How to promote your hotel on the local market?

How to promote your hotel on the local market?
28 March | 18 min. | Hotel sales and marketing

Did you know that 46% of Google's search queries are local? This means that almost half of the users look for information that is linked to the user's geolocation. A similar study found that 69% of users search for local businesses online at least once a month. These statistics are an indicator of the importance of local SEO.

Whether you own a restaurant or provide private services, local SEO is crucial for everyone. As a business owner, you should work on local SEO strategies to promote your business. You risk losing a lot of potential customers if you don't pay attention to it.

Before we go into the details related to local SEO promotion strategies, let's first understand what local SEO is.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the promotion of a business with a regional link, that is, a promotion that is directly related to the user's geolocation. For example, city, district, street, etc.

What would you do if you were in a new city and wanted to find a movie theater near you? If you're like most people, then you'd probably do a quick Google search.

As a result, you, most likely, will check the first few links, like Google maps, 2gis, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and others. If an owner can raise their business to the top of the search results, it can make a big difference to their business.

Along with raising awareness, a top directory can also increase the likelihood of getting a lead conversion. In a nutshell, it can be a key factor in the development of any business.

If you want to succeed in marketing in the digital age, local SEO promotion strategies should be the focus of your attention. They can be an indispensable tool for getting more customers.

Why do I need to do local SEO?

The TOP search results are most often taken up by OTA services (online travel aggregators) and booking/price comparison websites. Now OTA has almost replaced the hotel sites from the first positions. Mini-hotels and hostels are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with aggregators. The cost of attracting customers is increasing.

Do not forget that travel services aggregators charge a commission of up to 22%. Who is to charge? The hotel? Or a buyer on the YOTA website? Therefore, it is sometimes advantageous to book a room or order service directly through the official website of the hotel. You can also get additional bonuses and improved accommodation conditions compared to booking on an intermediary site.

What are the best local marketing strategies and SEO techniques?

To succeed in the local rankings, you need to come up with an effective strategy that will help you in the long run. Of course, this requires planning, perseverance, and time.

To make it easier for you, below I will list some local SEO promotion strategies that you should work on.

Optimization for mid-frequency keywords

A few years ago, all SEO experts emphasized the need to use HF (high-frequency) keywords. That was before Google announced that they were using a machine learning algorithm called Google Rank Brain to improve search results.

If you deepen into how Rank Brain works, you will notice that it prefers MF (mid-frequency) keywords. When a user searches for "best spas" and "best spas near me", they receive similar results. That's because Google understands that in both scenarios, users essentially look for the same thing.

Previously, Google showed results after the accurate keywords selection you entered. Now, if you want to rank, you need to optimize your content for Rank Brain. This means that MF keywords should be an important part of your local SEO strategy.

What are mid-frequency keywords?

As the name suggests, mid-frequency keywords are somewhere between high-frequency and low-frequency keywords. They are literally in the middle of the "pack". They are more focused than low-frequency keywords, and usually get more search volume than average high-frequency keywords.

So, to develop a robust local SEO strategy, you need to optimize your content for mid-frequency keywords.

Next, we will work with Google My Business, because it is most common outside of Russia and the CIS. It would be possible with Yandex, but, unfortunately, its behavior in the market is not happy.

So, let's start. You do not have a website, but you have a business and services provided.

Create a Google My Business Account

If you have an offline business and you need new customers, you should create a business account in Google My Business so that users can find you online, exactly when they are interested in your service.

According to the local search rating Moz factors, the GMB account was also included in the list of the best rating factors for local SEO, as well as Google Maps.

Google is more likely to display information about your business if it can verify the basic information of your business. The best way to do this is to do it via Google My Business (hereinafter referred to as GMB).

Unfortunately, not many people do this. For example, in Pyatigorsk, there is a good cafe, but it is not added to Google Maps. I offered to do it for free, but they said they could handle it themselves. It's still not on the map.

How can I add myself to Google My Business?

To successfully add to GMB, you need three things: Name, Address, and Phone Number.

First, make sure you have added the correct name, address, and contact information for your business.

Second, select the categories that are relevant to your business.

Third, add some high-quality photos that display your business.

All these details will help you establish the necessary user trust. It is also recommended to use keywords that are relevant to your business when filling out the business description.

After being added to GMB, you need to confirm your profile. Google chooses the method at its discretion. This can be a phone call and/or a code that will be sent by regular mail. Therefore, pay very close attention to the first point.

If you provide several different services, what do you need to do?

For example, if your hotel has a spa center and a Restaurant, it is better to have a separate address in GMB for each significant service, i.e. there will be three addresses: hotel, SPA, restaurant.

Find more local communities

The Google My Business Directory is just the first step to strengthening your local SEO strategy. In addition, users often visit sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor to see all the available places and activities. Therefore, it is very important to maintain the presence of your business on these sites. This is where local communities come into play.

You can use SEO analysis tools such as Serpstat or Ahrefs. Using them, you will find backlinks to other directories or listings, among the backlinks to competitors.

What is a citation list?

For the uninitiated — local quotes refer to the mentions that your business gets online. A local quote may include your company name, videos, images, geographic coordinates, reviews, or other information related to your business.

List a few forums and websites where you want to get on the list. Then slowly work on creating mentions of you.

Encourage your customers to write reviews

Do reviews affect your SEO?

According to a survey by Bright Local, 87% of all consumers read online reviews when they research a business. Moreover, 57% of people said that they choose a business only if it has a rating of more than 4 stars.

Reviews are a way to get meaningful social proof, and they can be a crucial factor in attracting new potential customers. You should encourage your customers to write good reviews about you on social networks and forums.

If you get negative reviews, don't worry. Answer them professionally and solve the voiced problems in private. This shows that you care about your customers.

If you don't have any reviews yet, ask your employees to leave the first ones on the most popular sites.

Creating local content

Content is the main part of any SEO strategy.

If you want more people in your area to know about you, you need to create the content they are looking for. Identify some of the pain points that people in your area face.

What is local content marketing?

Local content marketing is an often overlooked approach to improving your business rankings. This involves developing content that matches your local audience.

For example:

If you have a website in a tourist niche, you can suggest what to do and where to eat in a particular area. The goal is to answer questions that users can search for. If you provide quality content that people want to read, you automatically get traffic.

However, you may not have a website, but even in this case, the content strategy will work. What can prevent you from agreeing with bloggers or OTA, where there are blogs, about the placement of the article "20 restaurants with a view of the St. Petersburg roofs". You will only need to specify the names and addresses, and then the users will find you themselves.

The methods described above do not require a hotel website. The site, of course, can be made cheaply using services such as Tilda or Wix. But they also need to be monitored. If you have created the site, and you have employees who will work with the sites – let’s go to the second part.

You have already done what is above, but is OTA still higher for brand queries?

Get quality backlinks

How do backlinks help SEO?

If you want to attract a large audience, you can't rely on your site's audience alone. You also need to connect to other people's audience. That's when link building will help you.

To create your link profile, you need to find websites with high domain authority in your niche. Of course, you can get as many backlinks as you want on random sites.

But if they aren't high-quality, they won't help with your local SEO strategies. Focus on finding local websites that have good domain authority and allow guest publishing.

Contact them with ideas for guest posts, which I mentioned earlier.

Keep in mind that creating links is a long process.

You need to be consistent in your efforts to ensure that the results are reflected in your local SEO strategies.

Create a Mobile adaptive website

59% of all website traffic in the world was generated by smartphones in 2019. This makes one thing clear — you can't ignore mobile phone users.

Global operating system market share
Pic. 1. Global operating system market share, period: Feb. 2020 – Feb. 2021. Source: gs.statcounter.com

The transition from a laptop to a mobile phone is no longer invisible. You have to keep up with the changing trends in the market.

The first step is to create a mobile responsive website.

What does a responsive website mean?

This means that the web page layout, images, and design work well on a smartphone or any other mobile device. When you design your website, you should keep these two elements as your priorities: usability and responsiveness.

If your site is not optimized for viewing on mobile phones, smartphone users will not be comfortable using your website. They may need to zoom in or zoom out to view certain elements of your web pages.

A mobile responsive website solves this problem because it is accessible from different devices. The screen size doesn't make any difference for web pages.

So far, this has only been discussed from the user's point of view. Now let's see how mobile responsive design can affect your local SEO strategy.

Google uses the first mobile indexing (fang. Mobile-first indexing). This essentially means that it selects the mobile web page of the website for indexing and ranking purposes. So, this is one of the most important factors for your local SEO strategy.

According to Google, what you can do to promote your site:

The PC and smartphone versions of the site must contain the same content in an indexed format. This applies to text, photos, and videos.

You should use structured data on your PC and smartphone versions of the site.

Write the same titles and meta-descriptions for both versions.

Research of local keywords

The keywords you choose for ranking should match your local audience. You need to select keywords that have a high search volume in your location. You can use the Google Keyword Planner to find popular keywords in your area and create your list based on those queries that you find.

As soon as you make a list of local keywords that are interesting for you to promote them, it's time to act. Include these keywords in your meta-descriptions, content, and URLs.

In addition to this, it is advisable to mention the popular hot spots and attractions in your area of the city. For example, if you have a store in the center of Moscow, you can write something like "near red Square".

Focus on on-Page SEO

What is on-page SEO and why is it important?

On-page SEO refers to the process of optimizing the web pages of your site. This is a critical part of your local SEO strategy.

The first step to improving your on-page SEO is to make sure that your content is error-free and answers visitors' questions.

Focus on publishing content that is high-quality and original. Although the use of keywords is important, it is advisable to use them only in a natural way. Don't fill your article with keywords.

To give search engines a better idea of what is on your web page, optimizing your content alone is not enough. You should also make sure that you use the appropriate meta-descriptions and title tags. If you use the keywords in them optimally, you can strengthen your local SEO strategy.

Examples of good SEO page parameters filling:

Title: Avenue Hotel in the center of New York

Description: Hotel New York  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ is an inexpensive mini-hotel in the heart of New York. The hotel is 1 minute from the subway. Book by phone ☎ +1 (XXX) XXX-XX-XX or on the website.

Also, make sure that all images on your website also contain keywords with alt texts. Don't let your image files have random names. If you don't add the appropriate titles, it will affect your SEO.

Download speed seems to be the deciding factor for your overall SEO strategy. However, it is not. It is rather an influence on behavioral factors. If your page takes too long to load, your site visitors can just abandon your site. A longer page load time also affects your search ranking.

You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to check how long it takes to load your page.

Micro-markup Schema.org

Micro-markup is another way to improve your local SEO strategy.

What is meant by schema markup?

For the uninitiated, schema markup is a technology that allows search engines to find and display information related to your business.

This can include everything from your address to your prices and reviews. This is a good way to showcase this information on your website. Displaying this information will help you increase the number of clicks on the site (increase the CTR). This, in turn, can give a boost to the development of your local SEO strategy.

For sites, we recommend using the following micro markup:

  • Organization is suitable for any type of business. 
  • Hotel for hotels. 
  • BreadcrumbList is suitable for any website with nesting from two pages and deeper. 
  • Offer is suitable for any type of business where there are long-term and short-term promotions.
  • Reviews suitable for restaurants, bars, hotels. 
  • Aggregating suitable for restaurants, bars, hotels.
  • FAQ suitable for restaurants, bars, hotels. 

Markup mostly affects the snippet in the search results, increasing its attractiveness and clickability. Example:

Example schema markup for a hotel
Pic. 2. Example schema markup for a hotel. Source: google.com

To add a markup, you can use the Google Structured Data Markup Assistant. You can also check how your web page will look after adding schema markup using the structured data testing tool.

Are you ready to beat your competitors?

Whether you manage a large company or you are a small business owner, pay attention to local SEO. If you want to improve your online visibility and get more potential customers, local SEO is the best way to do it. We hope the local SEO strategies mentioned above will help you improve your position in the search engine results.

However, do not forget that without the high quality of the services provided, SEO will not help!

Pavel Sayk
About the Author:
Senior Web-engineer

13 years of experience in all stages of the Web development lifecycle, from concept and development through HTML markup and tuning.  In-depth understanding of security, SEO, and optimization to maximize site performance. Extensive knowledge and on-hands experience in information architecture, web design, and project management.

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