Some travel companies that have built their brands selling traditional hotel room stays are working to get out of the market and into alternative offerings, such as private villa rentals. Others, like Marriott, are sticking with what’s worked for them, even as share economy-type properties rise in popularity. Does Marriott know something the others don’t? It’s likely. The international travel giant realizes that consumers want more personalization on a trip. But instead of opting to sell an entirely different type of accommodation, it’s choosing to deliver guest customization in the form of targeted experiences and it’s cashing in by integrating these experiences into its local SEO plan.
Marriott is using digital strategies and platforms to take over the hotel industry, and possibly others. It’s offering searchable activities and tour listings on its individual hotel websites, and these perfectly-thought-out local SEO solutions are brilliant ways for each property in the Marriott chain to amplify its location and earn loyal hotel guests.
Showcasing the Best Local Experiences to Win Guests
Using your website to highlight unique local experiences is an excellent way to provide value for your guests beyond what the others are offering. Travelers want the full understanding of where they’re going, and you can sell yourself as the perfect provider of what they desire by focusing on how you implement your local SEO strategy.
Imagine a hotel in Paris offering customized experience listings that include the chance to bake sweets with a pastry chef at a local patisserie. Or a New York City hotel hooking up a guest with VIP tickets to hang out with the couture elite during Fashion Week.
Exquisite opportunities like this are what your customers are searching for. When they travel, they’re no longer happy with boring, boxed trips and activities. They want to dig into the area they’re visiting. There’s a yearning to live like a local and walk away from the experience with a new appreciation of the region and culture. Will you be the one to meet their needs?
A Basic Approach to Experiences and a Local SEO Plan
While Marriott has recently purchased the startup PlacePass, to provide more value to guests by offering a searchable activities and tours database on hotel websites, a hospitality chain doesn’t have to do this to excel at experiential local SEO.
Bringing unique and meaningful experiences to travelers could be as simple as creating a Visitors Guide on a website, one that includes plenty of things to do and see in the immediate area (the key is, the guide should feature different and special things to do and see).
Of course you can and would want to highlight top tourist attractions and events, such as mentioning the Austin City Limits Music Festival in a guide for an Austin hotel. But, go deeper than that to show your guests you understand their need to get a real feel for a city – and even a specific neighborhood.
Showcase some local artists if you’re a hotel in Santa Fe. Consider creating your Visitor’s Guide around pop-up art exhibits that will be happening or unique meet-and-greets that you know about because you follow your city like an expert should.
Using Experiences Databases and Partners for a Local SEO Plan
Marriott’s acquisition of PlacePass, which describes itself as “in the business of fun,” allowed the brand to leverage the expertise of another travel company and delivery value to its own customers. You too can partner with tour and activities companies who are in the business of delivering memorable experiences.
As you offer travelers the chance to search for excursions, adventures or inspiring travel opportunities from your website, you give them much more than just accommodations and you become essential to their happiness on a business or leisure trip.
How does that sound? You, as a brand, can become fundamental to how guests perceive their satisfaction with travel. You begin to create, and you reinforce, customer loyalty this way. And, you strengthen your position in the industry though your strategic partnerships.
Other Ways to Integrate Experiences Offerings in a Local SEO Plan
You can integrate experiences in your mobile app to further solidify your local SEO plan. A Visitor’s Guide and searchable database is a good start, but also think about text marketing offers that tell guests about exclusive opportunities near you. This can easily be done by keeping and reviewing guest profiles, to match travelers with special events and tours they’ve indicated they’d probably be interested in. Marriott also uses an experiences rewards program to give loyal guests preferred status for various happenings and occasions.
To find out how you can create a local SEO strategy using experiences that are meaningful and valuable to travelers, contact Galileo Tech Media.