Is your hotel relying too heavily on booking from large booking sites such as booking.com? A major goal of all hotels should be to attract as many qualified visitors to their official website as possible. While a booking through an affiliate site might still result in revenue, it does nothing to contribute to future revenue. It should be your hotels goal to have as much control over the booking experience as possible. Therefore it is far preferable to drive a booking through your official hotel website than through an affiliate. If a potential guest lands at your official hotel website you can ensure that they have the highest quality experience as possible.
The official experience should eclipse the 3rd party booking experience with higher quality images, valuable information and the lowest price. Follow the steps below to reduce your dependance on 3rd party sites and drive bookings through your official hotel website.
1. Brand Name Rankings
A primary step is to ensure that your hotel website is ranking for your brand terms. Almost any hotel website should be able to rank for their own brand terms. Ensure that your entire website is optimized for your brand terms. Make sure your meta title, text, links, image alt tags and heading contain your brand terms. An ideal place to include your hotel name is in the footer copyright text, the logo image alt text and in the on-page text.
2. Official Hotel Website Google Places Listing
It is absolutely essential that a hotel has an official verified Google Places listing. Often when searching using brand terms this listing can dominate the ranking real estate. A verified Google Places listing can work in tandem with your organic listing to capture clicks from the search engines results page.
3. Official = Best Available Rate
Be sure to include the words official website at the beginning of your hotel website meta description. Also mention that the official website means the very best available rate on the internet and then ensure that you offer the very best rate. A sample description might be as follows: “The luxury hotel name official website. Book direct for lowest prices.”
4. Reclaim Non-official Links
Often if you have some dubious websites trying to outrank your hotel website, these sites will get links from news stories and reviews. Using a tool such as http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/ you can identify these incorrect links and contact the website owner to correct them.
5. Dominate With Social Media Profiles
Hotel social media marketing via social media channels are excellent tools to dominate the search results. By setting up your official social media profiles and linking to these from your official website you can dominate the search engines results. Set-up your brands profiles on websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and your official presence can dominate the brand based search results.
6. Submit your hotel website to local directories
Local directories will not only help educate the search engines on your official brand but these citations will help your local search performance.
7. Gather links from your local partners
Most hotels work with many local business, from dry cleaning services to car rentals to catering companies and business centers. Ask these businesses to include your hotel name along with a link on their clients page. These links will be valuable indicators that your website is the official website.
8. Dedicate resources to maintaining direct channels
Either outsource or dedicate internal resources to promoting your direct channel booking efforts. If this is neglected your direct channel bookings will stagnate and 3rd party channels will continue to squeeze your revenue and dilute your brand.