Have you been toying with the idea of including a blog on your hotel website? There’s something compelling about blog writing. Giving your business a human voice, a blog can help you connect with your guests and the local community in a more personal way, and ultimately boost bookings.
Whether you’re just thinking about starting one, or need some inspiration to keep your existing one going, read on for some advice on how to start and maintain a successful hotel blog.
Why Start a Blog?
When done the right way—the right topics, the right tone, the right frequency—a hotel blog offers real benefits as part of an effective marketing strategy.
>> Connects with customers. A blog is a great way to convey the personality of your hotel, helping to define your brand and engage your customers. As an avenue for showing the more personal side of your business, a blog helps establish a human connection with readers that builds trust and helps convert them into customers.
>> Increases search engine ranking and traffic to your website. An active (regularly updated) blog that provides relevant content supports your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Search engines are drawn to blogs because of naturally occurring keywords and fresh content, helping to rank your website higher in search results and attracting more visitors.
>> Complements your social media campaigns. Most hoteliers accept that social media is part and parcel of hotel marketing today, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! Effective social media campaigns require time and effort. Your blog can help you kill two birds with one stone by providing great content for your social media channels like Facebook and Instagram too.
What to Blog About?
When you write about topics that both you and your customers are interested in, maintaining a blog is fun and rewarding. Luckily for hoteliers, in the world of hospitality and travel there’s lots of good stuff relating to your property and destination to talk about.
Guide your customers’ travel experiences
Your property is part of a wider travel experience, so help position it as such by providing your customers with tips and information that will inspire them to visit your destination and help them make the most of their trip.
>> What’s happening. What’s new in town? Keep your guests and prospective guests informed about local events, new attractions, new restaurants, etc. Be the expert on the latest happenings around your neighbourhood.
>> Local travel tips. What should your guests pack? When’s the best time to visit a popular attraction in order to avoid the crowds? What local dishes do visitors just have to try and where are the best places to try them? Travelers are always looking for good tips and, as a local expert, who better than you to provide them! Top 3 (or Top 5, etc.) lists make great posts that are both fun and informative, for example, your Top 5 local beaches, restaurants or family-friendly hikes.
Today’s travelers appreciate venturing off the beaten path, so spill some insider “secrets” that will allow visitors to discover genuine local experiences. This can include off-season attractions; highlight why it’s worth visiting your town without the crowds.
>> Local history and culture. Most travelers enjoy getting to know a place beyond appearances. Share your town’s story—legends, ghost stories, historical figures and events—and give background on local traditions.
Share Your Property’s Story
Just like destination is part of the experience of your property, so is your property part of the guest’s experience of your destination. Sharing the human side of your property helps weave it into the narrative of an authentic travel experience.
>> Property news. Share news about your property, like new menu items, hotel events, new or upgraded amenities, and specials and packages. But don’t just make announcements—give the reasons behind changes and events so that your readers can relate.
>> The history and culture of your property. Was your property the setting of any noteworthy historic events or the home of an important historic figure? Has it hosted any famous guests? Is it haunted? Even if your property is newer, you can still tell a good story about why it was started or how it fits into the community. You could even share a popular recipe from your hotel’s kitchen so guests can bring a part of their stay experience home with them.
>> Behind the scenes. People usually love the privilege of getting a peek backstage. Renovations in progress (with pictures, obviously!), where your locally sourced ingredients come from, and staff profiles (why they love their job, their favourite things to do around town…) all make great topics that help to humanize your brand.
The rule of thumb is this: write about things that will appeal to your guests.
A hotel blog should be a helpful and enjoyable resource for your readers — if it meets that criteria, it’s off to a promising start. Here are some tips to ensure its success in attracting visitors to your website and converting them into guests:
>> Don’t over-promote your hotel. While your blog ultimately plays a part in turning lookers into bookers, it is not the venue for hard selling. If you shamelessly promote your hotel in every post, you will simply (and annoyingly) come across as contrived and pushy.
>> Maintain a conversational tone. The purpose of a hotel blog is to connect with and engage customers by showing the more personal side of your business, so write like you talk—but do keep grammar and spelling in check!
>> Include a photo with every post. Images generally attract our attention faster than blocks of text. Including relevant images (not stock photos) with your blog posts invites people into the story. And don’t forget to caption and tag images appropriately for search engines.
>> Write regularly. Content should be updated regularly to keep your readers engaged and to optimize search engine ranking, so commit to a schedule. Once a week or fortnight is nice; anything less than once a month probably won’t bring results.
>> Include relevant CTAs in every post. No matter how much someone enjoyed your post, if you don’t lead them to the next step with a relevant call to action (CTA), you risk losing them in cyberspace. A relevant CTA is aligned with the topic of the post and should take the stage of the reader’s travel journey into consideration. For example, a Top 5 Summer Activities in OurTown post could finish with a CTA like, “Check out other great attractions around town,” that links to your website’s Local Attractions page. Unless the post is about a special, limited-time offer, CTAs that beg readers to “book now!” come across as premature.
>> Enable comments. Blogs provide a great opportunity to begin conversations with your customers.
>> Maintain SEO. Optimize for search engines by using relevant titles, descriptions and keywords for every blog post. WordPress is an easy-to-use blogging and content management system with lots of SEO-friendly features.
>> Share your blog. In addition to sharing blog posts on social media, promote your blog by linking to it in your newsletter and other email communications with customers. Offer readers the option to subscribe to your blog via a Follow (subscribe to) button or RSS feed.
Don’t get discouraged if your blog doesn’t gain followers right away — most new blogs don’t. But keep at it and you’ll soon reap the rewards of more website traffic and bookings. And you’ll probably enjoy it! If you’d like to discuss adding a blog to your property’s website, drop us a line.