In our webinar last month, we discussed how to craft compelling website content to motivate hotel shoppers. We talked about the fact that people don’t just visit your hotel website by chance. Something led them there – a need, a desire, a curiosity. The role of your content is to help answer travel shoppers’ questions, build trust and likeability, and validate their purchase decision.
The content on your website is your opportunity to greet visitors warmly and make them feel welcome, long before they ever step foot on your property. Good content is helpful to travel shoppers, helps generate positive feelings about your property, and is memorable as they move through the shopping journey.
For this reason, we’re seeing a number of hotels focused on selling the local destination or “local experience” on their website. This might be in the form of an “Explore” page or “Things to Do” page (though there are many other names for it). Having a webpage like this is a great way to help travel shoppers plan their trip – and think favorably about your hotel as they do so.
This type of content taps into a growing trend in travel, particularly among Millennials, who are looking for authentic experiences that allow them to “live like the locals” while they travel. Guests may still want to know about the planned excursions available, but they also want to know how to get “off the beaten track” and check out some hidden gems that won’t be in a guide book. Whether it’s your go-to place for tacos, or a small art gallery featuring local artists, travelers are craving local experiences and want to learn about them on you website.
The Port Inn Kennebunk in Maine is a great example of a hotel providing such local knowledge on their website. They’ve taken the initiative to provide some suggested itineraries under their Explore page. From “History Buffs,” to “Dog Lovers” and “Families”, their itineraries help guests plan their ideal trip, while sprinkling in some local knowledge and tips along the way.
For example, their itinerary for Dog Lovers lists some of the local beaches where dogs are welcome, provides details on whether your dog must be leashed or unleashed, and suggests some local eateries that are dog-friendly. The information is highly targeted and extremely helpful to dog owners. It builds trust and likeability with travel shoppers, and helps validate that this property can meet their pet-friendly needs.
The Port Inn Kennebunk is run by Port Hospitality Group, a Management Company that also manages The Port Inn Portsmouth in New Hampshire. This hotel does an equally great job of providing food guides and suggested itineraries on their website.
Their Food Guide includes categories like “Staff Favorites” and “Special Occasions” that really hone in on what guests are looking for. Similarly, their Explore Portsmouth page lists a variety of activities someone can do in the local area based on interest or demographic. Are you a shopaholic? Golfer? Beer Connoisseur? Then The Port Inn Portsmouth knows just the places for you!
Other Ideas to Demonstrate Your Local Expertise
There are many ways you can provide value to travel shoppers on your website and be that “go-to” guide for your guests. You and your staff know better than anyone else what visitors should see and do in your city. Your staff are an untapped resource for finding this information and making some unique suggestions for your website.
Take it a step further by partnering with some local guides and tour companies. Find that cool Food Tour for guests to sample the local cuisine, or a local history buff who knows all the crazy facts about your area. Everyone wants to find a hidden gem and feel like they are having an authentic experience.
Use your website content to capture the attention of travel shoppers and inspire them. Travel shoppers think favorably of hotels that care about their best interests and want them to have a great trip. And they just might reward you with a direct booking for doing so.
About the Author: Monica Berlin is a Success Coach at Leonardo who loves to travel, write and make people laugh. A true people person and Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer, Monica is an expert in all things social media along with being Google Analytics Certified. Her experience in hospitality includes guiding tours in Rome and serving cruise guests on the high seas. When she’s not helping hotels stand out online in a unique and engaging way, you can find Monica learning Italian, blogging, and Instagramming far too many photos of her dogs Blizzard and Felix.