We had our own theories, especially the one that said hotels do not want to offend certain potential customers by showing, for example, mixed-race couples or, say, real families having fun. These latter images might offend childless guests.
We also argued that hotel websites need to use more video...whatever it takes to create an emotionally engaging website, free of empty dining rooms and vacant pools and generic people posing.
Now comes a piece from Hotelmarketing.com that reinforces the idea, that while hotel website copy must contain core information that the client is looking for (price range, location, services and, increasingly, experiences), it doesn’t need to be boring.
The real content, the stuff that excites a potential guest must be imaginative, engagingly-written with the brand’s voice in mind, “to give users the final push to ‘Book Now’.”
And it must also have search engine appeal!
What’s also very interesting, we think, is the emerging idea that hotels are valued less on their amenities, and more on the kinds of experiences they can provide their guests.
Does a hotel give kids a mini-tablet and encourage them follow the exploits of a literary character who toured the city in which the kids are now staying?
Might there be some NBA floor-seats tickets available?
Writing for HeBS Digital , a hospitality strategies company, Erica Garza, makes several points relative to creating content that engages the guest – but that’s also “tailored” to search engines.
Three of her main points:
• Close the gap between the hotel’s official content (stuff created and approved of by the hotel), and unofficial content – the real-world opinions and observations on Facebook, Yelp, etc.
The bigger the gap between these two, she says, the more the trouble the hotel is in. And typically, the user-generated content is more dynamic, direct and honest. Sometime this may simply require dropping a key word, like “luxury,” Garza says, if all the unofficial content says the property is not a “luxury property.”
• Both search engines and consumers want content that is engaging, timely and relevant; content “intuitively structured across a user-friendly site.
• Avoid duplicating web site content. Search engines regard duplicate content as spam. Of course hotels will provide the same content to booking sites, OTA’s etc. But they must avoid providing duplicate content to third-party sites, an industry problem that seems to be growing in recent years.
It’s a bit of an axiom (cliche?) but still true: the goal of a hotel’s website is to turn “lookers into bookers.”
But while an eye-catching design will draw potential customers into the website , it’s the promise of an emotionally-fulfilling experience, communicated by engaging, natural and fun content that gets them to click and book.