September 19, 2018
Setting the Scene: Destination Content and Your Hotel Website
When thinking about content for your hotel website, you'll naturally think about how best to portray the rooms, amenities, location, rates, packages and personality of your property. But this is not all your property has to offer, and today's guests expect more.
A recent study by Expedia and The Center for Generational Kinetics shows that 74 percent of Americans value experiences over products or things. Modern travelers are in search of authentic local experiences, trading souvenirs for memories that will last a lifetime. They're not just looking for a room and a bed; they're looking for places to stay that complement and even enhance their experience of a destination.
Your property is part of your guests' experience of your local destination and your local destination is part of your property's story. Therefore, it makes sense that destination content forms part of your hotel's website. But don't just throw up some pictures and contact details for the main attractions in town; in order to generate more room bookings, incorporating destination content into your property's website has to be done in a way that offers travelers real value.
In fact, the right kind of destination content can even help drive traffic to your website, catching travelers in their early trip-planning stages.
If you're thinking about creating destination content for your hotel's website (and you should be), read on for some tips that will point you in the right direction.
Your hotel's description or introduction on the homepage of your website is a good place to start weaving your local destination into your property's narrative. A brief, well-written introduction should give guests an overview of what your property offers, highlight your USP (unique selling point) and motivate customers to dig deeper into your website.
There is no doubt a lot to say about your property, but it's key to keep your descriptions short, sweet and simple. Stick to the most important points and benefits of staying at your hotel. When it comes to destination content, focus on the appeal of your immediate neighbourhood. What highlights can guests walk to? Can they enjoy any special views from your property?
The Blue Bay Motel's homepage offers a great example of an introduction that gives prospective guests a clear picture of the comfortable stay they can expect, and the immediate surroundings and views they can enjoy.
Dedicating a page of your website to nearby attractions is a convenience many travelers appreciate and is great for search engine optimization too. Most of your prospective guests probably know about the main attractions already; what they really want to know is what they could discover right outside your door, or just down the street.
Your "Local Attractions" (or similarly named) page provides real value to travelers when it highlights what makes your neighbourhood special. Travelers are increasingly in search of authentic experiences that take them off the beaten track. Lead prospective guests to those delightfully unexpected local experiences near you, be it the live music bar a couple of blocks away or the stunning stroller-friendly nature trail at the end of your street.
Nearby restaurant recommendations, upcoming events, and helpful tips for main attractions (like the best way to get there from your hotel, best times to visit, discounts, nearby free parking, etc.) are all very useful to travelers, and help to convey the local expertise of your property.
Don't forget to provide contact information and links for the local restaurants, shops, attractions, tour operators and events that you mention—just make sure any links open in a new browser tab so customers don't lose your property's website.
Images and Video
There's no better way to set the scene than with images, including video. Immediately transporting the viewer's mind to the place in subject, images are vital for portraying a property and its locale.
In addition to photo galleries, destination photos can be strategically placed throughout your website. For example, a beautiful, high-quality shot of your property's natural setting could be included in the banner slideshow on your homepage. Include photos along with the places of interest featured on your Local Attractions page, and a photo of your surroundings on your Location page. You could even include a photo of the stunning view guests can enjoy from their window within the room slideshow or on the rooms page (as long as it is true!).
Incorporate highlights of the local culture, scenery and attractions that surround your hotel in your property's promotional video as well, to both set the scene and establish your hotel as part of the local fabric.
If you haven't already, consider adding a blog to your hotel website. It's the perfect venue for promoting your destination (as well as property-specific news and promotions) and helps generate fresh content.
Get your staff onboard to write regular blog posts about upcoming local events, what's new in the area (exhibitions, restaurants, etc.), local insider tips, spots off the beaten track, staff picks—you get the idea. Highlighting the local destination, culture and community on your blog is an effective way to demonstrate your local knowledge, earn customers' trust, and convince prospective guests that staying at your property is part of an authentic local experience.
Teaming up with other local businesses (like tour operators and restaurants) to offer packages or discounted activities that you can promote on your website is another opportunity to demonstrate your connection to the community, as well as providing added value to your guests and boosting bookings, of course. And, don't forget, while you are promoting your local partners, they are promoting you!
Your local destination is part of your hotel's story. Including destination content on your hotel website will help your property stand out to modern travelers seeking a place to stay that is part of an authentic local experience. Use the above tips to think about how you can weave destination content into your property's narrative and website to offer real value to your customers and generate more bookings!
If your website is in need of more than a content update, check out our portfolio for some design inspiration.