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ReviewPro's Guide To Hotel Website Optimization


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In this guide you will find information and examples for the following topics: …

In this guide you will find information and examples for the following topics:

Understand the recent changes to search engine algorithms and consumer behavior
Outline several practical steps you can take to increase your user-generated content (UGC) and direct sales
- Understand how UGC can affect search engine optimization
- Learn how to increase your UGC to drive more traffic to your website
- Learn how to increase the quality and quantity of your hotel’s reviews

See examples of hotels that effectively use website optimization
Discover where to publish reviews and UGC for maximum impact
Design your website to encourage reviews and user generated content

Published in: Technology, Design
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  • 1. A Hotelʼs Guide to 
 Website Optimization#Using online reviews and user-generated contentto increase direct sales A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011"   July 2011"
  • 2. A Hotel’s Guide to Website Optimization The role of online reviews in measuring This guide explains recent changes to and improving quality is a topic we search engine algorithms and consumer discuss frequently at ReviewPro. Yet behavior that guide current best practices reviews and user-generated content also in hotel website optimization. It will outline present a significant opportunity to several practical steps you can take to increase the number of people coming to increase direct sales with user-generated your website, and to convert more of content, and provide examples of hotels those visitors into buyers." that are doing this well.# #  " Since direct sales are typically most - Josiah Mackenzie @ReviewPro" profitable for hotels, hotel website July 2011" optimization is a topic worthy of special consideration. A purchase through your website gives you the ability to control the buying experience – which messages the consumer sees and how they see it – and provides greater opportunities to connect the buyer with the rest of your social media presence. " # # # # # # A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 1"
  • 3. Benefits of guest reviews and user-generated content User generated content (UGC) is defined Consumer confidence is simply how How to encourage more UGC# by as any data or media much a potential customer trusts you.  " that is contributed by the users of a Over the past few years, a significant shift As the benefits of user-generated content website (instead of by professional in communications authority has taken become increasingly obvious, the journalists and editors). In the context of place. According to Yankelovich research, question becomes “how do we encourage reputation management, we typically think 75% of consumers do not believe more of this?” The answer is quite simple: first of online guest reviews, but UGC also companies tell the truth in their The next time you receive positive includes photos, blog posts, and a wide advertisements. Further, emarketer feedback, ask the guest for some type of range of other digital content." discovered that consumer reviews are online contribution. Request they share  " trusted 12 times more than product their experience online with friends." descriptions by the company. When This guide is specifically about helping Remember, in order to encourage people your hotels increase direct sales with making a purchase decision, people are increasingly turning to people they trust to share content online, you need to UGC, and this happens two ways:" communicate what they have to gain from and other consumers for advice and  " guidance. " the process. It allows them to share • indirectly: by increasing rankings in experiences with friends and family. It " helps other travelers online. It builds their search engines, bringing more traffic to your website " "" # own social profile." • directly: by increasing sales conversion #  " rates by increasing consumer confidence" ## For more information, see our guide How  " # Hotels Can Increase The Volume of Their " # Reviews:! " ## # reviews-3074" " # " " " # A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 2"
  • 4. Using guest reviews and user-generated content for SEO Web search plays a central role in the Hubspot research revealed a few For years, the primary search travel planning and purchase process. compelling statistics to remember about optimization benefit of reviews and UGC One interesting statistic shared by Google the importance of ranking well in search was that they provided a source of fresh at EyeForTravelʼs 2011 Travel Distribution results pages:" content – something search engines Summit Europe in London was that travel " needed and rewarded. This is still true: purchases online typically involve more • The top result on a search page gets Content is king. But now, search engines than 50 search queries and an average of clicked 42% of the time (compared to 3% are rapidly integrating social data to put 2.5 hours of research time. Each of these for result #10)" content into context. Online reviews and searches is an opportunity to introduce UGC are an increasingly important factor your brand – but only if people see your • The top 3 results get 79% of the total in the search algorithms that determine website." clicks" how web pages are ranked. " • The top 5 results get 88% of clicks" "  " • Only 3% of searchers go beyond the first " • Google is emphasizing consumer page of results pages "" reviews to reward local businesses that "" "" the community finds helpful" "" Clearly, your hotelsʼ placement in search • Bing is reaching into their usersʼ social " results plays a disproportionate role in graph to suggest content that will interest " website traffic they will receive. If they are them" " not near the top of page one of a search " results page, the website is practically " invisible to potential guests." "  " "  " " " " " " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 3"
  • 5. Using guest reviews and user-generated content for SEO (continued) The new role of UGC and social in search" The new functionality will display Customer reviews are affecting search " personalized results based on that engine placement" personʼs social network – such as links or " Recently, the social web was all abuzz about Bingʼs integration of Facebook content their friends have Liked. When Google is especially interesting to us as the personʼs friends have not shared any data. According to the Bing company hotel marketers, because it is the most blog:# content related to a search, Bing will popular search engine with approximately prioritize content that is popular with the 65% worldwide market share as of June ! Facebook community at large. This 2011. Additionally, Googleʼs local “Not only [will you] see the individual means search engine optimization is now business listing – the “7 box” very familiar pages or stories your friends like, but the not exclusively all about building inbound overall sites they like related to the topic to search engine marketers - is links, but improving the overall sentiment youʼre searching for.”# determined primarily by reviews and user- and engagement toward your brand on generated content. # "" the web. # " "  " " "" Takeaway: Encourage mini-reviews such as Facebook ʻLikesʼ to not just reach " " people in that network, but to optimize " your search engine rankings. " "  " " ! " ! " ! " ! " ! " ! " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 4"
  • 6. Using guest reviews and user-generated content for SEO (continued) Recent Google patents seem to suggest Basically:# additional integration will take place in the 1.  the quality and quantity of your future. This excerpt from one Google reviews, # patent in the past is especially interesting 2.  how many websites contain customer for hotels and online reputation reviews, # management: "# 3.  and the sentiment behind the ! customer reviews # One factor may relate to the numeric " scores of the reviews (e.g., how many stars or thumbs up/down). Another factor ...all play an important role in increasing search engine visibility today. If for no might relate to some function (e.g., an average) of all the scores of the reviews. other reason, these factors would make a Yet another factor might relate to the type strong case for investing in online of document containing the review (e.g., a reputation management . # restaurant blog,, Citysearch,  " or Michelin). A further factor might relate Takeaway: Invest in building your social to the types of language used in the media presence and cultivating as many reviews (e.g., noisy, friendly, dirty, best). online customer reviews as possible to Another factor might be derived from user increase search engine rankings and logs, such as what businesses users drive more website traffic." frequently click on to get detailed   " "" information and/or for what businesses " they obtain driving directions.# " " " " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 5"
  • 7. Using reviews to increase direct sales Encouraging more direct sales takes First, making sure visitors stay on your Second, you need a way to turn more place through three basic categories of site. Depending on a number of factors, website visitors into buyers: increasing activity:" between 25-40% of people who leave a your sales conversion rate. Improving  " hotel website do so to read online trust levels – “consumer confidence” - is reviews. It is possible to fight this loss of another key factor in encouraging more 1.  Driving traffic to a website" traffic by publishing reviews directly on direct sales. We find hotels that place 2.  Making sure visitors stay on the the hotel website, ultimately increasing reviews on their website find it easier to website" the number of direct sales." get people to trust their marketing 3.  Converting that website traffic into  " communications. " sales"  " "  " This is particularly important for small and " Since we covered the first point by independent hotels that may not have the looking at search engine optimization, " recognition of a large chain brand. letʼs proceed to the other two areas. " " Business travelers in particular tend to  " " choose large hotels because chain " " brands offer a consistent experience. The " chance of having a horrible experience is " perceived as lower. For small and " " independent hotels, developing a positive " " online reputation increases confidence " " that your hotel has been approved by " " dozens of other travelers. Trust is " established through credibility, and today " credibility is best built through the words " " of others. " " " " " " " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 6"
  • 8. The ReviewPro Quality Seal When positive reviews are placed on a Action: If you are a ReviewPro client, (The code for this can be accessed within hotel website, they increase consumer make sure your webmaster has installed the Settings page of the ReviewPro app.)" confidence and keep people on the site. the ReviewPro Quality Seal on the " This need to establish trust and credibility homepage of your website and in internal was the inspiration for one of ReviewProʼs booking engine pages if possible. " most practical features: The ReviewPro " Quality Seal. This is a little widget that " can be placed on a hotel website, aggregating reviews from over 65 " sources, and displaying the overall guest " satisfaction score according to the Global " Review IndexTM. " " " " Why use the ReviewPro Quality Seal?! " " " • Display an independent, third-party " verification of overall quality" " • Show the overall guest satisfaction score " from over 60 websites (not limited to a single source)" " " • Build credibility with website visitors (they know it is not possible to tamper with the " results)" " • Ultimately increase sales conversion " rates and direct revenue" "  " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 7"
  • 9. Blending review formats Publishing reviews you receive online as " ! written text is a good start, but if you have "" Online video or audio "" reviews in other formats use them as well. " " Mixing formats of user-generated content can make the testimonials even more " This can be the most difficult type of " content to create, but can make for a very effective." compelling sales tool. If you ever have the " " opportunity (and permission) to record Many hotels that deliver remarkable " positive feedback from guests in video or experiences for their guests receive notes " audio format, do so. Showcase it on your of appreciation back from these people. If Sharing hand-written feedback can be blog. Feature it on your website." people send your hotel staff a postcard or something that works well on Facebook.  " letter talking about how much they Seven Hotel in Paris posts photos from appreciated their stay, get permission to You may find the best way to do this is their guestbook to their Facebook page, through events hosted at your hotel. The scan it and upload the positive feedback and receives a very positive feedback:" Roger Smith Hotel in New York City to your website. Written postcards are  " makes hosting live events and meetups a harder to fake, and so it can create a unique feeling of authenticity. "  " strategic part of their digitial media " campaign for this reason. (You can read  " their whole story here: Hand-written feedback can be shared in " other formats as well. For example, Hotel " hotel-publishing-3551)" SO in New Zealand uploaded photos from "  " their guestbook to a separate domain – ! – for easy reference. Takeaway: Do everything you can to turn !! fans and customers into advocates for How difficult would it be for you to do something similar?" ! your hotels. "  " ! " " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 8"
  • 10. Where to place UGC for maximum impact Where should reviews and user- " generated content be placed on your website for maximum impact? The answer is wherever you need to engage people and build credibility. "  " Look at your website analytics for pages with high bounce rates and high exit rates. This could reveal good places to publish reviews and user-generated content. "   " Different hotels will take different approaches to this. We recommend putting the ReviewPro Quality seal mentioned earlier on all your website pages, but perhaps you want to go a step further and create a separate social media hub on your website. "  " Pueblo Bonito Resorts does a great job with this:" reviews.aspx" " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 9"
  • 11. Where to place UGC for maximum impact (continued) Since the search query [hotel name + ! " “reviews”] is very common from ! " consumers, some hotels find it helpful to ! " create an entirely separate site to host these reviews. " ! " ! "  " Doing this..." ! " • Increases the number of times your hotel ! ! ! !! " shows up in search engine results pages" !! " • Enables you to quickly send people to a ! " summary of your reviews without the risk ! " of losing them elsewhere on the web" ! " • Makes life easier for your sales team to ! " share customer testimonials" ! "   "" Another example is the Sunver Resort in Takeaway: Whatever goal you are trying Fierro Hotel in Buenos Aires is using this Oregon, which is positioning itself as a to obtain with public relations or concept in a slightly different way. They family-friendly resort. Rather than use marketing communications, have your have created a separate blog on Tumblr boring stock photography that you might guests and customers become the to showcase reviews and other guest- see on any website, they decided to use spokespeople and share the message for created content. This was very easy to set photos taken by their guests throughout you." up, but the benefits are significant. They the website. This approach helps " build search visibility and showcase the reinforce the brand position they are best parts of their hotel from the " trying to attain. " perspective of their guests. "  "  " " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 10"
  • 12. Designing your website to encourage reviews and UGC Not only can your website be optimized to Send people to this page from invoice Think about “white-hot” interest points make more sales with user-generated emails. Have your front desk staff send across your web presence that can be content, but it is possible to make a few people here, and link to it with Tweets. leveraged to increase your online changes to your site to increase the Maybe you could even put it on a reputation. " number of reviews you receive. " separate domain like • Post-booking confirmation screens. " "" The goal is to make this process as easy • The welcome message for your hotelʼs A landing page is the first page someone as possible for people. " internet network. " sees on your Web site. It plays a crucial  " • The thank you page for satisfaction role in presenting a clear message with Hot opportunities! surveys. " minimal distraction. There are two primary  "  " types of landing pages that will help you." Where and when you ask for something Decide on your call to action, and which  " on your website plays a huge role in how activity will encourage the most user- “Review us” landing pages! effective you are in getting people to generated content. "   ! !! perform whatever action you want them to " Consider designing special landing p "ages take. After someone has emotionally and financially committed to your brand, For example, you could do what many to encourage reviews. Instead of asking other hotels do today: include a Facebook people to find your hotel on the same choosing to contribute content is a logical next step. Your request comes when they button on your homepage. Or you can review source every time, consider make a compelling offer immediately on building a “hub” page with links to a are in the perfect state of mind." your website booking confirmation page. variety of popular review sites.  " In the limited testing we have observed so (Remember the section about reviews for " far, Facebook pages that used to be idle search optimization: the greater diversity for months with just a few new fans have " of review sources, the more credibility gained hundreds of fans using this Google gives you.) " " " method. "  " " " " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 11"
  • 13. Tying it all together Hopefully this guide has shown you a few Test and track everything ! !! Remember, the greatest selling tactic in new ideas for using reviews and user-  " the world is the similar situation story . generated content to increase direct Consumers will find a story from another Rather than taking our word for bookings. "" everything, test the ideas in this guide traveler like them to be most credible and   "" helpful as they make their buying and see what results it brings you. Set up The principles we discuss in this guide tracking and testing systems to verify if decision." apply around the world. User-generated reviews and user-generated content  " content is important for international SEO, improve your website performance. Some • Create and share stories of delighted as search engines are looking for local metrics to begin with include:" guests." content. "  " • Leverage social proof in the form of   "" • Time on site" testimonials." This could be a big opportunity for your • Bounce rates" • Put guest feedback on every website hotels. Few hotels are using UGC on their page with the ReviewPro Quality Seal" • Page exit rates" website, and just a handful worldwide do • Put feedback in your booking system if this well in multiple languages. Your • Sales conversion rates" possible, as this may increase your hotels could stand out from competitors  " conversion rates." by encouraging and publishing reviews in Most importantly, setup A/B split tests to • Consider creating a separate page or multiple languages for localized versions test everything and identify improvement website where you publish all guest of your websites. ReviewProʼs technology opportunities in real time." feedback." also allows you to publish select reviews "" in specific languages. " • Mix up the media formats – text, photos, " and video – to achieve maximum impact."  " "  " " " " " " " A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 12"
  • 14. Whats next? Keep learning! ReviewPro monitors what About ReviewPro" Would you do us a favor?# is changing in the world of online  "  " reputation management and passes ReviewPro enables hoteliers to efficiently Were committed to making these guides along practical ways to use that in aggregate, organize and manage their available to you at no cost. We only ask hospitality." online reputation and presence in leading that if youve found it helpful, would you  " social media sites. ReviewPro provides share it with your friends?" Read the blog for more articles and the analysis, customer intelligence, " reports like this: 
 competitive benchmarking and reporting "" needed to help hotel professionals more effectively manage their organization." "  " " Follow us on Twitter for daily ideas and  " " tips:"  " Get a demo of ReviewPro today"  " "  " # "  " About The Author# " # # " # Josiah Mackenzie is the publisher of " – a " # # resource of guides and stories showing " how to use technology to serve your " # guests and make more sales. " # "   " # ## " Email Josiah: #" A Hotelʼs Guide to Website Optimization, July 2011" 13"