How to leverage travel websites to fill your hotel rooms

Building relationships for better exposure

Filling the rooms at your hotel, bed and breakfast, or inn no longer requires relying on the traditional marketing tactics you’ve always used. Because there’s a new and better way to connect with guests nearby and around the world: leveraging travel websites.

How travel websites and bloggers can help fill your rooms

Working with travel sites and bloggers boosts your marketing efforts by providing these three key elements:

Exposure

When a travel site publishes a feature about your hotel, it’s a form of media coverage. The story is shared with the publisher’s audience, so your property gets publicity and exposure while your brand is put in front a new audience of potential guests. And an increase in online content about your location improves your chances of reaching someone who’s researching your area or property.

Reviews

A TripAdvisor survey showed that guests typically read six to 12 reviews before booking accommodations. By building relationships with travel sites and bloggers, you increase the number of reviews available on both independent travel blogs and mainstream review sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor.

Search engine optimization

One of the biggest factors for improving the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website is getting links back to your site from other websites.

When you connect with travel sites and bloggers, they typically link back to your website as a reference.

 

This helps improve your website’s ability to show higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Travel Websites Hotel Room

How to judge a travel blog

To get the benefits listed above, you can’t build relationships with just any travel website or blogger. You need to look for the publishers that will provide the best exposure, reviews, and SEO improvements. So, as you make a plan for reaching out to travel blogs, use these metrics and considerations to help you find the best opportunities.

Check the site’s online authority.

A linkback to your website is a good thing. It’s an even better thing when it is from a website that has high online authority.

Websites with high online authority have a large amount of traffic and good standing on SERPs.

 

Links from these sites will give your website a better SEO boost. To gauge a website’s authority, check these factors:

  • Domain Authority (DA) using Moz’s Open Site Explorer. The higher the DA, the higher the site authority.
  • Alexa Rank using their toolbar extension <http://www.alexa.com/toolbar>. With Alexa Rankings, the lower the score, the higher the site authority.

Consider the site’s readership.

To get the highest level of exposure for your hotel, connect with blogs and travel websites that have a large, engaged readership and review their engagement:

  • Social media followers. A large social following is a good indicator that the site is popular and has a loyal following and readership.
  • Comments. When there are a lot of comments on a website, it also shows that the readers are engaged and interested.

Judge the site’s quality.

The most powerful and useful stories about your hotel will appear on high-quality sites. Articles on low-quality lodging sites aren’t as trustworthy and make less of an impact on readers. So check the site content and appearance:

  • Website design. Look for sites that have a modern design that is responsive (the website design changes depending on the screen size). Avoid sites with an excessive amount of obtrusive ads, text that is difficult to read, and a dated layout.
  • Copy. To gauge the quality level of the written content, read their existing copy and be on the lookout for sites that tell great stories while also adhering to grammar and spelling rules.
  • Photos. To help ensure the photos of your property will depict your hotel in the best possible light, examine the photography on the site. Avoid sites with blurry, dark, or poorly framed photos.
  • Relevancy and timelines. Make sure the site is relevant to your location and brand, and check the date of the most recent post. Don’t work with sites that are out-of-date or not reaching your target audience.

Look at their policies. Before you reach out to bloggers or travel sites, take a look at the policy page that is typically linked in the site footer. This information will give you an idea about the type of compensation, restrictions, and requirements the publisher has so you can determine if a relationship with the site fits your goals and expectations.

How to get travel websites to promote your hotel

Once you decide on the sites that provide a good promotion opportunities, reach out to the publishers.

  • Invite them for a visit. Ask writers to visit in person for a full stay or to experience your amenities and on-site services.
  • Host an exclusive event. You don’t always have to offer a one-on-one experience for bloggers. You can host an event and bring in a group of writers all at once.
  • Give them a virtual tour. If the blogger is too far away to visit your location in person, offer them a live, virtual tour that walks them through the property.
  • Provide a media kit. When you connect with travel sites, make sure they have all of the details about your hotel. Provide them with a full media kit that includes property information, quotes, and high-quality photos.
  • Be authentic, but never pushy. Remember that outreach isn’t about bribing writers to talk about your property. It’s about building relationships and getting travel experts to share real experiences. Always try to show the mutual benefit for both you and the writer to build good connections and get bloggers to review your business.

You’ve likely tried promoting your hotel, bed and breakfast, or inn using traditional marketing methods in the past. Now, it’s time to try building relationships with travels websites to get more exposure, build your online reputation and digital footprint, and fill your rooms.


Also published on Medium.