How a SEO-Driven Inbound Strategy can Raise a Hotel’s RevPar

Jen Saunders

For all purposes, your objective as a luxury hotel manager is to fill rooms and promote your brand. This may seem straightforward, and you likely have a skilled marketing team on staff, but to really raise your hotel’s RevPar you need to work with a digital marketing agency specializing in hospitality to draw the right audiences to your hotel or resort with the strategic content that converts. This is where an SEO-driven inbound approach can immediately garner an increase in bookings, while carving a path for continuous growth.  Here are proven strategies hospitality marketers can use to raise their property’s RevPar through organic SEO and the inbound marketing methodology.

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Unique Hotels Require Unique Keywords

Your keyword strategy is an integral part of organically ranking content designed to convert online searches into paid room bookings. Since your hotel offers an upscale one-of-a-kind experience, it is important to piggyback unique keywords off broad exact match variations that mirror your offering.

Here’s an example: Let’s say a hospitality marketing agency is working on a keyword strategy for a boutique hotel in Santa Barbara. The hotel has 50 standard rooms, 12 suites, and a penthouse. It’s style blends sophisticated modernism with an old world academic touch; oak panelling and a well-stocked library create an atmosphere akin to scholarly aesthetics, while modern fixtures, art work, and furnishings offer a nod to Danish modernism. The property has masculine energy and is popular for bachelor parties, business travelers, and government officials.

For a property like this one, some good priority keywords to go after would be “masculine hotels”, “hotels men love”, “hotels for bachelor parties”, and “hotels for men”, to name a few. These are low-hanging fruit that will be easy to rank for, and by adjoining them to higher-reaching keywords like “luxury hotels” and “boutique hotels”, you will be telling Google bots that these relevant keywords are directly related to the broader versions that have higher competition. This will improve your domain authority by showing in-depth intention aimed at meeting search needs.

You will also want to incorporate local keywords. Be sure these include cross sections of your keyword types with geographic information. For example, “masculine hotels in Santa Barbara”, “luxury hotels in Santa Barbara for bachelor parties”, and “boutique Santa Barbara hotels for business meetings”, combined with non-geo specific longtail keywords will create the perfect formula to support strategic content. As you can see, the keywords used here reflect the needs and pains of buyer personas–business men and bachelors looking for a chic man’s place to conduct work and play.

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Your Content Needs to be Tossed Like a Ranking Salad

There are various ways to rank on page one of Google. This includes organic ranking, local pack, Google images, Knowledge Graph, Carousel, and many more. Let’s look at an example for local ranking. When searching for “masculine hotels” from a location in Beverly Hills, we get the following results as shown in the screenshot below:

marketing for hotels

 

As you can see a map reveals competing properties within what is roughly a 15 mile radius showcasing the daily room rate. Below the map we have three top results; two properties are in Beverly Hills and one is located in Los Angeles but less than half a mile from the search location. Each result has star reviews, images, and the daily room rate.

When looking at organic results in the screenshot below, we see results from men’s blogs, social media, and Google images:

hotel digital marketing

In order to draw searchers from Google to your website’s booking page, you will need to attempt ranking in various positions on page one of the search engine with content that takes consumers from the initial click to a landing page that entices them to complete the next step–book a paid reservation. Make sure your images are correctly tagged to rank for specific searches; this also entails making sure the image correctly reflects the keyword and takes searchers to supportive content. You will also want to publish articles on referring domains relevant to the buyer personas you are targeting. This topic-focused style of content is key to the inbound marketing methodology, and helps educate people searching for their ideal hotel while gently leading them to the booking page or form submissions.

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Content Written for Buyer Personas First, Bots Second

As mentioned, buyer-focused content is key to a successful inbound strategy for hospitality. Understanding who your guests are and what solution your brand offers to their pains will help create buyer-focused content that will translate into annual RevPar increases. Whether you have a luxury family-friendly resort, or a secluded boutique hotel ideal for young couples, dig into your data and look for information on your guests that can be used to create buyer personas. Talk to your sales department to learn more about why guests booked with your hotel as opposed to others. Comb through email inquiries, send out questionnaires to past guests, and even customers who either cancelled or decided to book elsewhere; learn as much as you can about your audience in terms of who they are, and what they are looking for in a property.

Here is an example of a buyer persona for a high-end boutique hotel in a secluded part of Malibu on the beach:

Persona 1:

Name – Girlfriend Janet

Location – Orange County

Identity – She is dating boyfriend Pete. They are both hard-working individuals who dedicate weekends to spending time with each other. They enjoy the finer things in life, are art lovers, and enjoy fine cuisine.

Education – Graduate degree

Occupation – medical, real estate, media / film industry, law.

Average Income – 400K

Hobbies – Sailing, wine, yoga

Pains – Girlfriend Janet wants to spend time with Pete at a luxury hotel free from loud children and tourists. She wants something near the beach for her morning yoga rituals, high quality cuisine, modern aesthetics, and spa services.

Girlfriend Janet is one of many buyer personas for a hotel like this one. When creating content specifically for this this persona there are a number of trigger pains to focus on through a content cluster model. Focus on a keywords like “luxury romantic Malibu hotels” and “secluded modern Malibu hotels”, and write topics that provide solutions to this guest’s needs. Some blog titles could include:

  • Why Our Hidden-Away Luxury Hotel in Malibu is Popular for Orange County Power Couples
  • Why Booking a Modern Luxury Malibu Hotel Offers Couples a Breath of Fresh Air
  • Top 5 Luxury Yoga Couples Retreats in Malibu
  • Hidden Gem in Malibu: The Boutique Hotel for Modern Couples
  • Fine Dining and Sailing in Malibu is the Perfect Weekend for Couples

When you have a fictionalized person that represents actual guests you can use their pain points to craft amazing content that will resonate at an emotional level. This is a core part of the inbound marketing methodology. Once you capture their imaginations with a good blog you will need a CTA that takes them to a landing page that gives them more information on your hotel along with a submission form to be contacted by an agent OR a direct booking form. The idea is to capture the right people and nurture them through a funnel process until they become booked guests. This requires content written first and foremost for your target market, followed by keywords and strategic SEO touches to tantalize the search bots.

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SEO and Inbound Fills Beds

Regardless of seasonality, your property should never have an empty room. In fact, your property should be booked solid for months ahead and have a reputation as being THE SPOT for a luxurious stay and retreat from everyday living. In order to create this, you need to isolate your niche buyers and rank the right content that will nurture them through a funnel where they identify how and why your hotel meets all of their needs thus offering them the best experience possible. Talk to digital marketing agencies with experience in luxury hospitality, delve into inbound marketing, learn about SEO best practices, and truly understand who your guests are, and they type of guests you want to attract. Once you can create the ideal marketing formula, your RevPar will see monumental increases and head towards stabilizing at maximum occupancy.

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About
Jen Saunders is the Director of SEO for WEBITMD bringing more than 15 years of search marketing experience. She spent 13 years in Europe earning her PhD while looking at lots of old neat stuff. Jen enjoys simple things, like trees, sunrises, and the delicate lull of a 16th century harpsichord. Jen enjoys meditating and studies Buddhism. She is a certified master scuba diver, dolls make her nervous, and she enjoys craft beer. Jen has two cats, Chairman Thaddeus Whiskers and Lord Joffrey Gaius Pitty-Paws. They are her heirs.


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