By Hâfi Martinsdóttir
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes | 1326 words
Are people struggling to find your business online?
In a time when we are all hyper-focused on our local communities and what they offer, it’s crucial that your services and accommodation are being found online in local search results. Thanks to the impacts of COVID-19, over the coming months, and possibly years, we are expecting to see a drive towards supporting local. So, when your local community browse online for hotels like yours, we need to make sure that they not only find you but are also impressed with what they see and that you are positioned above your competition.
Read our previous article to learn more about Why Radical Localism Will Lead the Travel Industry’s Recovery Post COVID-19 and How to Prepare for This to better understand why people will be so focused on their own communities and local businesses during the pandemic and after it eases off.
Some more benefits of getting your business found online include:
In this first article of our new “How to get your hospitality business found locally online” course, we will run through the main areas to focus on when it comes to getting your business seen. To do this we are going to be focusing on your hotel’s local SEO, and the best place to start with that is Google My Business.
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is where you attempt to rank in search engine results (Google is an example of a search engine) when people search for services and accommodation like yours in their local area. Search engines also include maps, directories, apps containing local listings, anything that aggregates local information for their users.
In the example above, a quick Google search containing the query “hotels Byron Bay” brings up this knowledge panel. As you can see there are four hotels that are ranking above the rest and this is where we want your hotel to be positioned, right at the top. We don’t want it to be hidden amongst the “View 243 hotels” list below the knowledge panel.
It’s important to remember that we don’t want to just be showing up in Google, we want our business to be appearing anywhere online that lists services like yours in your local area.
A key component to getting featured locally is your Google My Business (GMB) listing. If you don’t have one click here for instructions on how to set one up (it’s free).
It’s worth noting that you can only have a Google My Business listing if you have a physical address, ie. office, shop, hotel. Google require a valid address to verify your listing. Essentially, to be eligible according to Google a business “must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours”.
The information from your GMB listing is then propagated around the internet as tens of thousands of sites, databases, directories, map results and apps (such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Trivago, Expedia Group, etc) take their information from your listing to share it with their own users. This is known as the online ecosystem.
So essentially, having a good quality GMB listing is the fundamental basis of a good local SEO strategy. This is why it’s so important that your listing houses the most accurate and essential information about your business such as hotel name, address, contact number, operating hours, website link, reviews, questions and answers and a brief bio about your hotel and brand.
But the bare miniumum is also known as “NAP”, Name, Address, Phone number which form the most essential information on your listing. This is because although another business might have the same name as yours, it is not likely to have the same address and phone number. Same goes for a business located in the same building as you who are unlikely to have the same name as yours or phone number. Listing these three items are the equivalent of your own unique business ID online. There are situations when issues can arise such as duplicates and incorrect information being propagated but we will cover these and how to fix them later on in this series.
Other attributes include Category, Images and Reviews to provide additional information about your business.
Ensure you list all of the relevant attributes of your hotel, such as whether or not it has wheelchair access or an elevator. Likewise, make it clear which activities you offer your guests whether it’s bicycle rental a swimming pool or a games room. If you offer access to free wifi or if your hotel is family-friendly then be sure to make that clear within the attributes/amenities section. This means that if someone Googles “family-friendly hotels in Byron Bay with swimming pool” you are more likely to come up!
We also recommend you select up to five of your most popular and requested amenities to “highlight” and feature alongside colorful icons below your hotel’s name.
Local SEO works in addition to traditional SEO activities and not as a stand-alone. So, ensure you are also practicing good SEO of your online presence including, but not limited to; regular high-quality blog content, use of relevant keywords, website speed, image optimisation with alt attributes, having an updated, well-structured and optimised website, and so on.
Our main goal when starting out with a local SEO strategy is to increase the number of, and improve the quality of, interactions with our business online via map results and local searches which in turn will boost your hotel’s booking revenue.
To increase interactions it’s important that our GMB listing contains several different ways for people to reach out to us, including a link to our website, a phone number to call, the ability to ask a question and view previous questions and answers, to write a review and read past reviews. And depending on what your business offers, an opportunity for people to book a room or a table at your property. We will cover this later on in the course in a more in-depth article.
We can’t over emphasise just how important a well-rounded and informative Google My Business listing is for increasing the amount of rooms that get booked at your property. Keep it regularly updated and treat it as the front door to your hotel because for many people searching online for a place to stay, this will be their very first interaction with your brand.
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… we will cover how to get people to find your hotel by utilising a powerful local SEO strategy.
To unlock the next 7 Steps covering how to get your hospitality business found online locally subscribe to our free online course below and instantly get access to Part Two.
About Magpie Creative Co.
Magpie Creative Co. is a digital marketing and design consultancy with a worldwide client base. We provide branding, web design and online marketing for businesses that offer luxury guest experiences and require an efficient online booking system.
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