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With the world slowly starting to open up, it is one thing to be ready, but how are customers going to find you?

Today’s episode is about your hospitality property’s visibility.

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson.

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People have been thinking of travel since the start of COVID-19 and in the not too distant future, this is going to become a reality. Hospitality properties are eager to open their doors to the world, so how are you going to stand apart from your competitors?

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Your hospitality property’s visibility ranking higher on Google

How can you do this?

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You need to have your website search engine optimized but many owners and managers are not sure or are nervous about SEO, plus, it rarely offers any quick wins or instant gratification. This is a long-term endeavour.

For this, to work you need to have your house in order before you’ll see any real results from your search optimization efforts.

It is not a one-and-done task to be crossed off your marketing to-do list.

Just to be clear, you don’t need to be all that tech-savvy to understand SEO. Any time you create content for a new promotion or try to capture traffic with a blog post, optimizing for search engines should be baked right in, from initial thought to publication.

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Here are some ways you can set yourself up for success

Make your website easy to use

One of the best things you can do for your property’s website is to improve the user experience.

Search engines consider a lot of different ranking factors when deciding which pages get top placement on the results pages.

  • Does your website load quickly?

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  • Does it function well on a mobile device?

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  • Is it easy to navigate around – find the right info – book a room?

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Even with limited experience, there are things you can do to make it easier for potential direct booking guests to find and use your website.

1.   Compress your images and video files

Huge media files slow everything down!

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If you use a professional photographer or videographer ask them to compress the files. This means making the file size smaller without sacrificing quality. If you are doing it yourself, you can use a service like TinyJPG.

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It’s a good idea to check your website’s page speed. Your pages should ideally load in 2 seconds or less and you can find this out using services like uptrends.com.

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2. Format sensibly

Formatting not only enhances the reader’s overall user experience but also tells Google what your content is about.

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Most pages should have a primary header (aka Header 1) in a larger font, which should be your main page title.

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Additional headers (Header 2, Header 3, so on) decrease in page hierarchy, but are useful for breaking up your main text with subtitles, making the content more readable.

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Other things you can try that may help your property rank higher on Google.

  • Include your primary keyword in Header 1

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  • Try to naturally use variations of your keyword into your subtitles, and throughout the text

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  • Add links within your content, both internal (other pages on your website) and external (relevant other websites)

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  • Break up your text! Don’t cluster huge novel-length blocks of text. Use blank space, bulleted lists, simple design elements, or images throughout the page.

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Formatting is important on desktop, but it really makes a difference on mobile, where users are scrolling or skimming content on a small screen.

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3. Check for broken links

When a potential guest lands on your site, you don’t want them clicking on a link that is broken!

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Run your property’s website through the free Ahrefs broken link checker or if you know how to use the Google Search Console, you can check for broken links there.

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4. Design each page so it has a purpose

You don’t need to have “Book Now!” on every page.

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You could have other calls-to-action, for example, “Explore our region” or “Download our meetings” ebooks.

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Showcase your property’s rooms, explain your function space, introduce your local area, etc. Each page should revolve around a clear purpose or theme.

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5. Create content your guests will appreciate

If your time is limited and there is only one thing you can really focus on to improve your SEO strategy, let it be this. Create content your guests will appreciate.

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Before you get caught up in hundreds of different ranking factors and SEO assumptions, all you really need to know is that Google wants to help people solve their problems.

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Ask a question. Get the best possible answer. That’s what a search engine algorithm really boils down to.

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Let me give you examples:

I think hospitality properties should have a blog and if you have one or are thinking of starting one, focus on making your content as high-quality as possible.

Ask yourself what someone looking at your room’s page is looking for.

  • What do they want to know?

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  • What questions might they have?

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  • What are their concerns or pain points?

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Find out what your guests want to know about you and your destination and answer these questions in your blog.

Other content updates you may want to consider for the upcoming year.

  • Detailed descriptions of onsite COVID safety protocols

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  • Images showing any renovations, branding and Covid safety features

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  • Any new rebranding or post-COVID property reopening date

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  • New room types, product tiers or in-room amenities

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  • Flexible cancellation and refund policies

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  • What onsite facilities or services have reopened as well as their hours of operation

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  • F&B menus including touchless ordering options

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  • Explanation of any other contactless technologies set up to protect guests

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Do these make sense? Let me know in the comments.

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6. Use keywords wisely

When using keywords, it’s important that you write for people, not search engines. Use keywords that your guests are looking for.

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7.  Don’t forget about what happens off-page

Search engine optimization is not just about content, keywords, and page speed.

Complete your “Google My Business” listing

Google My Business is a free online business listing. If you haven’t already, claim yours and make sure it’s completely filled out.

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  • Your website URL

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  • Property name

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  • Property physical address

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  • Add high-quality photos

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  • Fill in your property’s amenities

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  • Encourage guests to leave you Google reviews (make sure you respond to them).

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8. Build high-quality backlinks

This is something you do overtime.

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Link building means getting other established, credible websites to link to yours. This “backlink” is one of many signals Google uses to tell whether or not your property’s website is trustworthy.

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Get started by linking with your tourism bureau or local media outlets. Working with (reputable) bloggers is another option.

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If you happen to hire a PR person or agency, make sure you’re working with someone who understands SEO — these two functions MUST work together.

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If you are a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, as a bonus, I am going to talk about maximizing a property’s marketing strategy with video content, in the actionable workshop section.

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How to Magnify Your Hospitality Property’s Visibility | Ep. #259

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If you are a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, I am going to talk about maximizing a property’s marketing strategy with video content, in the actionable workshop section.

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In conclusion

As is often said, there are the problems you see and the ones you don’t see. Content visibility consistency may fall in the latter camp but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less important consideration in your long-term plan.

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Making a few simple changes to improve your hospitality property’s visibility can be a powerful way to secure long-term growth in brand awareness, traffic, and ultimately, direct bookings.

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To quickly recap, here are 8 simple hospitality property SEO tips to help you rank higher on Google:

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  • Compress your images and video files

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  • Format sensibly

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  • Check for broken links

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  • Design each page so it has a purpose

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  • Create content your guests will appreciate

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  • Use keywords wisely

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  • Don’t forget about what happens off-page

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  • Build high-quality backlinks

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This episode should help simplifies what many hospitality property marketers consider a confusing topic. Prioritize making your property’s website a valuable, trustworthy resource for potential guests — this will pay off in the long run!

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In what ways are you making your property more visible to your guests?

Let me know in the comments.

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You will have access to this episode for the next six weeks and then it’s locked in the vault for Hospitality Property School Group members only.

To see all the other valuable material you’d have access to as a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, check out the short video in the episode post-show notes.

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How to Magnify Your Hospitality Property’s Visibility | Ep. #259

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In the next episode, I will talk about Using Chatbots.

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That’s it for today’s episode,

Until next time, have a fun day.

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Are you getting your weekly INNsider Tips? You can find the link in the show notes.

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TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE HOSPITALITY PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT:

https://keystonehpd.com/how-to-magnify-your-hospitality-propertys-visibility-259

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Post COVID-19 Action Plan → KeystoneHPD.com/PostCovid19ActionPlan.

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Post COVID-19 Action Plan

KeystoneHPD.com/PostCovid19ActionPlan 

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Get Your INNsider Tips

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Join one of your private groups

https://keystonehpd.com/private-groups

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Listen to The Hospitality Property School PODCAST here

keystonehpd.com/hospitality-property-school-podcasts

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YouTube

https://youtu.be/olkD2Lcbl0c

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A Division of Keystone Hospitality Property Development

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