Just like any industry, travel and hospitality businesses have their own very specific buyer’s journey. In our 2019 Travel Customer Journey Report we dug deep into keyword data to figure out what content Google’s algorithm values and which brands are doing the best job answering their customer’s needs. These 6 tips will help you create new pages and types of content that will help your business better connect with and guide your customers along the buyer’s journey.
Localize Web Page Titles & Content for Hotel & Airfare Searchers
Searches for hotels are often localized in the early stages of a vacation search. Creating landing pages for popular destinations means earning more traffic to your site. Pages like hotel recommendations by city will not only give value to your customers but also provide context around what the page is actually for to search engines. For instance, it’s pretty hard to rank for the term “hotels”, but “hotels in Chattanooga” has less competition and still has 60,500 MSV.
Be careful to build out the content on your pages with more than just lists of hotels. A common element in top ranking location-based pages in our research was the inclusion of longer-form content like city FAQs, guides, and more.
Beyond localizing by city, some OTAs like Expedia even targeted specific local landmarks to target organic search traffic from business travelers.. This can be an extremely effective method for targeting the type of customers you want to bring to your site. It’s essential to consider the specific needs of the people you are trying to speak to if you want your business to be an effective player in organic search.
Create Content for the Types of Trips People are Searching For
This seems obvious, but if you want to be found by people looking for spring break trips, you should probably have a page on your site with content that helps people find a good spring break trip. Let’s look at how a publisher leveraged these tactics: U.S. News & World Report garnered high rankings for high MSV searches with pages on their site dedicated to types of vacations like “Spring break” (135,000 MSV), “Best honeymoon destinations” (18,100 MSV), or “Family vacation ideas” (15,000 MSV) .
Spring break is a popular vacation type, and it makes sense there’s a lot of search volume around the term. For the more specific, very early funnel query “best spring break destinations” (2900 MSV), U.S. News aimed to provide some unique value to the consumer by coming up with an entire methodology for identifying the best spring break locations. They don’t mention specific resorts or methods of transportation (except for linking out to separate hotel and airfare selection pages) but focus on answering the question at hand.
U.S. News recognized that the intent behind such an early stage query was primarily about researching where to go, not deciding where to stay, and prioritized providing searchers with the information they were looking for.
Use Schema Markup (Especially for Hotel SEO)
Adding schema markup to a page can add elements like the amount of stars based on your reviews to your results on the SERP. Customers are heavily influenced by reviews, whether on third party sources like TripAdvisor or from their own sites, and expect transparency when it comes to comparing potential accommodations, so putting your great reviews front and center on the SERP can help push you ahead of the competition and increase your clickthrough rate.
Start off by testing your page to see if you have structured data already in place.. If you don’t, you should add it, especially for reviews. See this review snippet help page to identify the best use of schema markup for your business.
In addition, if you work for an online travel agency or a hotel group that collects reviews on your site, you may want to make sure your aggregate reviews for every hotel are easily indexable so you can be featured in the “what guests are saying” section in Google.
Use the Right Keywords for Experiences and Amenities
Travel is not just a destination game: people are looking for experiences and amenities early on in their research. Look for opportunities to write longer-form content that collects potential experiences people might be interested in based on their search queries to drive more traffic to your site. Providing a one-stop shop for everything people need to know about where they’re traveling to can help people stay on your site and increase the likelihood they’ll book.
On top of this, you should also optimize for the names of your amenities to match keywords with the highest MSV. If your hotel has a pool “hotels with pools” (12,100 MSV), or is a “pet-friendly hotel” (110,000 MSV), chances are people are using Google to find exactly what you have.
Pair Content with Functional Pages
Even if the primary function of your site is a search function, a single main search page no longer has to be the way you drive sales. Creating a variety of content that speaks to the needs of the travelers you’re serving with open hotel rooms or airline seats can help you increase your customers’ affinity for your brand, as well as build trust with and draw in new users.
More users are using Google to research where they’re going and what they might do in the early stages of their travel searches. Positioning your brand as an expert source of helpful information can influence their purchase decision once they’re ready to make it. Even OTAs like Skyscanner are getting into the content team, while still integrating their primary search function straight into the content page that’s delivering value to the customer.
Create Video Content Around Your Target Business Travel Keywords on Youtube
For early- and middle- stage keywords for business travel, YouTube was king. In fact, in the data we pulled for the 2019 Travel Customer Journey report, nearly 15% of all middle stage MSV went to YouTube, putting the video content giant in top slot for market share for mid-journey keywords.
So what does that mean for your brand? You need to head to the SERP for any keywords you’re targeting and figure out what kinds of results Google is surfacing. If they’re video results, you need to start investing in video creation for your keyword targets because that’s what Google has discovered people are responding to. To be competitive on the SERP, you’ll need to generate quality video content.