Content creation and promotion are the foundation of a solid digital marketing strategy. Everything you imagine and publish on the Web is content: texts, images, video, ebooks, podcasts, PowerPoint presentations,*pdfs, social media updates, and the list goes on.
Because content comes in different forms, it is vital to create a smart content strategy that works for your business. For example, hotels must focus on property and property grounds, amenities and facilities, the destination, travel guides, and other content updates to attract and persuade guests to make a booking. In other words, a smart hotel content strategy focuses on the guests’ expectations. Here are the essential steps to consider when you plan your hotel’s content strategy.
Understanding Content Creation and Its Role in Marketing
Content creation is a creative process and inbound marketing practice that supports your overall marketing efforts, bringing information and your business message in front of potential consumers. It involves both visual and text elements, like video, images, blog posts, social media updates, and much more.
Per dollar spent, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and delivers 3x more leads. In addition, according to Demand Metric, 70% of people prefer learning about a company through articles rather than adverts.
These statistics reflect what savvy business owners already know: content is vital for customer engagement and, ultimately, business growth.
Define Your Guest Persona
The content creation process begins with defining guest personas: who do you hope to welcome to stay at your hotel? Couples? Families with children? Seniors? Solo travelers? Business travelers? Backpackers? Adventure travelers? Hipsters? Digital nomads? Different hotels cater to different people. Some hotels cater to adults-only; others embrace a broader scope of activity. Whatever their guest personas, these hotels must plan their marketing strategies to reach the right audiences, and content marketing is essential for this purpose.
Perform Keyword Research for Good Content SEO
Understanding these audiences and their expectations helps hoteliers plan the next steps.
Keyword research is one of the critical aspects of the content creation process. It shows how potential guests search for a specific destination and hotel type on the Internet. To find the most relevant keywords, hoteliers may either hire an SEO company or perform searches in-house, using keyword tools. Some of the most popular include:
- Similarweb - a professional, subscription-based platform, which competitive analysis tools, keyword research tools, media buying research tools, ad creative research tools, and so on. They offer a free trial before you commit to a pricey monthly subscription plan.
- Google Ads Keyword Design Tool - free to use with a Google Ads account. Find the keywords to target the right audiences with your Google Ads campaigns. The tool is handy for discovering keywords necessary in the content creation process too. Use it to learn how often specific keywords are searched and how these searches have changed over time.
- Semrush Keyword Research - part of a subscription-based monthly plan, helping you assess the value of any keyword based on search volume, keyword difficulty, number of results, CPC, competition, SERP features, variations, and more. Free trials are available.
- Keyword Explorer - a free tool from MOZ, helps you find out which keywords could help your site rank better in the SERPs right now and to find other high-impact keyword suggestions.
- Wordtracker - a subscription-based keyword research tool scanning multiple sources to deliver several results. A free 7-day trial is available.
Develop Engaging Content Topics
Once you identified your keywords, you can begin creating content around those topics. So, whether you write a blog post, an article, or your website texts, use the most relevant keyword phrase for your pilar (main) content page and the related keywords and keyword variations for content that provides more information and added value for the reader. This part of the content creation process involves work with topic clusters - an SEO strategy that structures your website or blog for better crawlability and higher rankings in the SERPs.
Crawlability is an SEO (search engine optimization) term defining the search engine web crawlers’ ability to access and crawl content on a website by following links between pages. If you don’t want the web crawlers to scan and index your pages, you can block them.
An example for a topic cluster would be:
Pilar page (main topic): Luxury Boutique Hotel
Cluster pages (related topics, linked to the pilar page):
- Luxury Boutique Hotel with Private Pool
- Designer Areas in Your Luxury Boutique Hotel
- Luxury Boutique Hotel Premium Facilities
Of course, you should use the topic clusters relevant to your hotel, using its name and destination in the title and metadata, as well as within the text as it flows naturally. The cluster pages must have a relation (similar subject) to the pilar page. In the example above, the topic is “luxury boutique hotel,” and the cluster pages expand upon aspects that make it special. Working with topic clusters will challenge your creativity, but it will provide excellent long-term SEO benefits.
Write Content for Your Guest Personas
Defining your guest personas will aid in the creative writing process. You should write content that resonates with their expectations, culture, age, general travel behaviors, and other attributes they have in common.
Create content that revolves around one sole topic. Multiple topics in one article tend to confuse the reader. Instead, structure your content in short, scannable paragraphs, split by subtitles, and use bulleted or numbered lists to keep the reader interested.
Try to write content that brings something of value and find topics not widely covered by other hotels or travel guides. Readers appreciate fresh perspectives.
Work hard to define a “voice” for your content. For example, you can be playful and aloof to create a sense of ease and enjoyment or grave if you want to attract the business-type guest who doesn’t have time for tomfoolery. Whatever style you choose, be confident and comfortable with it.
Before publishing your content, go a few times over it and edit unnecessary jargon, adjectives, and metaphors. Correct any typos and grammatical errors. Delete repetitive phrases and overused keywords. Finally, make your text stand out through conciseness, clarity, and readability.
Creating a Content Strategy for Social Media
The content you publish on social media is different from the one you make available on your website or blog. In essence, it is “micro-content” is it will be significantly shorter.
For example, the ideal length for a Facebook update is 40-80 characters, although a Facebook post has a limit of 63,206 characters. Likewise, the best performing tweets are under 100 characters, despite the 280-character limitation currently available on Twitter. And finally, Instagram captions under 150 characters outperform the lengthy ones.
All social networks use #hashtags to help users discover topics of interest. Hashtags are essentially keywords preceded by the octothorpe (#) sign. Thus, you can use one keyword or a keyword phrase, spelled as one word, to create a hashtag.
Per keyword research involved in the creative process for longer texts, hashtag research is essential in planning the content strategy for social media. The most popular hashtags reflect what the users are searching for and how you can reach them.
Once you know which hashtags to use, find out when to publish. Per data analyzed by Sprout Social, here are the best times to post on the leading social media platforms in 2021:
Best times to post on Facebook for travel & tourism:
- Best times: Tuesday and Wednesday 9 a.m.–1 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–noon
- Best day: Wednesday
- Worst day: Sunday
Best times to post on Instagram for travel & tourism:
- Best times: Thursday 7 a.m., Monday 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
- Best day: Thursday
- Worst days: Saturday, Sunday
Best times to post on Twitter for travel & tourism:
- Best times: Monday 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Wednesday 8–9 a.m.
- Best days: Monday, Tuesday
- Worst day: Saturday
Through practice, trial and error, you may discover that these best times and days do not apply to your hotel. But publish daily, and keep your followers engaged. Reply to comments, follow back, and try to follow influencers and businesses in your niche, as well as local businesses, to create a strong community. Ideally, you should hire a social media manager skilled in creating content for each social network and who knows how to grow your social media footprint and influence.
Creating a smart hotel content strategy is a time-consuming process, but it will pay off in the long run if you respect the basics highlighted in this article. In addition, if you are a seasoned content marketer, it will not be challenging to get started and achieve the best results relatively fast. However, your best bet is to skip the DIY efforts and hire an expert.
Hotel chains hire people to create content in-house. In contrast, independent hotels may choose a different approach, employing a freelance writer or a digital marketing company specializing in content creation and marketing. Whatever you choose, don’t lose sight of what matters: your content strategy must align with your business goals and ancillary marketing strategies while bringing value to your guests. To conclude: every content strategy that has the guests in focus will succeed every time.