In the hotel industry, it is vital that your website rank high on page one of Google. That is a given in our digital age, particularly in the intensely competitive hospitality industry. Diligent online PR agencies, which translates in simple language to online public relations, is the discipline required to insure you’re getting effective digital marketing. It is a fact of life: users who search for a travel destination must see your hotel site at the top of the listings will prove to attract guests Brand awareness is also built by coverage in the media, and necessary to integrate into your plan as part of the marketing mix.
When a traveler searches for where to stay in your destination, in most cases, they will skip right over the sponsored listing, which they know are ads — to the organic content. In fact, 80% of visitors to the web immediately go to the articles that are entered, and particularly when they are the most reputable publications. It’s subliminal and instinctual: we resist what’s paid, and believe what editors or fellow travelers in the case of the almighty TripAdvisor endorse.
High Authority Publications
When an experienced hotel or luxury PR pro places stories for you in authority sites like Travel and Leisure or the Huffington Post, those reviews will be indexed at the very top of the listings. Google ranks media outlets by credibility factors, which you can see for yourself on Alexa. The most reputable media will always appear first.
Blogger outreach and stories in major market newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune will rank also very high. But how does one go about this tricky business?
Since PR and website content should work in a collaborative fashion for the best results, you have to trust the best talent to make sure everyone on your team is speaking the same language. They also must avoid “inside baseball,” and talk in terms, which you, as the manager, understand.
What Are the Best Focus Keywords?
Get everyone involved in brainstorming potential keywords, then have your digital PR do the research and analysis. The art comes in deciding what will be the most effective keywords for you. Many factors come into play, and this is more of an art than a science. While your SEO PR folks will lead this crucial exercise, fresh eyes are always welcome.
Once the focus keywords are chosen, everyone should integrate those terms into all forms of communications. Your communication platform rests on these terms for your entire campaign. Too often, everyone runs off in their own direction without keeping their eye on the ball.
While it is imperative to constantly generate high quality content for effective online PR whether that is more web pages or frequent blogs, editorial placements by your luxury public relations firm must interact daily with the press daily. At the end of the day, it is results that count. These specific terms should be in every one of the press releases issued and articles that are written. That is where the finesse comes in.
Link Juice Is Powerful
The most important step in the process comes at the end. Your SEO PR firm must interact closely with the reporter to insure the keywords are integrated into their story. If keyword-rich press releases are supplied, that will usually happen, but not always. That is where the long-standing relationship with the reporter is tested, and a travel PR pro will have that in place.
Once the media outlet publishes the article, the public relations agency must do everything they can to insure the proper links are live when the story appears online. That reveals where having those personal relationships with the press are essential. Often, it requires going back to the editor and delicately asking that the link be placed correctly.
Then that magic phrase, “search engine optimization” comes into play, and in a big way. Google will crawl the content every three weeks, and a knowledgeable SEO PR firm can instruct Google to review the content. The search engine’s algorithms define “authority sites” and rank as a result.
Online PR Boosts Google Rankings
As mentioned before, you need to look for a hotel PR agency that has clout with the press, and that means genuine, relationships with specific editors and reporters. In this way, they can get through to those editors that make decisions. An experienced PR media relations pro with years under their belt will have forged those relationships.
While features are wonderful, round up stories and mentions in stories can reap massive rewards and provide organic content online that will garner the interest of potential customers. Your site gains relevance with Google – that absolute score that is the obsession of any good SEO PR manager – with quality content that is added online. A seasoned and respected online PR agency is busy behind the scenes, working to get your company mentioned in articles in a variety of publications as well as conducting assiduous blogger outreach.
Surprisingly, many smaller, local newspapers and trade publications, such as Luxury Travel Advisor, can also mean a push in your rankings, Special interest glossy online and print magazines that will reach your market such as, Martha Stewart Living, Vogue, and Saveur are also required. There are a multitude of media outlets to continually add to your press list.
Press Trips Can Reap Big Rewards
Feature coverage from A-list media is a valuable commodity when it comes from well-orchestrated press trips. While it can be costly both in terms of seeking discounted airline tickets and devoting staff time to hosting the press group, this is how you will reap some of your best exposure. That said, you need a qualified travel PR pro that knows the ins and outs of targeting the press that will deliver those stories.
The press group can be a combination of staff writers and freelancers with firm assignments. Freelancers frequently write for a variety of publications and they must be vetted to insure they will deliver. If your hotel public relations agency knows how to work this critical piece of the puzzle they can reap the highest rewards in terms of high quality content. In addition, your team should have met and traveled with these journalists to insure they will comprise a congenial group.
Finding the right angle for your target individual journalists is critical because in some cases there may be press who are looking for a destination story featuring your hotel as one of several. In that case, your travel PR agency will know how to insure your property gets extra attention in the story.
When a special interest magazine like Organic Spa is included, they will want to feature the spa and details about the treatments you offer. In all of these situations, your team will be required to provide factual information to the writer.
Remember when planning a press trip, that adequate lead time is necessary to secure the top journalists. This is a very competitive field, so you must plan this in your campaign. Most travel public relations agencies will recommend inviting the target invite list six months before the date of departure.
Publicists who have solid relationships with editors and journalists will make it clear in advance that the property’s website should be included in the published article.
Your Hotel Blog — Does it Matter?
Your blog, too, can be a contributing factor in SEO. Often a travel PR firm can work with you on brainstorming compelling themes for the blog. In a hotel blog, quality truly matters. The right images, headlines, subheads, and the content all make an impact, as well as the frequency of postings. Every blog should be professionally written, informative, interesting, and above all – engaging. Trends are wonderful to piggyback on featuring your hotel as a leader.
Keywords should be woven into the blogs in a manner that is essentially unnoticeable. Eye catching images that appeal to your target market are another important aspect and should be tagged correctly. To gain SEO traction, your property should post high quality blogs on a regular basis – once a week is ideal. And if you are so inclined and have a writer on staff that is prolific, two or three times a week is even better.
Any professional on your hotel staff who can write should be welcome to contribute, from your chef to your concierge. Your travel PR team should coach them on the angle, come up with a solid lead, and insert subheads. Then stringent proofreading is essential, and that is your hotel PR pro’s responsibility. Often they will find the lead is buried at the bottom of page one, and some quick editing will make the post even more compelling.
Responding to comments on the blog creates a relationship with potential guests and your community, and should be monitored for frequent interaction.
Some travel PR firms are willing to take over the entire blogging process. In other cases, they will train a qualified hotel staff member to manage this critical task.
The Human Factor In Decision Making
Competent online PR firms will pay close attention to the human factor by understanding what will drive a visitor to your website to decide to stay with you. At the end of the day, it is the nuances that make all these relationships work to your advantage. Chemistry between you and your agency is essential, and if that is working you can be assured it is also happening with the press.
# # #