Give the People What They Want: The Local Touch

local search graph
Renee Radia
Renee Radia
September 25, 2012
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A recent eMarketer study showed what was already suspected by many – the majority of the polled leisure travelers in the US use their smartphones to seek out local information while traveling, and 43% of the respondents use tablets to do the same. The latter result rose 36% from the findings 2 years ago, thus reassuring that tablet usage has grown dramatically and will continue to grow as the industry evolves.

eMarketer study local search graph

The data only gets better for travel marketers. According to a study from Google and Nielsen cited in the eMarketer articlesmartphone users averaged 2.2 actions after searching on their mobile devices. This number of actions is higher than almost every other industry’s data, save for the beauty and automotive industries.  The most useful finding from the study is that two-thirds of local searches during the studied time period were nonspecific, which suggests that people are browsing for suggestions of activities, rather than browsing for particular trip-planning information.

What does this mean for hotels? Opportunity! Now that it is easier than ever to find out what draws people to your site via mobile devices, hoteliers should be quick to take advantage of this data. The first step, of course, is to ensure your hotel has a mobile website and that it is optimized with the best format and displays the most relevant information for mobile browsers. With the information that travelers and guests are seeking out suggestions during their stays, take the time to share your insider knowledge. Not only will this keep your guests happy, but it will drive traffic to your site and position your hotel as an expert in the local area.

Host a blog on your website and keep it current and fresh. Include information about the area, local events, day trip ideas – include anything in which your guests would be interested. Top 10 lists are great because they are succinct yet provide much value. Are there any common questions asked at the Concierge desk? A Q&A style blog post might bring a lot of traffic to your blog and save guests the time and energy of waiting in line at Concierge. Hook up your hotel’s Twitter feed to the mobile site and tweet daily trip tips. This is a great way to incorporate the social aspect to your site and bring in visitors both to your site and your social media pages.

With the knowledge of exactly for what your guests are searching, it’s important to take advantage. Don’t let your hotel fall behind!

(Photo courtesy of eMarketer)

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