8) Include a TripAdvisor review request on invoices
Sending guests to TripAdvisor may not sound like a way to get traffic back to your website, but there is a strategy behind this. TripAdvisor is one of the most trusted sources for hotel reviews at the moment, and Google knows this, which is why they include links to TripAdvisor reviews of your hotel right in the SERPs. Your property must have good reviews on TripAdvisor.
Guests may click on TripAdvisor reviews when doing research for your property, see your great reviews, and then either go directly to your website from TripAdvisor (if you have your website listed there), or if they can’t find it, hit back, and access your site directly from the Google SERP (yet another example of the Billboard Effect).
Include reminder cards with your invoices, to remind guests to leave a review for your hotel on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other directories important to your business.
9) Comment on blogs and forums
I don’t suggest you comment on blogs and forums to gain backlinks. Those are less helpful for SEO than they used to be and are incidental to your strategy here. Instead, comment on blogs and forums to capture traffic from them, and refer guests to your website.
Do a Google search as your guest normally would, using keywords they might such as “best Aspen ski resorts”, or something similar. Then, go through all the “Aspen ski resort” blogs and community forums you find, and bookmark them. Join them, become a member, and then start actively participating in those communities. When you comment on a relevant blog, ensure your website address is added to your profile. When you comment on forums, ensure your forum signature includes your hotel name, address, phone number, and website address. If you are a valuable member to these communities (and are not spamming promotions and links), then guests who stumble upon them while doing research, as you did, may click through to your website and book.
10) Answer questions on Quora and Yahoo! Answers
There are many “question and answer” websites out there. Some of the most popular are Quora and Yahoo! Answers. On these websites, guests will often ask questions related to your property, such as “What resort is closest to the ski slopes at Crystal Mountain” or “What trails should I use when exploring the Grand Canyon”? These kinds of questions are coming from people in the planning phase of their trip. Answer their questions using your unique knowledge to not only give them great advice, but point out your property is nearby, and might be a good base of operations for their adventures. Be sure not to market too heavily or else your response won’t be voted up—use a light touch, and always provide quality, accurate information.
For each “question and answer” site, use the search functionality on the site to find questions pertaining to your expertise you can answer. Even if the question has already been answered, it does no harm to weigh in with your unique perspective. Future travelers may perform a Google search related to the question, and then find your answer when doing research and hit your website.
11) Create YouTube videos
YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, bigger than Bing and Yahoo! combined. Have some content on there that directs guests back to your website. Thankfully, your hotel and location are perfect subjects for excellent videos.
Create some video walkthroughs of your property. Travel to popular tourist destinations near your property and shoot walk-through videos, or create a video showing the specific sights to see, or how to access certain areas that only the locals know about—and so on.
When you upload these to YouTube, make sure that you give them short, keyword-optimized titles, as the title is the most important thing that will determine whether or not your video gets seen. Also, write useful video descriptions, and link to your website at the top of your video description—the link must be the first thing on your video landing page, below the video itself.
You can also aid discoverability of your videos by uploading transcripts of your videos (if they include words).
12) Add your hotel to local directories
This probably goes without saying, but it’s important to add your hotel to local directories that people actually visit. Not only will this give you more referral bookings, but Google will look to your directory listings as a “sanity check” to make sure they have correct info about your hotel. The more trusted sanity checks they can make, the more trust they will have in your property, and they may rank you higher in Google SERPs.
Use a service like GetListed to list your hotel on each major directory. Some important ones for hotels include:
13) Create content
Search engines love long, high-quality content, in the form of articles, blog posts, guides, videos, images, and so on. If your website has no rich content, then search engines have nothing to rank, and your website traffic will suffer. Invest some time creating quality content that only you can create. I explore some specific ideas in part one of my article:
14) Send a thank-you postcard
If you collect your guests’ physical home address when they make reservations, experiment with sending your guest ”thank you” post cards a week after their stay, and use the opportunity to inform them of your website, with, say, a coupon or promotion, as we discussed earlier. Abusing this privileged information can do you more harm than good, but one, single, simple “thank you” post card after they stay with you is appropriate, and will be appreciated.