In over fifteen years of supporting the digital growth of hotels and hospitality establishments, I have consistently encountered two recurring themes from corporate executives and leadership groups seeking to expand their business portfolios. Firstly, the recognition that there are limitations to what can be achieved for branded hotels on their brand sites due to templated pages. Secondly, the eagerness to explore the ‘gray area’ between brand and property to bridge the gaps in search optimization. While major hotel brands no longer allow vanity or stand-alone sites for their properties, hotel management companies often overlook a significant opportunity: leveraging their ‘corporate site’ as a potent digital marketing tool.”
In this article, I will share some of the numerous opportunities that I have seen and levers thrown to use the corporate website for a management company to promote the online presence of their portfolios. There are a number of benefits of following these recommendations that should be appealing to a number of the executives around the conference table including driving more traffic to websites to potentially generate more direct bookings, generate more group leads, increasing online presence and awareness of management group to increase development opportunities and increase visibility for employee attraction and retention purposes.
Best practices for optimizing hotel management company corporate sites:
Here are a few best practices for optimizing hotel management company corporate sites:
- Create full profiles for each property in your portfolio. This should include information such as the hotel’s location, amenities, services, and photos.
- Create content that the brand site cannot. This could include blog posts/ landing pages about the unique features and amenities of the hotels in your portfolio, pages for specific promotions or offers, or landing pages for specific types of travelers, such as business travelers or families.
- Develop FAQs about the hotel or outlets. This can help to improve the SEO of your website and provide potential guests with the information they need.
- Use your corporate site to promote your hotels on social media and in email marketing campaigns.
- Include calls to action on your corporate site to encourage visitors to book directly with your hotels.
- Adding URLs of PDFs housed on the corporate site or corporate site landing pages to the brand sites to create reciprocal linking, which can help to improve the SEO of the corporate site.
Here are some specific examples of how hotel management companies can implement these best practices:
Create full profiles for each property in your portfolio
This is the baseline starting point to support the portfolio. However, hospitality management groups can do much more to go beyond that.
A recommended next step would be to generate a stand-alone landing page for each property and drive the link from the portfolio item to each landing page. These pages should be used to reinforce the key selling points of the hotel including meeting space, event services, and F&B outlets, with links to their respective pages on the brand site.
This will help to improve the SEO of the hotel’s website and increase ranking potential for other hotel-related services such as increasing page ranking for the meetings page, helping promote the F&B outlets, and making it easier for potential guests to find the information they are looking for.
Create content that the brand site cannot
This could include landing pages or blog posts about the unique features and amenities of the hotels in your portfolio, landing pages for specific promotions or offers, or landing pages for specific types of travelers, such as business travelers or families.
Here are some specific examples:
- Blog posts: A hotel management company could write blog posts about the unique features and amenities of the hotels in its portfolio, such as a recently renovated spa, a newly opened restaurant, or a special event that is happening at one of the hotels. This would give potential guests more information about the hotels and make it more likely that they would book a stay.
- Landing pages: A hotel management company could create landing pages for specific promotions or offers, such as a summer vacation package or a special rate for business travelers. This would make it easy for potential guests to find the information they need and book a stay.
- Landing pages for specific types of travelers: A hotel management company could create landing pages for specific types of travelers, such as business travelers or families. This would make it easy for these travelers to find hotels that meet their needs.
Develop Content that the Brand Site Can Support
Although locations are limited, all of the brand sites allow for the ability to add links from the brand site to other content off-site. PDFs have limited SEO value because they are difficult for search engines to crawl and index. As a result, it is generally better to replace PDFs with full landing pages on the hotel management company’s website. Landing pages can be optimized for specific keywords and phrases, and they can be designed to encourage visitors to take a specific action, such as booking a stay or signing up for a newsletter. This can help to improve the SEO, traffic, and conversion rates on the hotel management company’s website. Additionally, content on web pages typically can be easier to edit than PDFs and getting the new information in front of the target audience is much quicker than waiting for the brand to update the file after you submit it to their queue. Adding URLs of landing pages to the brand sites can provide a number of benefits, including:
- Improved SEO: Reciprocal linking can help to improve the SEO of the corporate site. When the corporate site links to the brand sites, and the brand sites link back to the corporate site, it tells search engines that the two websites are related and authoritative. This can help to improve the ranking of the corporate site in search results.
- Increased traffic: Adding links to landing pages on the brand sites can help to drive traffic to targeted site. It is easier to optimize landing pages of content for local events and audiences than a PDF, and this has the potential to lead to more site visitors. Calls to action on landing pages could also lead to more conversion events.
- Improved brand awareness: Adding links to landing pages on the brand sites can help to increase brand awareness for the hotel management company. When potential guests see the corporate site linked to the brand sites, they will start to associate the two brands together. This can help to create a stronger brand identity for the hotel management company.
Develop FAQs about the hotel or outlets
FAQs can help to improve the SEO of your website and provide potential guests with the information they need. Here are some examples of FAQs that a hotel management company could include on its website:
- What type of events does the hotel host?
- Do the meeting rooms have natural light?
- Does the ballroom have a stage?
- Does the hotel have a pool with a lifeguard?
- Does the hotel offer parking?
- Is the hotel hosting an easter brunch this year?
- When is the hotel hosting their wedding bridal show again?
- How do I register to attend the bridal show?
Hotel management companies can also develop FAQs that are specific to the hotels in their portfolios. For example, a hotel management company could create FAQs for each hotel in its portfolio that address the unique features and amenities of that hotel.
Commit to Long Term Digital Optimization
Just like how one week you can be MAster of the STR report and next week you can be losing share, digital optimization is not a “one and done” path to the top. Optimization takes ongoing effort and focus. It does not always mean day in, day out, but does need regular focus on what is being done at the local level to stay up to date with the information and make sure someone is keeping up with Google. As a long-term hospitality digital expert here are a few other areas of budgetary focus to factor into strategies to keep on top of the digital hill.
- Property Photography Refresh: the brands have their standards of what images they want on the site and often properties do just enough to keep to just enough to meet standards. The challenge is that the images do not fully encompass all room types, all meeting configurations and set-ups, and all the public areas. From a marketing perspective, out of all images purchased, often there are just one or two used for promotion and viewed as the best ones. That repetitive reliance dilutes storytelling and limits the ability to show the property in numerous lights. An annual budget for photography could allow for the generation of accurate portrayals of the stay experience over the lifespan of the hotel.
- Add Stock Imagery Service: while images may not be appliable to brand site content, they can provide greater promotional capabilities of the team for social media and again not rely on property imagery
- Conduct Brand Site Optimization Regularly: Just as the travelers visiting each market vary seasonally, so should your website content. A moderate refresh of content to target spring travelers could last for several months and then be followed up in autumn for holiday and winter travelers. Simple, subtle seasonal updates a couple of times a year can have long term SEO ranking benefits.If you do not have a team member in-house, consider adding a digital marketing task force/ project services annually.
By following the best practices outlined in this article, hotel management companies can use their corporate sites to support the digital optimization efforts of hotels in their portfolios. This can lead to a number of benefits, including:
- Increased group leads: By creating full profiles for each property in their portfolio and developing content that is relevant to group planners, hotel management companies can make it easier for group planners to find the information they need and book with their hotels.
- Improved conversion rates: By creating landing pages for specific promotions and offers and making it easy for visitors to understand what the hotel has to offer, it increases potential for users to book directly with their hotels.
- Increased direct bookings: By promoting their hotels on their corporate sites and social media pages, and by making it easy for visitors to book directly with their hotels, hotel management companies can increase the number of direct bookings they receive.
- Reduced OTA commission expenses: By increasing direct bookings, hotel management companies can reduce the amount of commission they pay to OTAs.
- Improved flow-through: By improving the digital performance of their corporate sites and hotels, hotel management companies can improve their overall flow-through, which is the percentage of revenue that flows to the bottom line.
If you are a hotel management company that is looking to improve its digital performance, we encourage you to contact KeyBuzz Digital. I specialize in helping hotel management companies develop and implement SEO and content marketing strategies that drive traffic, leads and bookings. I am a subject matter expert in optimizing brand sites for all major hotel brands, including Hilton, IHG, Marriott, Choice, and Hyatt. and can help elevate your portfolio through my brand site optimization services. In the middle of a brand conversion, or just take over a new property? I offer services such as Due Diligence Audits and Hotel Conversion Services to make sure you are achieving optimal results from day #1. Also, having supported many of the leading US hotel management companies, I have knowledge and know-how to help you optimize your corporate site, and leverage it to help you achieve all of your overall goals.
Contact KeyBuzz Digital today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your digital marketing goals.
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