SEO Strategies for Resorts
After vacationing in Hilton Head Island for Thanksgiving and Waikiki Beach in Honolulu for New Year’s Eve, I’m learning first hand the power of SEO for resorts. None more explicit than the power of attributes and entities (features if you will) in Google Maps as they relate to the resort offerings and surrounding tourists spots.
I’ll dive into the power of attributes and entities, and why they are so critical for hotel and resort SEO below, but let me first give some context into my own experience and how I experienced the relevance of SEO firsthand.
During both of these vacations, we used Google Maps extensively to get answers to common questions such as:
- does the hotel offer free breakfast?
- is there a gym at our resort?
- what are the hours of the gym?
- is there a pool for kids?
- what the pool hours?
- Is there a restaurant at the hotel?
- If there’s a restaurant at the hotel, what are the hours and what types of food are offered?
- Does the resort have a spa for couple’s massages?
While we were in Hilton Head for Thanksgiving with our family, kids, and two other families and their kids, we wanted to know what stores were open at night after our Thanksgiving diner. And then we were searching extensively mapping out our Black Friday strategy.
While my wife and I were in Waikiki Beach for New Year’s Eve, we found ourselves researching everything in Google Maps, searching for features and attributes about the things we wanted to do, and relying heavily on reviews to decide on where to go and what to do.
Perhaps more than any other feature, we relied heavily on Google reviews to drive our decisions during these vacations.
For example in Honolulu, we were looking to get a couples massage in Waikiki Beach and found many of the top search results in Google Maps had 4.5 star ratings and above. But since we were in Honolulu for New Year’s, many of these top rated spas were booked days in advance.
And then when we called many of the spas with less than 4 stars, we found schedules wide open but were much more hesitant to schedule a massage because of the lower rated reviews.
We even used Google Maps in Hawaii to find the best lookout spots that we can drive to. And excitedly found the best spots had hundreds of Google reviews full of rich information about people’s experience at each of these locations.
What does this mean for resort and hotel SEO?
Since we live and breath SEO here at Bipper Media, I of course took note of our habits and use of Google search, Google Maps, and the way we searched for things during our vacations.
I can tell you that attributes and entities are the key takeaway for resort and hotel SEO strategies in 2018.
First let me give some definitions of these important SEO terms for resorts and hotels.
Attributes: the features you are looking for in a resort, hotel, or vacation spot, and once you are there, the types of things you are looking to do.
Instead of knowing the name of a specific place, business name, or restaurant name, attributes would be more indicative of your tastes or interests.
So instead of searching for a Hyatt Regency in Waikiki, might search instead of a resort with a restaurant and spa in Waikiki. The “resort with a restaurant” and “hotel with a spa” search type would represent attributes.
While at your vacation spot, attribute driven searches would be used as you or your family are looking for places to eat or things to do.
I mentioned several questions above that we’ve used for our two vacations this year. Each of these questions are examples of attribute driven searches.
And these attribute driven searches are golden opportunities for resorts, hotels, and vacation spots to leverage in their SEO strategies to get found fast and connect with vacationers that are looking for things to do, places to visit, and places to eat.
Entities: Code, basically, that turns attributes into structured data that can be read by search engines, maps, and mobile apps.
The reason we used Google Maps and other apps such as Waze so much during out vacations is because we’ve come to trust the information they give us. We’ve come to rely on the directions they give us, and we love Waze because we believe it takes us around things like construction zones and traffic backups.
We’ve come to rely on Google Maps as the go to source to not only find things to do, but also see what others think about it through reviews.
Resort, hotel, and vacation destiny SEO needs to understand that this is how vacationers are using these technologies on their mobile phones. And yes, during both of our trips, we saw everyone staring at their mobile phones more than anything else. And especially in Waikiki where the vacationers come from literally all over the world, it didn’t matter… everyone was still staring at their phones while driving, walking along Waikiki Beach, and walking along the shops and restaurants on Kalakaua Ave.
If you plan on engaging vacationers and driving more traffic into your resorts, hotels, restaurants, and resort retail locations, then SEO and local SEO will be a critical strategy for 2018.
More than ever, people are pulling out their phones and searching for things to do, places to go, where to eat, etc… and relying heavily on fast ways to get feedback and reviews to help drive those decisions.
In 2017, I saw first hand how important SEO is for resort, hotel, and vacation spots… not only because I run an SEO agency, but because it’s what we did while vacationing in various spots this past year.