For our UK readers
It’s the web where most travellers are booking hotel rooms these days and, if you’re looking to seize a slice of the online market, that’s exactly where you should be. However, you should note that you’re going up against lots of competition. Not just individual hotels, but chains and booking agencies all looking to get potential customers clicking on their websites. Yes, you need to be thinking about search engine optimization, or SEO as it’s known. However, you should also consider search marketing in your quest for online hotel success.
What is search marketing?
Search marketing can also be called SEM, search engine marketing. It’s about placing an advert on the results page of a search engine, which has been formulated in response to a search. Basically, an advertiser makes a bid on a keyword, hoping to match it up to someone who’s hunting for a specific product or service. The higher the bid, generally the higher the advertisement will appear on the results page of a search.
Search marketing is a booming industry, emerging as a key channel of digital advertising. Companies are putting a lot of their budgets into it, and it’s a sector that’s not standing still. Most people are accessing the internet from mobile devices these days and this, along with social media playing its part in search results, means search marketing is constantly evolving. If your hotel takes it up, you need to keep up with the developments – to keep ahead of the competition.
So, it’s different from SEO?
SEO is all about the content on your site – the material that search engine robots trawl through to decide whether your webpages should appear on a results page. These results are the ‘organic’ ones, those you don’t pay for – and so are not guaranteed.
Search marketing is about ‘pay per click’ – paying for your website to appear prominently in search results pages.
Monitoring your investment
With online search marketing and the ‘pay per click’ approach, it’s easy to measure your return on investment (ROI). In fact, there’s no other advertising platform which allows you to assess it so precisely.
Drawing up a campaign
Before your hotel goes with online search marketing, it should develop a focused campaign. It should look for a specialist search marketing agency for expert help and guidance.
An agency will focus on these key areas:
- Keyword research. Generating highly qualified leads is about targeting the correct keywords for your services or products. Keyword groups need to be established, identifying the complete buying cycle of a customer.
- Campaign targeting. Once keyword groups have been identified, the details of a campaign should be drawn up – encompassing target locations, languages, desktop and mobile devices, and search engine.
- Continued development. It’s not just about uploading campaign keywords on a one-off basis. There needs to be continued optimisation of target words, ensuring their relevance in the marketplace and user behaviour.
In the competitive hotel industry, search marketing can help you stand out – and ultimately bring in more reservations for your business.