Content Marketing for Hotels: A Guide

Do you want to boost your hotel’s SEO, sharpen up its brand, and keep its audience hooked with a steady stream of riveting things to read? Then content marketing is the way to go.

Of course, the ‘content’ in content marketing can be done in multiple different ways: blogs, booklets, web pages, print magazines, infographics, leaflets, videos, and virtual tours.

But for the sake of this humble copywriting blog, I’m going to talk to you about arguably the most cost-efficient form: online written content that appears on your own website.

How can content marketing boost SEO?

The internet is an ocean of competition, and having prime place on page one of the search engine results pages (or SERPS as they’re sometimes called) takes a lot of work.

One way you can get your hotel there is by posting regular content that incorporates your key search terms. But if you’re a small hotel in a big city like Paris, I’m sorry to say that your hotel’s website ranking on page number one of Google for the key search term, ‘Paris hotel’, is going to be almost impossible! You’ll be competing with giants like TripAdvisor and for a start.

Instead, you should be thinking about trying to get discovered for niche phrases such as ‘pet-friendly boutique hotel Montmartre’ or ‘eco-friendly boutique hotel Montmartre’ in addition to your competitive ‘Paris hotel’ phrase.

These niche phrases are known as ‘long-tail keywords’. And they account for 70% of all web searches, so it’s definitely worth working out which ones are going to work for your hotel.

How do you incorporate long tail keywords into your website? By publishing regular content that incorporates them, as well as similar themes related to the keywords. So, let’s say you’re a pet-friendly hotel in the Montmartre area of Paris. Your long-tail keyword can be ‘pet friendly boutique hotel Montmartre’. Why not publish a blog about great dog-friendly parks in the surrounding area, or tips for travelling with pets in Paris.

Search engines are incredibly clever, and they’re getting even more intelligent with each update. So focus on producing quality content around a theme, and they’ll eventually catch up to the idea that you’re the authority on pet-friendly Paris, for example, and point a potential dog-loving holidaymaker your way. Success!

Another bonus of sticking with this SEO tactic is that long-tail keywords are also sometimes described as ‘high intent keywords’ – so yes, not as many people will be searching for them as they are your high-competition keywords, but when they are, you’re in with much more of a chance of converting the lead that lands on your website.

And converting leads is what it’s all about in the end.

I wish I could tell you there was an easy way to get to the top of the search engine results pages for a highly common search term, but the reality is it takes years, various different tactics, and a big budget. And the competition from big booking sites is just too immense.

Of course, depending on your destination it may be easier. I’ve used Paris purely as an example here, but if your hotel is located on an obscure and little-known island, then you’re obviously in with a better chance!

Definitely keep trying – not everything on your website needs to feature your long-tail keyword, and of course, you can have more than one. But remember to focus a lot of your content marketing efforts on a small number of long-tail keywords because it’s going to be easier to see results from them in the short term.

Keep  your content fresh and relevant

Keywords aside, publishing regular content signals to search engines that your website is being regularly updated with new information. Each time you publish a blog, that’s another page for search engines to index, which gains their favour.

A website full of old content that’s been stagnant for a long time is more likely to be overtaken in the search rankings by a website that regularly freshens itself up.

And what better way to freshen up than with a new blog every now and then?

Coming up with content ideas

Coming up with blog ideas can be tricky sometimes.

To make things easier, though, start with who your marketing is targeted towards. Which types of guests do you want to attract to your hotel: are they business travellers, couples, young families or groups of friends?

You can go even further and decide you’d like to appeal to couples with an interest in nature and sustainability, or students and young people looking for a trendy, budget-friendly place to stay.

This will also help you determine what your long-tail keywords should be.

Once you’ve established who your target market is and researched which long-tail keywords will be the best fit for them, it’ll be so much easier to think about which kind of content they’d like to read. What would be useful or interesting to them?

Hotel marketing in a difficult time

At the time of writing this, we’re unfortunately still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here in the UK, hotels are closed. Although the situation varies overseas, with some recovery happening, things are still far from what we’d call ‘normal’. Marketing can be a challenge because many businesses are unsure of what to say when normal life is a distant fantasy.

It might be difficult to push your services or share news from your hotel at the moment. So instead, focus on inspiring your audience for future visits and keeping in touch. You don’t have to go silent, but focus less on pushing your services and more on storytelling.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Tell a story about the history of your hotel. Did anyone famous used to live or stay there? Does the building have a story behind it?
  • Write a guide to the local area that people can appreciate at the moment – rather than highlighting local bars, shops and restaurants, tell people about the best local walks, parks and landmarks
  • Feature your staff – introduce your general manager, head chef, gardener or housekeeping staff to bring faces and personality to your brand
  • Get your head chef to share cooking tips or a recipe people can make at home. Or share a cocktail recipe from your bar manager
  • If you’re a spa hotel, write some tips on how to maintain wellness and self-care until they can visit you again

Blogs should always feature a call to action at the end, so don’t forget to encourage people to book a stay or keep in touch via signing up to your newsletter if you have one.

Need some content marketing inspiration?

Here are a couple of examples of hotels that do content marketing really well, and demonstrate the tips I’ve highlighted.

Ellerman House, South Africa

Hotel content marketing

Ellerman House is a gorgeous boutique hotel in Cape Town. Two of its selling points are art and wine, owing to its impressive collection of both, and this is reflected in the hotel’s blog, Ellerman Says. They have an Artist of the Month feature, and wine is another theme threaded throughout the blog in various posts. It truly brings out the best of the hotel and shows that Ellerman House is a genuine authority when it comes to wine and art.

During lockdown, Ellerman House has showcased its staff members, with different people being highlighted in each blog as they share their thoughts on the unusual situation they’ve found themselves in. It’s a fantastic way to connect and keep in touch with their audience.

Loews Hotels, USA & Canada

Loews Hotels is a family- and pet-friendly hotel collection with properties across the USA and Canada. Being a family business, they’ve positioned their branding around the theme of family, and they encourage guests to feel at home with them.

It’s no surprise that their blog is packed with helpful city guides focused on having fun with all the family and general tips for having a great holiday in their various destinations. They describe their destinations as ‘cities they call home’, and their blog certainly backs this up.

Check out their pet-friendly guide to Atlanta and their family road trip season blogs for two great examples of using content marketing to display and strengthen specific brand values.

Blog to grow your business

Content marketing doesn’t guarantee immediate results and isn’t a direct sales tool. Although it can be used to promote new packages, restaurant openings and amenities, the idea is, first and foremost, to improve your SEO and give something valuable to your audience for free.

In turn, it will develop your brand, strengthen your ongoing relationship with your audience, and help you stand out in a crowded marketplace with a personality of your own.

If you’re trying to boost hotel sales, content marketing is just one thread of a larger marketing strategy. Branding, website design, PR, social media and other advertising avenues all play a part in developing leads for your hotel, too.

But for a cost-efficient and simple addition to your marketing efforts, SEO blogging as part of your content marketing strategy will push you in the right direction. It’s an easy way to attract new leads, keep in touch with your existing audience, and even generate sales.

Professionally written hotel content

It takes time and skill to create content that people not only want to read, but also has specific purpose and intent behind it.

The ideas in this blog are a good starting point if you’re thinking about developing a blogging strategy of your own. But if you’d like an in-depth consultation with me to work out what the best approach for your hotel would be, I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me and we can discuss how I can strategize a plan and write bespoke content for you that will push your hotel in the right direction.