What We Learned in Two Years of Writing Hotel Blog Posts
Nearly two years ago we embarked on a content marketing journey with one of our bigger clients, Coast Hotels. The goal was to help them establish their 40-plus properties as thought leaders in the market while also being a resource for guests’ trip-planning needs. An incredible team of developers, designers, and digital marketers came together to help Coast achieve just that. And thus, the No Place Like Coast blog was born.
Since then we have expanded our content offerings and now work on blog services for a number of clients at all scales. We’ve learned a lot about producing content for hotels in the past two years and now it’s time to share some of our findings. If you haven’t jumped on the content marketing wagon yet, now is the time to do so.
Your Hotel’s Blog Title Matters
For many users, the title of your hotel’s blog is the first thing they will see, whether it’s from a Google search or browsing the blog page of your hotel website. Similar to the ad copy, it should be enticing and include the juicy details first. We’ve tried all types of title variations and so far in our analysis, two things have stood true in terms of success: including your hotel’s location and relative keywords in relation to the body copy.
Call Out The Location
When we look at our top five performing blog posts (based on both organic performance and performance with Facebook distribution) we see that they all contain the location or Coast Hotel’s destination in the title. This tells us that using location is key not only for driving rank in Google (more on this later) but for qualifying the reader on whether or not the blog will be relevant to their needs.
Aside from incorporating location in the title, using specific and descriptive keywords also helped improve performance. What does this mean? Being specific and descriptive in your hotel blog’s titles means you are letting the user know what kind of content they are going to find in the blog. Similar to adding location, this will also drive more qualified readers to your hotel blog website, decrease the bounce rate, and increase time spent on the page.
Optimizing your hotel blog titles may seem like a small and insignificant change, but it can have big results when it comes to enhancing the customer journey.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
Using high-resolution imagery should seem like a no brainer, yet surprisingly many hotels are still using poor images on their blogs (and websites!). High-quality images are important for a number of reasons:
- They help break up large chunks of text. Let’s face it, who likes to read long blogs with no visuals?
- They help convey the message. Whether you are describing a luxurious, two-bedroom suite or a local hike at sunset, an image will assist in getting the point across faster and more efficiently.
- They showcase that you know what you’re talking about and evoke a sense that your blog is a serious thought leader.
- Last, but not least, high-quality imagery creates a connection with the user and can help them recall your blog at a later date, whether that’s to gain more information or potentially book.
And, as always, don’t forget to add alt text to every image!
Hotel Blogs Need to be Search-Friendly
All of the blogs written for Coast Hotels start with a content idea. We then research what types of keywords people are searching around the specific ideas and locations that we would be writing about. This process helps us to identify which keywords have the most volume and are most likely to be associated with what people are searching for on search engines. For example, “tulip festivals in Abbotsford” has five times the search volume of “tulip festivals in British Columbia,” so we tried to use the former in more instances where it made sense than the latter. We also tried to optimize the meta elements of the page, the headings, on-page content, photos, and internal links, among other items on the page to better align them with search engine best practices as recommended by Google.
All Blog Aspects Must Align
We touched on this earlier in the blog title section, but a major key to success for writing hotel blogs is to make sure all the components align and flow. To expand on this, let’s first determine what your blog strategy is.
In the hotel space, your blog could serve a few purposes:
- To showcase your property or brand and highlight top amenities and key differentiators
- To provide additional trip-planning information
- To serve as a potential travel guide for your location(s) at the community level
- To connect and engage with a potential new audience
Once you have established the purpose of your blog, you can better understand how everything needs to align together: the title, content, keyword research and implementation, and imagery.
To create a successful blog post, your content must include researched keywords that will lead a user to your blog. From there, your blog title must entice the right user to click through to the site and then the content and imagery must give them the relevant information they were looking for.
If we look at two top-performing blog posts from Coast Hotels, Fun in the Flowers: 3 Great Tulip Festivals in BC and Washington and Hidden History in Osoyoos, BC, we see the alignment magic happening. They both included descriptive titles, relevant keywords, specific and detailed information, and high-quality imagery. These elements led each blog to result in having an average of over five minutes of time on page and lower bounce rates than comparable blogs. This tells us that these blogs attracted the right readers who in turn found the right content.
Tracking Website KPI’s
Another key aspect of any marketing effort is to analyze how those efforts are helping your overall website goals. Blog pages are a great way for hotels to get more content and help engage with their guests while also supporting increases in search engine exposure. However, it is important to have custom analytics tracking on goals and events throughout your website. Part of the success we are able to measure with our partner websites is not only the audiences that are visiting your hotel’s website, but how many of those people go on to look at your availability. Of those audiences, which dates are they looking at? Or, are they signing up for email lists? How many become members of your rewards programs? More in-depth and custom tracking on websites helps us answer those questions and get more data on how we can re-engage with guests throughout the entirety of their booking journey.
Start Blogging For Your Hotel Website
We have certainly learned a lot through the last two years of writing hotel blog posts for Coast Hotels. While it has been an enjoyable ride, we’re looking forward to taking what we have learned and applying our knowledge to help drive even more success for our clients. By writing in-depth, specific blog content that utilizes compelling imagery and SEO best practices, we are able to align the overall goals of a hotel website with the additions to their blog. If you are interested in learning more information about starting a blog for your hotel website, contact the experts at GCommerce.