There are several reasons why your property might be losing hotel guest bookings to your competition. Weak branding that fails to showcase what makes your boutique hotel or vacation rental unique can make it tough to stand up to more creative competitors. Failing to showcase your property on major OTAs is another costly mistake, especially for a newer property.
But another common mistake that could be impacting your bookings is not investing in tourism SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of implementing marketing tactics to improve your website’s ranking on search engines—in particular, Google. It’s just one of the web design and development services we offer at Vibrant Management. Alongside a strong website and social media marketing, the right SEO strategies can help your website stand out, build brand awareness, and increase direct bookings.
Are you ready to start investing in tourism SEO? Keep reading to learn more about what you need to know, and how to get started.
What is SEO?
SEO is the process of implementing a variety of strategies, each designed to respond to the algorithms used by Google and other search engines to rank search results.
Perhaps the best-known SEO strategy is the use of keywords. These keywords are carefully chosen words and phrases meant to reflect what web users are searching for. For instance, a few keywords that might be relevant to your Springdale hotel include “hotels near Zion,” “best hotels in Southern Utah,” or “family-friendly Zion hotels.” These keywords are used throughout a website to increase the likelihood of that site being chosen by search engines for a high ranking when a web surfer enters a search for them.
But keyword usage is far from the only tourism SEO strategy that you need to be using. Things like your use of backlinks, having a mobile-friendly site, and even the labeling of images on your site can all impact your ranking as well.
While you may pay (and should if you want to optimize your strategy) to have content created, links sourced, and keywords researched, you won’t pay directly to improve your site’s organic rate. Meaning that you can’t just fork over cash and bump your site’s ranking to a higher organic spot than your competitor.
Why is Tourism SEO So Important?
Like every industry, the tourism and hospitality industry is competitive. You’re already working hard to make sure that your property stands out on social media and on OTA sites. But not all travelers start on Instagram or Expedia when searching for a place to stay on their next vacation. Many rely on a simple web search.
If you aren’t investing in tourism SEO for your property’s website, you could be missing out on another important segment of bookings, as well as one of the most profitable; direct bookings.
SEO Isn’t an Exact Science
One of the things that makes mastering tourism SEO so difficult is that it isn’t an exact science. There’s no perfect number of times that a website should include a certain keyword or an exact number of blogs you have to post before your ranking improves.
Search engines use carefully created algorithms to provide the most accurate results possible any time a web surfer runs a search. Google’s algorithms are perhaps the most famous, for a number of reasons. One big one is that they change often, and Google doesn’t release exactly what has changed.
Google keeps its algorithms a safely guarded secret for a reason. And their reasons are sound; they don’t want spam websites to immediately update their tactics to rank higher. This would result in non-useful search results getting provided, which would turn users away from Google.
As soon as a new algorithm is released, marketing experts descend, trying to track down exactly what has changed. Sometimes, the changes are big. A marketing tactic, like using external links, might be a big boost for a site’s ranking with one algorithm. Then a change can come along and suddenly keywords are a bigger factor. For website owners, this means constantly updating their SEO tactics.
Investing in Tourism SEO
The best way to ensure that your website’s SEO strategy is strong and effective is to invest in professional tourism SEO. The experts at Vibrant Management stay up-to-date on the latest algorithm changes and understand how best to implement SEO as a part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Whether you’re looking to start improving your tourism website’s SEO or are ready to totally revamp your branding and marketing strategy, we can help. Book a free consultation today to learn more about our services and to learn how the experts at Vibrant Management can help your hotel or vacation rental stand out from the competition.
Not ready to take the plunge? Check out our podcast, The Virtual GM, for weekly episodes packed with tips to help you elevate your game in the modern hospitality industry!