Is blogging still relevant for hotels in the 2020s? The short answer is yes. While pictures say a thousand words and videos are more popular than ever, blogging still has an important role, not only for the success of your website, but for fostering connection, loyalty, and inspiration at a time when your guests need it most.
In this blog post, we’ll share:
- How hotel blogs connect with guests and foster loyalty
- What to write about in your hotel blog
- An SEO checklist to ensure your hotel blog covers the basics
- How to share your hotel blog to gain more traffic
- How to keep your “old” blog posts fresh and active
Your Hotel Blog: The Guest Connection
Blogging has readily become a way for hotels and businesses to incorporate more SEO with keywords and phrases. But originally, blogging originated as an earnest way for individuals to express themselves and connect with others online. Through the pandemic and social distancing, we’ve come full circle as the importance of the blog is once again rooted in the desire for connection.
Your hotel blog is the perfect way to connect with your guests (past and future) in a meaningful and heartfelt way. Providing readers with useful content also fosters positive sentiment toward your hotel, which builds trust and loyalty. While you’ll be writing for a large market, a friendly and helpful tone provides a sense of personalization as well, which serves to enhance your guest-centric approach to your hotel website.
Hotel Blog Content Ideas: Find the Unicorn
Your hotel blog is essentially an extension of your concierge. It’s a place to share knowledge, answer questions, and delight guests; keep this in mind when developing content for your blog.
As with all content on your website, think about what questions your guests have and use your blog as a place to proactively answer those questions. It may be topics like:
- What family attractions are nearby / or what are the most popular activities for families in your region?
- What restaurants do you recommend?
- Where can I find local nightlife?
- Where can I go for a walk?
In addition to providing helpful information, this kind of content is useful for streamlining your customer service communication as well. When a customer inquires via email or social media with a popular question, you can direct them to the appropriate blog post without much effort.
Other content ideas covered in our blog post from 2018 are still relevant and include historical property information, what’s happening, and local travel tips. You can also get ideas from other hotel blogs, such as this one from Kimpton called Life is Suite. It covers the latest events, proposal tips, travel photo how-tos and so much more. What’s most amazing about this blog is that it has a life of its own and is a (virtual) destination in its own right. It’s something to bookmark and visit again and again.
Our main piece of advice, though, is this: find the unicorn. Monitor your blog analytics regularly for your most popular posts and build off those topics. If you’re lucky to have a blog post that takes off in popularity (your unicorn, because it’s elusive), create more content like it! Its popularity provides insight into what resonates with your readers.
Hotel Blog SEO: Cover the Basics
We will always stand by the adage that content is king. Since the Internet’s earliest days, there have been tips and tricks for attracting the attention of search engines, from Ask Jeeves to AltaVista. In response, search engines have found ways to demote practices that provide a poor experience for web visitors, like keyword stuffing and invisible text that lured web crawlers but were irrelevant to readers.
Nowadays especially, Google refines its algorithm frequently with an emphasis on providing its users with a good experience. Most recently, Google announced their Core Web Vitals that ranks pages based on page experience (see point number five in Guest-centric Design Essentials). At the end of the day, you should focus on the User-Experience (UX) in your content creation and for that, it’s all about quality. However, there are some SEO basics that can help get your blog out to more eyeballs!
- Decide on a keyword or key phrase for your blog post. Google Trends and Google Suggest can help you find timely topics and their keywords. Tools like Moz Keyword Explorer can help you identify questions your audience is wanting to be answered.
- Ensure you have entered a page title that matches your keyword phrase or question.
- Your meta description should use your keyword phrase as the first sentence.
- Use your keyword phrase in the first paragraph of your blog post.
- Use your keyword phrase two to three times throughout your article (keyword density).
- Include internal links to related blog posts.
- Include images that are named using your keyword phrase.
- A table of contents with anchor links is great for SEO but also for your readers to help them jump to relevant places in your blog post. There are WordPress widgets that can create these automatically based on your blog posts’ sections.
While this checklist will help get eyes on each blog post, it doesn’t guarantee readers. If your blog post is irrelevant to what people are looking for, you’ll see a high bounce rate, which means visitors are coming but then leaving right away because your content is not what they were expecting. You may need to tweak your tactics for a better SEO fit. Remember to reach out to your web designer if you have SEO questions!
Increase Hotel Blog Readership: Sharing is Caring
It’s not enough to just put up a blog post onto your site and hope it brings traffic. Of course, that’s a large part of it but there are ways to push more readers to visit. And the more readers (web visitors) you can bring over, the more Google regards your blog as a popular source of information and up the Google rankings you go.
Social media: The most popular way to share your blog content is on your social accounts. And in fact, your hotel blog can be a wonderful source of content for your social media. Bear in mind that the object of platforms like Facebook is to keep users on their site, so any social posts that include a link away from their site do not get much organic reach. While it’s still worth posting to Facebook, you may get more traffic via Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram (using apps like Linkin.bio).
Email: Send blog updates to your email list! Include your latest posts in your monthly newsletter, send a blog-specific email roundup (to a curated audience who have signed up for that), and/or include blog posts in your hotel pre-stay emails to generate delight and excitement for upcoming stays.
Internal Links: Include hyperlinks within your blog posts to your other blog posts or web pages to keep visitors on your site, which will increase traffic to your other pages while providing relevant and valuable information to your audience. Doing so is also good for your SEO because it helps web crawlers understand what other content is on your website. When creating hyperlinks, be sure to use descriptive href tags that potentially include your keywords and key phrases. At the end of your blog posts, include a small list of two to five blog posts under the heading “you may also enjoy” for related content your reader may like. Or ask your web designer about a plugin that can do this automatically.
Linkbacks: Also known as backlinks or inbound links, linkbacks are links on other websites that bring traffic to your website. One way to do this is by sharing on social media. Another way is to write a blog post that includes links to other websites that you wish to promote or align yourself with, such as popular attractions. The idea is that those sites will see they are featured on your blog and reshare your post via their platforms (you may also reach out and let them know you’ve featured them). Guest blogging is another opportunity; invite a partner or influential blogger to contribute to your blog. You’ll be able to leverage their popularity as they reshare your blog. Or conversely, seek opportunities to share an article on other blog sites.
Stayin’ Alive: How to Keep Your Hotel Blog Active
So you’ve put up your blog post and shared it around. Is that enough? It would be a shame to simply put up your blog post that you put so much work into to see that content go the way of the dodo after a week. Keep older hotel blog posts active by editing them to add links to newer posts, update outdated content, and add new information. Consider adding “last updated” to posts so readers know it’s current information.
It’s also worth cleaning up older posts from time to time by adjusting the formatting or adding pictures. All of which will keep your information current for your visitors and show search engines that your site is active. Lastly, keep sharing your old blog posts via email and social media. Your valuable information should not be lost.
As a hotelier, you have an expertise that’s worth sharing with your guests and there’s no better way to reach the largest amount of people than through your hotel’s blog. Even though we’ve faced travel limitations over the last couple of years, the desire for travel is stronger than ever. Your hotel blog offers your guests the opportunity to dream and plan for their next trip—which will include your hotel as their home away from home.