Thursday, 21 December 2017

3 Predictions for Your Hotel's Strategy in 2018

As 2018 fast approaches, December is the ideal time to review your internet strategy and familiarise yourself with trends that will dominate the web space in the New Year. Though it is impossible to completely stay on top of all possible digital trends, here are a few things we believe are important for you to become aware of.

Focus on Your Brand

The OTAs will only become more aggressive in capturing business in the coming years. Hence, brand-building is an essential part of any long-term SEO strategy. It must continue to be your focus for 2018, especially in assisting your online visibility and performance.  One element we support our clients on is Brand PPC campaigns; when you bid on your brand, you protect it by ensuring your official hotel website is the first result when your hotel is searched. It is critical for your property to run paid campaigns. You could be missing out on 60 – 70% of clicks for brand name searches without ads. We benchmark a good brand PPC campaign as having a return of 15:1 or higher. One of our hotel clients achieved a 26:1 return on their PPC campaign.

In more recent times, we have noted a trend where some clients’ brand demand has dropped (a decrease in number of people searching for their brand name). This has resulted is us assessing how we can further support our clients in growing their brand outside of the traditional offline branding techniques. In 2018, we will be launching our “Brand Power” programme and communicating what we can offer you to further grow your brand and assist with your overall online strategy. 

Link Building

In 2018 creating a strategy to acquire high quality links will be more important than ever. You should focus on links to high domain authority sites for your website that will add value and build your authority in your target niche. PR activity with quality publications will contribute to your domain authority and ranking strength on search engines. 

This doesn’t always mean that the best backlinks come from the most popular sites, but it’s still crucial to seek coverage from sites that are relevant to your industry. Referral traffic can still contribute to your site’s organic search rankings, while it is also useful to start thinking of link building as a long-term process. A successful SEO strategy in 2018 will move towards relationship building, helping a brand develop powerful contacts and links that will be beneficial in the longer term.

Mobile-First Index

We see 2018 as the year that the focus will be on mobile-first design, rather than mobile as an afterthought.  This is especially true if Google decides to make 2018 the year it finally deploys its mobile-first index. A recent study by BrightEdge found that 57% of website traffic comes from mobile devices and this matches the trend we see across our clients where on average 60% access a website via a mobile device. 

It is worth noting there is a significant difference between the way that keywords rank on mobile and the way they rank on desktop, so mobile-first content is needed to have the best chance of being visible in mobile search. 
Mobile users will seek more content while they are on the go, which means that brands will face a big opportunity for marketing their business in a local context. Mobile optimisation for local users can provide an excellent way to create a successful SEO strategy in 2018 by facilitating the search experience through personalised and relevant answers.

We have started offering AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) as a service to our clients, which ensures they rank higher for mobile searches and loading time is kept to a minimum. AMP pages are rarely being used by the hotel industry and a great win for those who are able to get in early!