The Linkbuildr team works with a lot of hotels, in fact this niche is our personal favorite due to the amount of hotels we stay in. I don’t know what it is, but I love staying in hotels almost as much as I love doing their marketing. There are so many interesting marketing tactics that can come into play, so lets go over a few we take care of for our clients.
While link building for hotels is a daunting task, it is more time consuming than difficult. The social media aspect is nothing short of tons of fun! I’ll get into some unique link building opportunities you can jump on today, as well get your thinking about your social media and content strategy for 2011.
The main thing we stress when it comes to quality link building is building partnerships within your industry. The hospitality industry has so many unique opportunities to exploit that you could literally hire someone full time to tackle it…and some of our clients do after they see what we put on the table. Let’s look at three choice opportunities here, and hopefully this gets your brain going. If not, give us a ring and we’d be more than happy to light a fire under your marketing bush(editor note…Ryan is never allowed to use that phrase again).
Hotel Bloggers – There are many travel bloggers out there and inviting one out to stay with your hotel can be more than worth it. This gives your hotel the opportunity to have a hotelier come and literally document your hotel from a different angle. From our experience we’ve seen not only links come in from this, but social media traffic which equaled in more followers on the hotels end. We saw a boost in Foursquare checkin-ins, Yelp reviews and bookings increased almost every single time by over 30%.
Local Businesses – There are plenty of local businesses you already are partnered with in some respect. Since you’re a luxury service provider, look into connecting with local luxury car rentals companies, high end restaurants and spas. You can look into luxury tours, golf courses and real estate agents. They all have websites, social media accounts and both parties can really benefit from an exchange of shout-outs.
Mobile Travel Apps – There are thousands of mobile travel apps out there, are you on any of them? I’d get in touch with app owners if your hotel isn’t included and see what you can do. A lot of the apps are also built on affiliate feeds from the likes of Travelocity, Hotels.com and others. So get into a well know affiliate program and benefit from mass of users out there who will market for you. If you run a boutique luxury hotel, check out the Small Luxury Hotels iPhone App.
Your Content Strategy:
Having great content is the key to attracting links, a better on page time from the user end and just makes you look good in general. You’d be surprised by the number of luxury hotels we work with that have minimal visual stimuli. I imagine your hotel has decadently designed lobbies, lounges and rooms….so show them off damnit!
Hire a local photographer to come in and just go to town all over the hotel. High resolution pictures are great use in your own blogging, filling your Flickr account up, letting your affiliates use the content and use on your other social media accounts. Plus, then next magazine or news print your hotel gets into, they have a plethora of pictures to choose from.
Video marketing is key, you should fire your marketing team if they haven’t been doing this already. There are dozens of video sites out there that get your best assets in front of the eyes of millions of travelers. Having a large range of videos is also more fodder travel bloggers to embed in their writeup of your place. It gives that newly married couple something to show off on their Facebook page. Videos are also easy to rank, so how awesome would it be to have your hotel video ranking top 10 for say “Manhattan luxury hotel” ?
Create your own iPad/iPhone app for your guests. I can guarantee that most luxury hotels will have an iPad (or something similar) replacing the in-room guest book. Your content can be showcased in high resolution from these along with all the guest information needed. If you really want to showoff, you can tell them how you’re going green and reducing the need for paper.
Video Courtesy: Sofitel Luxury Hotels
The link building opportunities are plentiful, and there are some easily obtained options right at your fingertips. I won’t give away all our secrets now, but I’ll give you a few scraps to get your mouth watering. Link Building for hotels can be a pain, but again it’s all about the relationships so keep at it and it’ll pay off in the end.
Luxury Hotel Directories – While I’m not a huge fan of directories, I’m more inclined in the niche ones that are retaining quality. The reason they’re still thriving is because they don’t allow everyone in, and that keeps their high standards up front and center. Here are a few luxury hotel directories you should look into;
Mr & Mrs Smith – This directory is hard to get into but can open your hotel up to a whole new audience of luxury travelers. They have a suggestion form, so that’s about all I can say about getting your hotel hooked up here.
Elegant Small Hotels – This site is not only on my pleasure reading list, it is a well maintained site for the smaller luxury hotels around the world. You get a link if you’re listed here, as well the exposure and branding is beyond most expectations.
Drake & Cavendish – This is one of the largest luxury hotel directories in the world and you best be listed here. There is a fee to be listed here, but you know all the visitors coming to the site are 100% targeted to your hotel.
Since Google and Bing both count social participation into their algorithms, then 2011 is the year of social participation. Almost every luxury hotel has a Twitter and Facebook account which is great. Building the followers should be high are your goals list this year, so lets look at a few tactics to handle this aspect.
Contests – We try and get every hotel we work with to run a contest which involves both Twitter and Facebook participation. Make sure you set a blog post up on the hotel blog talking about the contest, but funnel your users both new and old into your Facebook Page from this point. More people are staying on Facebook, so the key here is to nab as many followers as possible. Once they’re a fan on Facebook, you can get at them at almost a daily basis. Do the same for Twitter, run the contest for those followers as well by making them ReTweet to be included. This makes sure you cover all your basis and gets as much social media exposure as possible.
Conferences – Hosting a business conference can be a great boost for business. You’ll not only get links from the conference host site, you will get a flurry of on site Tweets, Foursquare check-ins and other media. How many people are going to be taking photos and video from their smart-phones? How many of those people will be uploading those to their Youtube accounts, Facebook profiles and other social media accounts? If you can’t find a conference right now, go check out local Meetup.com groups and offer to host some of their events.
Social Travel Sites – There are a lot of awesome social travel sites, and hotels are encouraged to sign up and participate. This can be enough work for a full time employee, so keep that in mind. We compiled a list of Travel social networks last year, so take a look at those before going around on your own. These are great ways to target your market audience for almost free. Remember all that cool content I told you to make? This is another great way to utilize it.
Need Help Marketing Your Luxury Hotel?:
We know a lot of hotels don’t have the resources on staff to tackle the bulk of these marketing tasks. I’d like to extend our expertise with a whole range of strategies and tactics we can implement for your hotel. We can even send our lead hotel marketer to your location to handle everything from content creation to kick starting a top notch marketing plan. If you mention this post, we’ll even give you 10% off our services for as long as you’re a client.