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Guide 1 for Hoteliers - First steps to get your hotel visible online
 

Guide 1 for Hoteliers - First steps to get your hotel visible online

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    Guide 1 for Hoteliers - First steps to get your hotel visible online Guide 1 for Hoteliers - First steps to get your hotel visible online Document Transcript

    • -­‐  Guide  1  for  Hoteliers  –   Overview  of  the  Way  to  Get  a  Hotel  Visible  Online                By   Emilie   Alba,   extract   of   thesis   “The   Online   Competition   Between   Hoteliers   and   OTAs”,  September  10th,  2012.       What  does  “building  one’s  online  presence”  mean  for  us,  hoteliers?    First,  it  consists  in  being  present  and  active  on  at  least  3  interrelated  touch  points:  -­‐  Social  Media  -­‐  Website  -­‐  Search  Engines  Each  touch  point  requires  specific  and  diversified  knowledge,  which  implies  the  know-­‐how  of  different  persons.      Then,   it   consists   in   enlarging   a   hotel’s   web   presence   through   the   use   of   another  touch-­‐point:  local  directories.  Maintaining  coherent  business  information  among  all  these  touch  point  is  essential  for  successful  SEO.  (More  about  this  topic  on  the  next  “Guide  for  Hoteliers”)        How  to  maintain  a  hotel  visible  online?    It   works   the   same   way   as   any   other   businesses,   except   that   for   hotels   much  importance  is  especially  given  to  Social  Media.  As  hotels  sell  intangible  services,  they  have   to   communicate   a   lot   about   their   brand   and   the   experience   they   provide,   if   they  want  to  get  online  reservations.    Social   media   platforms   like   Twitter,   Facebook,   Pinterest,   Youtube,   Tumblr   etc.   are  therefore  essential  to  encourage  potential  customers  to  make  reservations.    Look  at  the  map  below,  you  will  get  it!  
    •    Each   touch   point   embodies   one   or   several   specific   role(s),   which   explains   their   position  on  the  pyramid:    1-­‐   Social   Media   is   positioned   on   the   top   because   good   management   influences   the  number  of  visits  on  a  hotel’s  website,  which  influences  top  ranking  on  Google’s  search  engine.  2-­‐  A  hotel’s  website  is  located  at  the  center  of  the  pyramid  because  it  influences  and  is  influenced  by  both  the  activities  on  Social  Media  and  Google.  As  a  result  the  website  also  needs  to  be  perfectly  optimized  to  exert  an  influence  towards  the  top  and  the  bottom  of  the  pyramid.  3-­‐   Google   is   the   base   of   the   pyramid   because   its   tools   and   features   will   influence   the  visibility  of  a  hotel’s  website  and  social  media  sites,  which  will  increase  the  number  of  visits  on  the  website,  and  finally  result  in  a  better  ranking  on  Google’s  search  engine  for  the  website.       Do  the  3  touch  points  influence  one  another?    Yes,   they   do!   And   it   creates   a   vicious   circle   that   is   at   the   origin   of   whether   online  performance   or   online   disaster.   This   means   that   if   a   hotel   is   performing   well   on   each  touch  point,  then  the  hotel  will  be  visible  online.  On  the  other  hand,  if  a  hotel  encounters  a   problem   on   only   one   touch   point,   then   the   two   others   will   be   affected   and   the   hotel  will  loose  online  visibility.     Why  is  Google  the  base  of  the  pyramid?     2    
    • Google  indeed  embodies  the  role  of  a  “provider   of   tools   and   features”  (Google  maps,  G+   pages,   G+   Local,   etc.)   that   exposes   your   hotel   to   the   public   eyes.   But   Google   also  embodies   the   role   of   a   “policeman”,   with   its   algorythms   that   access   all   your   social  media   accounts   and   websites,   before   deciding   whether   or   not   a   hotel   deserves   to   be  visible  on  the  Internet.    This  explains  why  web-­‐marketing  strategists  give  much  importance  to  Google.       *-­‐/?..°?**,  So  what?    Google  is  indeed  the  beginning  of  the  launch  of  a  “wheel”  that  is  going  to  turn  until  the  hotel  is  visible  on  Google  Search  Engine.          The   launch   of   the   wheel   consists   in   setting   up   Google   accounts   for   each   of   its   main  tools.   Then,   so   the   wheel   can   continue   its   rotation,   a   hotel’s   website   needs   to   be  optimized  (web-­‐developers   have   to   intervene   on   this   step).   To   finish,   so   the   wheel   can  keep  turning,  social   media   accounts   need   to   be   created   and   regularly   updated.  At  this  step  the  “wheel”  is  turning,  and  to  give  it  speed,  hotels  need  to  be  active  on  social  media.  It  will  create  more  visits  on  the  website  and  a  better  ranking  on  Google  search  engine.       OK,  this  makes  sense…  What’s  next?    The  obstacles  that  prevent  the  “wheel”  from  turning…    So  far,  we  clearly  understood  that  to  get  a  hotel’s  website  reaching  more  visibility  online  and  getting  more  visits,  the  wheel  has  to  turn  in  the  right  direction  (from  right  to  left  on  the  graph).  But,  the  wheel  is  heavy  and  therefore  takes  time  before  turning  on  and  on  towards  its  goal.     3    
    •  Moreover,  during  the  launch  of  the  wheel,  hoteliers  will  encounter  many   obstacles   that  will  slow  down  the  launch.      Look  at  the  map  below!        The   main   problems   hoteliers   are   currently   encountering   come   from   G+   Local   (the  merging  of  G+  and  Google  Places)  and  from  the  under  or  over  optimization  of  their  websites  and/or  social  media  sites.     Don’t  go  too  fast;  briefly  explain  the  problem  with  Google!    The  main  actual  trouble  with  Google  is  to  get  the  Google  +  Local  page  created  from  the  successful  merging  of  a  hotel’s  G+  business  page  and  Google  Places  Listings.     4    
    •    The  launch  of  Google  +  Local  is  confusing  for  hoteliers  because,  even  before  the  merging  of  the  2  tools,  a  temporary  G+  local  page  is  generated.  Hoteliers  are  therefore  facing  two  G+   pages   (the   business   one   and   the   temporary   local   one)   and   don’t   not   know   what   is  going  to  happen  next.      They  are  wondering  whether  the  final  merging  would  automatically  get  done  or  whether  there   is   something   to   do   to   get   it   done.   Once   the   merging   was   done   for   some   businesses  (hotels   included),   many   of   them   noticed   data   inconsistencies   (wrong   business   name   or  phone  number,  photos  missing,  etc.)  on  their  G+  Local  Page,  or  saw  their  hotel  disappeared  from  the  G+  Local  listing.  These  problems  are  due  to  the  merging  and  will  be  discussed  in  more  details  on  the  next  “Guide  for  Hoteliers”.      What’s  wrong  with  the  hotels’  websites?    The  problems  with  the  websites  usually  come  from  an  under-­‐optimization  or  an  over-­‐optimization.         5    
    •  When   a   website   is   under-­‐optimized,   it   doesn’t   have   a   performing   content   (wrong   key  words,   not   enough   pictures,   links   missing   or   pointing   toward   under-­‐optimized  websites,  business  information  not  updated,  etc.).  On  the  other  hand,  a  website  can  not  perform   well   when   it   has   been   over-­‐optimized   with,   for   example,   too   long   meta-­‐tag  description,   excessive   use   of   the   same   key   words   or   links   pointing   toward   other   sites   of  the  same  owner,  etc.     What  about  Social  Media?    Too  many  independent  hotels  miss  to  update  their  social  pages  or  to  regularly  post  new  content.          This   can   directly   have   a   negative   influence   on   the   ranking   of   a   hotel’s   website,   in   that  Google   can   consider   as   “abandoned”  a  site  linked  to  social  media  accounts  (Facebook,  blogger,  etc.)  that  are  not  regularly  updated.       Ok,  What  are  the  consequences  of  accumulated  “obstacles”?    A   hotel’s   website   will   register   less   visits,   which   generally   results   in   a   loss   of   direct  reservations   on   a   hotel’s   website.   And   in   the   end,   the   website   will   lose   rankings   on  Google’s  search  engine  and  will  be  less  visible.       And  OTAs  will  benefit  from  it…,  I  got  it!    Exactly…  because  when  a  web-­‐user  types  for  example,  “Hotel  San  Francisco”  in  Google  Search,  the  first  results  that  are  going  to  appear  are  results  from:  -­‐  Google  Hotel  Finder  -­‐  Local  Directories  (ex:  TripAdvisor)  -­‐  Online  Travel  Agencies  (ex:  Expedia)   6    
    •  See  the  screenshot  below:          As   a   result,   web-­‐users  are  more  likely  to  make  a  reservation  on  an  OTA’s  website  than  on  a  hotel’s  website.     Time  to  sum  up!    It   is   highly   recommended   to   have   each   touch   point   optimized   by   getting   rid   of   the  problems   when   they   show   up.   It   is   not   a   step-­‐by-­‐step   process;   hoteliers   have   to  maintain  their  presence  on  each  touch  point  as  regularly  as  possible.      Optimizing  one’s  online  presence  doesn’t  consist  in  dealing  with  Google  for  one  month,  with  the  hotel’s  website  the  following  month,  and  then  with  the  social  media  sites  the  month  after.      It  is  dealing  with  the  3  touch  points  altogether,  by:  1-­‐   solving   in   priority   the   most   important   problems   (whether   they   appear   on   a   Social  Media  site,  Google  account  or  a  hotel’s  Website)  2-­‐  updating  the  hotel’s  information  as  soon  as  mistakes  are  noticed,  and  renewing  the  content  as  regularly  as  possible.     7