BandBers trying to get found by guests on the internet will know only too well how much Google’s sponsored search results can work against them. Even hotel brand names, like Hilton and Marriott, can find themselves less prominently displayed than results from big Online Travel Agents who plough the commission they get from those extra bookings back into maintaining their marketing dominance.
Hospitality website HotelNewsNow suggests that if smaller properties still want to compete for sponsored search results (e.g. Pay Per Click), the only effective way is to target search terms that the big OTAs either aren’t interested in or haven’t thought of. They quote Paul Wood, from the small(ish) hotel management company Greenwood Hospitality, who says:
“It’s a tough… because there are a lot of metrics out there to really say, ‘OK, this keyword is going to generate traffic,’ and you get into a bidding war for it. Frankly, the OTAs are going to win. The reason is because their model strictly supports that, and we as an industry have allowed them to do it for many a year.”
In response to this situation, Greenwood Hospitality has decided to approach the problem from a hyper-local perspective. For example, its staff will scour the local area convention and visitors’ bureau guides, identifying all the upcoming events in a specific market, then targeting related search terms to bid on.
“Where you can make the real niche difference is with specific key terms, if you know what’s happening in the marketplace. The OTAs don’t do it that way,” Wood says.
It seems like this strategy – trying to capture prospective guests who’re searching for local events – could be a productive one for independent accommodation owners as they compete for search results in an increasingly crowded market.
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