3 ways vanity websites help hotels recover faster from COVID-19’s tourism impact
Based on expert analysis, a balanced marketing mix is key to maintaining rates while steadily increasing occupancy as travel recovers from COVID-19. Keep public rates high and discount on opaque channels that won’t tarnish your brand. As part of that marketing mix, read our strategies to audit and improve travel channels. Your website, and the high ROI bookings captured through it, will be essential to keeping rates up.
Your website is the source of truth for your brand online. It should be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy: strategically built to capture more bookings in the post-COVID-19 travel world.
Here are three reasons why your hotel website is more important than ever. These are three marketing approaches hotels must consider as they strategize for the future. To break it down:
- SEO captures more travelers searching for relevant keywords
- PPC proactively draws in relevant traffic
- Special offers and promotions increases the likelihood of booking direct
All three of these strategies work together to drive more bookings – and they’re strategies that a website gives you unparalleled control over, whether you’re a branded property or not.
1. The power of SEO
Your vanity website will be key to capturing new markets. For example, the first wave of bookings will likely be local leisure travelers within driving distance of your property. If the majority of your clientele were previously business travelers, you cannot rely on OTAs to capture that new market. You have increased competition, who are already experts, doing that right now.
SEO can help you capture new markets by targeting relevant keywords in your area. Work with a team of experts to make sure your SEO strategy is aligned with your overall brand goals and target market. Just because you want people to be searching for a keyword relevant to your market doesn’t mean they are!
When we onboard a hotel property to build a new website, our SEO team analyzes the clients’ existing website, your local market and competition to uncover new keywords you may not expect. Identifying and creating content around keywords isn’t guesswork. It’s a process that takes experts, real data, and hard numbers to put together.
What’s more, SEO is so important because it allows hotels to target keywords that travel channels don’t have the resources or bandwidth to cover. For example, who can provide travel tips better than your hotel? Properly implemented, SEO turns your team’s local knowledge into a revenue generator. Turn your travel advice into search engine optimized content and bring more travelers to your well-designed and high-converting website.
2. PPC and paid marketing potential
It’s a tricky time to decide where and what to invest in. Our recommendation is to invest in a high-performing vanity website, which will become the powerhouse of your direct marketing plan. Your site should be designed to bring in organic traffic. Then, boost your marketing above the competition via PPC advertising.
The beauty of pay-per-click advertising is in the name: you pay only when travelers click on your advertising. Our PPC experts create and continuously adjust a strategy built around relevant keywords for each of our hotel clients.
PPC advertising is a tried and true method for effectively competing with OTAs. Third-party channels are typically already “bidding” on keywords that could be directing people to your website. Having your own website with PPC is the only way to compete against this.
3. Special offers & site features
Having a high-performing vanity website will make it easier to promote unique and relevant special offers. Special offers can help avoid rate slashing, because they promote booking direct without undercutting your rate strategy. Some examples of value-add special offers to try:
- Bundling services into the rate (e.g., airport or local transportation)
- Adding F&B promo (e.g., free breakfast)
- Area attraction discounts
Your vanity website should make it easy to upload and maintain new offers, and then actively promote these special offers. Here at Leonardo, we use the award-winning Smart CMS which lets hotels boost the profile of their offers with eye-catching pop ups.
If you’re looking to update your website to recover faster, you need a platform that is keeping up with the modern traveler. For example, our platform has made it easier to insert communications around your hotel’s COVID-19 response.
Leonardo builds hotel websites from design to web copy, and we create marketing strategies that support those sites. To learn more about how we help hotels drive more direct revenue, contact us today.