After investing time and money into a new website for your property—and all the careful deliberation about formatting, content, and functionality that goes with it—it’s finally time to publish! You’re excited to share your site with the world, but how exactly do you get people to notice? Just because you’ve built it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll come…
The many benefits of a great website cannot be realized unless you get consistent traffic. That may seem like a daunting task, but it’s all about momentum. Here are a few tips to get the ball rolling.
Know Your Target Market
Before you dive into any promotional efforts, you must know who you’re promoting to! Without that crucial information, you’ll miss your target and risk your website getting lost in Cyberspace. If you designed your website right in the first place, you’ll already know your most profitable guest segments (after all, you designed your website to meet their needs, right?). Make sure you stay on track by actively sharing your new website on the channels your target market uses.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
The most important strategy for driving traffic to your website is optimizing your placement in search engine results. Google by far dominates the global search engine market share, handling over 90 percent of all search queries worldwide (in other words, 9 out of 10 internet users use Google to search for information online), so ranking on Google is important!
Every search engine has its own algorithm for ranking search results, but they all generally prioritize relevance (be intentional about the keywords you use throughout website copy), quality of content (it needs to be professional), and usability (ensure your site is easy to navigate, fast loading and mobile friendly).
It’s also important to claim and complete your free Google Business Profile. Your business profile is used in search results and Maps and improves your local SEO. Be sure to take advantage of Google’s free booking links to drive traffic to your website booking engine!
SEO is the most important strategy for driving traffic to your website.
Email continues to be a powerful marketing tool for hoteliers. Use it to drive traffic to your new site by creating an e-campaign. Offering special packages or amenities will provide ample motivation for users to click through to your website.
It’s also a great idea to add a link to your property’s website in your email signature. This simple addition will expose your new site (albeit subtly) to everyone you correspond with.
No promotional strategies are complete without social media. And with almost three billion monthly active users, Facebook should be priority number one—with YouTube and Instagram following close behind. When it comes to creating social media accounts for your property, choose the networks that suit your property’s culture and audience.
Whatever the platform, use it to increase exposure for your site by leveraging the social reach of your followers. Posting sharable content (think contests, videos, discount codes, and insider info) will encourage users to not only interact with your brand but also share your posts with their own followers. Consider collaborating with social media influencers for maximum exposure.
Local Travel Directories
Get listed on local online travel and tourism directories. Some offer free listings as well as the opportunity to increase exposure via paid listings. This is a great way to improve local visibility and SEO (via quality backlinks) for your business, and drive traffic to your website.
You can even partner with other local businesses, for example tour and activity operators, attractions, and restaurants, to create packages or negotiate discounts for guests. Promote local partners on your website and ask them to reciprocate.
The more glowing reviews you have—on the likes of Google, Tripadvisor and your OTA channels—the more traffic you’ll drive to your website (and your website booking engine!). When choosing a place to stay, a lot of travelers use OTAs and review sites to shortlist their options and then visit the websites of their top contenders. It’s called the Billboard Effect and greatly depends on positive ratings and reviews to drive discoverability.
Ask for and respond to guest reviews to maintain your online reputation and attract prospective guests to your website.
A well written (and curated) blog can do a lot for a hotel website. Not only does it give you great content to promote on social media and in email campaigns, it can build credibility and improve SEO as well.
It is, however, important to note that blogging is a big commitment. And if you don’t give it the attention it requires, a poorly executed blog can undermine your promotional efforts.
For hotel blogging ideas and tips, read our guide on How to Boost Bookings with a Hotel Blog.
While search engines and social media bring organic traffic to your website, they also offer paid advertising options (e.g., Google Hotel Ads). If you have room in your budget, investing in online ads is definitely worth your while (and money)—as long as you pick the right spots, audience and content. Even small investments can yield good returns.
Paid online advertising generally works on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis, where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Your bid for those clicks (against competitors) affects your ranking. Different platforms all offer a variety of ad types (regular posts, carousel ads, videos, etc.) and allow you to control your budget via campaign spending limits. Effective targeting features ensure your ads reach the right customers. Running a paid ad campaign is a great way to get your new website out there!
The work doesn’t end after your site is up and running. Being proactive about promoting your page is critical to success. Your future customers are out there, so make sure they find you!
Editor’s note: This post was originally published October 2017 and updated January 2023.