When it comes to digital marketing for boutique and luxury hotels, one of the biggest mistakes made is not investing in a blog. All too many players in upscale hospitality forgo blogging for these main reasons:
- They think it will make their site / brand appear “cheap”
- They think it will make their site’s aesthetics “too busy”
- They fail to see the ROI
- They don’t properly gauge the time investment
- They think blogging has zero SEO value
If executed at a high level, all of these concerns will be put to bed. The fact of the matter is that blogging is crucial to improving your Room Yields, RevPar, and solidifying your claim to the throne in what is a highly competitive, hard niche industry. Whether you work with an experienced digital luxury hospitality marketing agency, or you have an in-house team, consider these five reasons for blogging, and learn how to output your content at a high-level.
1. Blogging is Still Vital for SEO
More than 90 percent of online searches are performed on Google, and when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), content is the most important ranking factor. Look at it this way: the core component of Google’s primary algorithm is designed to read content, and rank a site according to an awarded quality score. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence to comb through the SERPs, Google grows smarter in pairing website results with user intent as expressed in search queries. Here is how a blog can assist luxury hospitality brands in achieving higher organic ranking:
- Continuous fresh content tells Google the site is healthy, active, and offers searchers greater information
- A clever blogging strategy allows SEO experts to parle blog content with primary web page content and off-site content for maximum results, thus awarding the site greater domain authority
- Robust blogging strategies can use internal linking strategies to improve the user experience thus amping up Google’s critique of your content
- If you are among the savviest of SEO experts, a blogging strategy can be used directly against a competitor to push them down in the SERPs and move you up top
Before you can execute a comprehensive blogging strategy, your site must first be prepared to support one. A checklist to consider includes:
- Use a WordPress blog, even if your website is not on a WordPress platform.
- Make sure the blog is internal to your website and not located remotely
- Use schema markup
- Install the Yoast SEO plugin
- Make sure your meta descriptions and titles are within Best Practices and contain a CTA
- Fetch and index your blogs to Google Search Console
Once your blogging stage is set to perform at the highest level, and you have well-written, engaging content in the works, be sure to use a short URL code for tracking purposes. When you share your blogs across social channels you can study the engagement alongside your Google Analytics and determine what blog topics garner the most traffic and bookings.
2. Blogs Help Promote Branding
There are probably 101 things that make your boutique hotel unique and heads above the rest when it comes to quality and the guest experience. While you may not be able to verbally brand yourself on the homepage (or on other primary site pages) highlighting all of the things that make you a true Eden in the hospitality space, a blog allows you to do this, often, and in great detail. Ideally, Google favors blogs that have between 800 and 1000 words. This gives you a lot to say on specific topics ranging from your infinity salt water pool with panoramic views, your Michelin star awarded chef, to the nutrient enriched volcanic mud baths offered by your award-winning spa. Your blog can really take on the role of a workhorse for branding when it gets specific. For example, writing 1000 words on the age-defying and skin-softening nutrients in your spa’s mud treatments can not only promote you as a luxury destination for wellness seekers, but when guests express they are considering the spa, you can direct them to your content and let it work into the consumer psyche to turn a standard stay into one with billable upgrades.
3. Blogs Make Memorable Connections with Potential Guests
You know your market; luxury hotel guests are not in the same category as people looking for rooms at the local Best Western or Motel 6–they aren’t booking a room because they need a place to sleep or reside during business trips or vacations; their stay IS the experience itself and therefore their list of needs is far lengthier than “Betty Sue mother of two requiring a waffle maker in her free continental breakfast”. Your guests are looking for high-end rooms with palatial features, top of the line linens, the best cuisine, and ostentatious services with exclusive activities that accommodate their lifestyles. A blog that compares one of your suites to the Royal Penthouse at Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, or a blog that showcases your private island resort as a top destination for honeymoons (or even people fresh into a divorce) can play into their sympathies and emotions to create a memorable experience in engaging your site’s content. Here are some considerations for targeting the right people with your customized blogs:
- Research what people are talking about in luxury lifestyle groups, and target them with content tailored to topics that get the most comments and shares
- Use lots of high definition images to empower your words, as most people are visual
- Make a list of hashtags within the luxury lifestyle digital sectors, and follow top influencers to stay current in content subjects that resonate with your target audience
- Spy on your competition–how do their guests engage social content and what are they sharing?
When your blogs can connect with people, you have an opportunity to thrill and inspire them. You also have an opportunity to make them curious, and when you can accommodate their needs by showcasing your boutique resort as a solution to their wants, your Rooms Yield and RevPar will see a healthy increase.
4. Blogs Help Increase Your ALOS
Again, your guests are a niche clientele that seek an experience. A strategic blog can educate patrons and increase your annual ALOS by inspiring them to stay longer so they can truly enjoy their stay and live the full finesse delivered through various offerings they may not otherwise consider. If you run a blog promoting scuba diving excursions in the Maldives, curious divers may be inspired to stay longer. But let’s take this benefit and delve deeper. For example, let’s say you have a luxury resort in Klosters, Switzerland with half a dozen ski instructors on staff. A large majority of your guests plan to ski and hire a private instructor once they visit the mountain, and have little knowledge of your in-house ski instructors. A blog can educate your clientele about your 3-day private ski instruction package, and if presented in a way that resonates with their needs, a guest with two more paid days may increase their stay by an extra day so they may benefit from the special offering. For increasing your ALOS, a blog simply has to give visitors a reason to prolong their stay, and this means your content needs to show them what they’re missing out on, while presenting value be it from a financial or emotional angle.
5. Cross Promotions
A professional high-quality blog can increase your RevPar and Rooms Yield by drawing guests from similar luxury industries to book rooms at your resort. If your boutique hotel is situated near an area where people charter yachts or visit upscale wineries, you could negotiate backlink opportunities and cross-promotional branding from one niche business to yours. For example, your blog can feature local activities that flow with your resort’s luxury offerings by including a section on “living the high life at sea” via chartering a yacht. In return, the yacht company can run an article on “upscale living, on sea and land” and showcase your resort as a place their clients can transition to after docking. Referring traffic can make up a healthy fraction of your bookings, and cross-promotional blogs are a sure way to introduce the right kind of guests to your resort.