When you’re planning a trip to somewhere new, what’s the first thing you do?
You probably head to the ol’ internet to do a little research. What is there to do in the area? Any big events coming up? Great outdoor spaces? Must-visit restaurants?
The answers to these queries will often appear as blog posts from those in-the-know. Well-written blogs connect searchers to small businesses all over the internet — including hotels.
With some time and attention focused on written content, your blog posts could get you more site traffic and — if it’s done right — more bookings.
Why does my hotel need a blog?
It may not! Not every single hotel is a great candidate for a blog. If you don’t have the resources to devote to regular content creation, or if you’re putting all your proverbial eggs in your social media basket, you may not want to spread the marketing team too thin.
But consider these benefits before you decide.
Blogs help you connect with your audience
Potential guests start interacting with your hotel long before they check in. They’ll visit your website to look at rooms, rates, and amenities, even if they end up booking on a third-party site.
We’re in the hospitality industry — so it pays to be hospitable. Help your future visitors plan their trip with content aimed at your ideal audience and start making a good impression as early as possible.
Blogging keeps your website fresh
When ranking websites against each other, Google prefers sites that get regular updates. Fresh content tells search engines that this website is still active and useful. Frequent blog posts will strengthen your online presence and improve your search engine optimization.
Blogging creates pillar content for other social channels
The constant hamster wheel of coming up with post ideas for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media channels can be difficult. Blogging creates a regular source of content that you can pillage and repurpose into consistent social media fodder.
Working on a blog post about the top 10 things to do in your city this summer? Break it down into its parts and make each section its own social media post. That’s 10 unique pieces of social media content that you can sprinkle into your content calendar, all from one blog post.
Blogging creates an opportunity to collaborate with travel influencers
Influencers aren’t just on Instagram. In fact, many (maybe most!) have blogs of their own where they share their own content. And many of them are looking for local blogs where they can contribute guest posts to build their brand.
A hotel blog is a perfect place for a travel or lifestyle influencer to share some of their content. You get to leverage their audience for better reach, and they get to show their authority in the local scene. Win-win.
Blogging positions you as a boutique brand
Small, independent hotels may not have the marketing budget of their larger competitors. But they do have the chance to be truly “of” their location.
Many hotel guests are looking for a unique adventure, a place that’s firmly rooted in its city or town. Blog posts about the one-of-a-kind people, places, music, and activities nearby prove that your hotel is an active part of the community and may provide a better guest experience than the “big box” hotel up the street.
How do I write a hotel blog?
Okay, so you’re convinced. How can you get started?
Write for the right niche
Before you start to write, you need to know your target audience. Are your prospective guests families with small children? Young professionals looking for a home base during business conferences? Older couples after a relaxing retreat?
Drill down to better understand the travel plans, pain points, and desires of your ideal customer. Families will want to know what they can do with the kids while they’re in town. Young professionals will be more interested in the best new restaurants. Older couples may want quiet walking paths and more in-house services.
Your content should sell the best of the local area to your readers. Remember that many people who read your blog haven’t actually decided where to travel yet. They’re collecting information, deciding where to take that next vacation or host that next work event. If you can sell them on the city, they’re one step closer to starting the booking process.
A blog that hasn’t been updated in 17 months is a bit of a turnoff. It raises doubts about the hotel, which is the opposite of what we’re after. Better to remove the blog entirely than leave it up with a measly handful of outdated posts.
Set a posting schedule and stick to it. Whether that’s weekly, biweekly, or monthly, the most important thing is consistency. When you regularly add new content to your site, you both encourage your visitors to stay longer, and you increase the number of search terms you’ll rank for, bringing you more traffic.
Write with keywords and search intent in mind
A common problem with content marketing is that the company has no strategy in place. They grab a blog topic out of thin air, write 1,000 words on the subject, and hit “post.” Then they wonder why there’s no traffic coming in.
Hotel blogging is a waste of time if you’re not creating content that people want to read. And the way to figure out what people want to read is to do keyword and search intent research.
A keyword is simply a search term that a person types into Google or another search engine. Some examples:
- boutique hotels in Charlotte
- kid-friendly attractions in San Diego
- best restaurants in the Midwest
Before you choose a blog topic, you need to make sure that people have shown some interest in that topic. For more information about keywords (and a quick guide to my favorite free resources for keyword research), check out this blog post.
Another important component to your content is search intent. Search intent addresses why the person is conducting the search. Are they looking to make a purchase? Get more information? Navigate to a specific website, like the local convention center?
If you don’t address search intent, you can write the wrong type of content for your potential customers, and waste valuable time and money. For more information about search intent, check out this blog post.
In-house or outsource your hotel blog?
At this point, you may be thinking, “Excellent! Our marketing team has plenty of time to devote to blogging. It will fit in well with our social media efforts and will really be a game changer for our hotel business!”
If that’s the case, fantastic!
Or, you may thinking, “Holy cow. We only just started email marketing, and now you’re telling me I need a blog too? There is no one on my team who has the time to do this.”
Fortunately, there are independent writing services who can do the research and writing for you. Look for someone who will propose topics for blog posts, conduct keyword and search intent research, and write with your target audience and brand voice in mind.
Playing the long game
Hotel blogging takes time, education, and a commitment to writing regularly. And the results won’t be immediate. It can take several months — or longer — to start to see an increase in site traffic. But over time, a dedicated blogging strategy can attract more potential guests to your website, which can improve your hotel’s visibility and bottom line.
Need some help with hotel blogging? Let’s talk about it!