ve likely lost a potential customer to a competitor. Here are three simple ways to improve loading time for websites:

  • Ditch outdated data hogging technologies like Flash
  • Remove automatic audio/video players & downloadable PDFs
  • Compress photos and videos & optimize style sheets
     

3. CONTENT MARKETING. People are exposed to thousands of marketing messages each day, so it’s no wonder they’re tuning out - they’ve got a serious case of marketing fatigue! Creating engaging, high-quality content helps your message cut through the noise, improve visibility to search engines, and increase meaningful engagement with your customers. Here are some tips:

  • Use marketing insights to inspire customized content for your website blog, newsroom, social media and other pages
  • Long tail keywords are opportunities to create content based around things your target customers are searching for online - i.e. winter activities in ‘your location’  
  • Use Google’s Keyword to discover promising long tail search terms - they offer the best chance to ‘plant a flag’ and really engage with potential customers
     

Remember, there are only so many topics and technologies you and your key staff members can master. Make the investment in SEO and Content expertise, so you can spend your time focusing on your core business: delighting your customers. After all, that’s where your most inspiring stories will begin.

About Alexis Krisay

Alexis Krisay is a partner and president of marketing for Serendipit Consulting, a public relations, marketing, branding and event-planning firm. www.serendipitconsulting.com. She can be reached directly at alexis@serendipitconsulting.com or 602-833-2744.

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