Mastering Local Search for Hotels in 2018

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Alex Corral
Alex Corral
January 22, 2018
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SEO
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Local SEO presents a unique set of challenges for hotels. The nature of our business makes it imperative that the information that potential customers are seeing is relevant, but even more so, it must be accurate. What is a local search? Think "hotels in Los Angeles" or "hotel marketing agencies in LA". Local SEO helps you get found by people who are looking for your service, and location matters to them. If you are wondering what you need to do, make sure to follow these steps.

Ensure You Local Listings Are Consistent

While Google (and other search engines) have gotten better at understanding a businesses place on the web, they are not perfect. This is why you need to make certain that your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are all the same. If they are different, then Google might have a tough time determining which information is correct. This can at times lead to issues where your information is being displayed incorrectly in a search result. This could confuse consumers, and might very well cost you the sale. As a hotel, it is okay if you start by adding your listing to relevant hospitality sites, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. In the long run though, you want to get listed on as many high quality directory sites that are relevant to your hotel. You never know how your customer will find out about your hotel.

Can you say with 100% certainty that all of your local listings are correct? If you said yes, then think about this; The International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management found that GMs are leaving hotels after 2.5 years on average. This means that in the past handful of years someone else very well could have put incorrect information somewhere. Maybe they delegated the task to an assistant, or they were careless with their citations. What ever the case may be, you need to ensure that your local game is up to par with 2018 standards.

1/3 of local SEO experts confirmed that these niche directories offer the greatest authority.

Local Link Building

Once you know that your listings are correct, you can double-down with citations. One of the best ways to boost your local cred is to have links pointing to your site from other local businesses. Are you hosing an event where a local restaurant is providing the food? This would be a great way to earn a link from a local business. The more quality links that you have from other local businesses, the better Google can tie them together. When you are using this tactic, above all else, you need to make sure that you are not spamming. Not all links are created equal.

Attract & Manage User Reviews

Everyone has their opinions on reviews, but I LOVE them. No, I don't love the 5 star review with no information, and a generic picture that looks like a company trying to manipulate the results. No, it's not the 1 star review from the person who is venting about their bad day, and the hotel ends up on the losing end of that battle. I love reviews, because if you take a sample of reviews, you will be able to get a clear picture of the hotel. There is no hiding from it.

This can help your local SEO. There is no denying that people do research on where they want to stay. If you are doing things right, then they will reflect in your reviews, and this could potentially convert a searcher into a customer. Now, this doesn't mean that you have to have 5 stars. I have stayed at lesser star-rated properties because I saw in the reviews that the hotel was actively monitoring them. When someone had a legitimate issue, it was rectified. If the hotel goofed, then they apologized. I don't think most consumers want perfect reviews. Customers want the truth, so that they can make the most informed decision possible.

Make Sure That Your Mobile Site Rocks

According to recent research data, 52% of hotel searches are now initiated on a mobile device and 46% of those have local intent. Search that was once dominated by desktop, is now seeing consumers move to mobile. You need to make sure that your hotel is offering a compelling experience for users when they are using their phones. Ensure that all of the buttons are tappable, even for people who have larger hands. Show the user what they need to see, not everything and the kitchen sink. Also make sure that the booking process is seamless. Just because your website is responsive, doesn't mean that your booking engine will be.

Conclusion

These are 3 things that you can start doing right now that will have the greatest impact on your bottom line. They are not the hardest things to do, but they will require some effort on your part. It should also be noted that you need to have locally targeted keywords on your site as well since this is still one way that search engines can understand the content on your webpages. On the same note, you could add structured data onto your site the give correct information to the search engines. Since we now have less attention span, than that of a fish, it goes without saying that you need to engage potential guests. One of the best ways to do this is by adding high-quality visual elements to your website. This could come in the form of photos, or videos. If you use these tactics, then your local SEO will be on good footing for 2018 and beyond.

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