A 2008 study by Ypartnership reports that more than 60% of all hotel revenue will start with hotel SEO and online business. Some consumers will visit 3-4 different competitor websites to gauge a hotel’s distinctive brand, while others will link up with a deal through a travel site like Travelocity or Expedia. Another group may read a blog that makes them want to hop on the next flight, will receive a hotel internet marketing email offer that can’t be refused or will view several traveler reviews before making a selection. One thing is certain: hotel SEO is too juicy a medium to pass up!
In another hotel internet marketing study from this year, Prophis eResearch found that traveler stories and experiences found on sites like TripAdvisor and BootsnAll are just as valuable as brochures and sales material. In fact, half of all online travelers”Half of online travelers said these sites were important in their decision making process.”Travel 2.0 community site users tend to come from households with more income and tend to spend more on personal travel than non-users of travel 2.0 sites who travel,” said Stuart Hemerling, who headed the study.
In the March 2008 “NEXTgen Traveler” survey conducted by Ypartnership and PhoCusWright, a study of 2,559 adults found that more than half of online travelers prefer to read newspapers online, with People and Time being the top two resources. They also watched TV programs online — notably Fox and Discovery Channel. Forty-five percent listen to rock music, while another 39% listen to Top 40/Pop. Tech-savvy travelers send and receive email in bulk (89%) — which makes direct email an important hotel internet marketing strategy, and a whopping 7/10 use the Internet to search for information about travel experiences and services. When they’re not browsing hotel sites, they’re downloading music (81%), photos (69%)and video (59%), shopping online auction sites like eBay (67%)and surfing the web on their cell phones (33%), which are all avenues to consider when creating a hotel SEO campaign.
“Surprisingly, next generation travelers are active participants in and contributors to general social networking sites but are less frequent visitors of travel-specific versions of social networking sites,” adds Peter C. Yesawich, chairman and CEO of Ypartnership. He said 1/7 people visit TripAdvisor, while social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook and Youtube are visited much more frequently. The key to hotel SEO is to place content where people are reading. Marketers are smart to run local search campaigns through Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL, obviously, but they can also drive business through social networking sites, blogs, press release / news searches, article publishing and Wikipedia. Local business searches linked to Mapquest or SuperPages should also be harnessed, hotel Internet marketing experts point out.
In the Ypartnership survey, 46% of online travelers said email notifications with special rates were “a feature of greatest interest.” One case study found that a hotel internet marketing email newsletter campaign could be delivered to 2,500 recipients — of which 30 reservations were booked for a wine tasting / dinner, with another 10 rooms requested. While these numbers may sound low, the hotel made more than ten times’ the Return-On-Investment! Another hotel SEO study found that professionally-written email newsletters to 5,073 subscribers were opened by 30% of the recipients — and of those, 207 clicked on a link within the newsletter. However, the final result was an additional ,164 and 27.6 times’ the ROI!
Online consumers are looking for hotel Internet marketing that harnesses web technology like Youtube videos and social networking sites. They want hotel internet marketing that provides value, with subscriber exclusive discounts. Hotel SEO should revolve around words that appeal to readers’ emotions, not just lists of accommodation details.
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