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Property listing sites can reduce your business chances if not properly streamlined and fed with consistent and updated information

The success of vaccination programs in some countries has seen hotels starting to welcome back visitors after one of the most challenging years in the industry’s history.

As demand begins to return, visibility will be the number one decisive factor in securing market share. Yet, most hotels – from those affiliated with major brands to small boutiques – are failing at the first step. By sharing inconsistent information about their property across their distribution channels, directories, and other hotel listings sites, they are seriously damaging their chances of attracting guests.

The simple, but time-consuming task of updating and cross-checking information across internet platforms is costing hotels traffic and therefore bookings. Google makes it clear: having complete and consistent information, known as content parity, on all booking and listing platforms can make the difference of whether your hotel is found by guests or not.

With hospitality businesses already operating on a skeleton staff, who really has the time to check and update every possible online platform, especially when multiple properties are involved?

To get around this, hotels are turning to subscription-based generic location marketing platforms that bulk-update the so-called local citations on online directories and bookings sites.

But these often lack the tailored fields that hotels need to effectively promote their offering, and, with a few exceptions, it is the marketing platforms that own the listing entries, rather than the hotelier. This means that, if you stop paying them, you automatically lose all your listings

Here’s why content parity is a big deal for your business;

Google My Business optimisation

Google dominates the search and metasearch arena. When we go online, approximately 80% of us search on Google. Google directly contributes, on average, in the form of organic and paid marketing referrals, to over 50% of direct online room nights for most hoteliers. Travelers are more likely to trust the information they find on a Google search than any other information sources

Google is also the only price comparison website to provide free traffic to hotels – no other metasearch engine does this. But to capitalize on it, hoteliers must optimize every mention of their property across every online channel and directory. Ensuring information is complete and consistently displayed is critical to improving search results.

Every time a hotel appears on a metasearch site, online travel agency, or other directories, the information displayed should be the same and as complete as possible.

The first stop for this is Google My Business, where hotels should ensure every field available is complete; ranging from basic information such as name, address, and location, to all amenities, Covid safety provisions, categories, and images.

A hotel’s ranking and hence visibility online is influenced by a variety of factors, but what is up to hotels to influence is how consistent the information Google has about them is from across the web, such as from links, articles, and directories – so it is vital to keep all this information up to date and to continually be adding to it.

NAP consistency

Name, Address and Physical Place (NAP) is what it all comes down to. A hotel will rank higher in a search when it can be identified as a physical location, and with a consistent name and address. Any time information is inaccurate, the hotel is effectively marked down.

Inaccurate directory listings can confuse or misdirect customers and negatively affect any business’s reputation, whereas each missing piece of information potentially represents another missed revenue opportunity.

Accurate and optimized local citations are SEO-friendly and proven to rank very high in search engine results pages (SERP), as well as in maps, and are also picked up by other platforms; they drive web traffic, increase awareness and enquiries, and facilitate conversion.

Correct geolocation

Map listings are just as important as the main search results. Hotels must ensure they are visible in both and have a blend of rich, accurate content. It is surprising to see how often hoteliers have the wrong geolocation listed.

With recovery starting with the local and drive-to markets, making sure guests know exactly where your property is located is a basic requirement.

Pre-booking, it can make the difference whether you are in the right place for their needs, whereas post-booking, nothing is more frustrating than typing in the location into Google Maps or another map service – only to find out it leads you to the wrong place.

Same as with the NAP fields, having an accurate and consistent geolocation increases the hotel’s chances of organically appearing higher up in search results.

Breadth of amenities

Search on sites such as Google is becoming increasingly more sophisticated. The days of typing in a couple of words and sifting through the results are gone. Travelers can now type in whole phrases to refine their searches and Google will link the relevant hotels’ locations with the amenities request.

Room hierarchy

Is your hotel consistent when it comes to the room types being advertised across all channels? It seems obvious – hoteliers should offer the same room types, with the same room names and descriptions, wherever the hotel is mentioned across the web. In reality, it’s surprisingly often not the case.

The naming of room types is often different across channels (e.g. what is a double room on a brand .com site may be labeled as an executive bedroom elsewhere). Keeping room types and descriptions consistent avoids confusing the public and keeps things equal between the hotel website and other channels.

Rich content

It’s not just the text that hotels need to check for equivalence, it is the property’s images too. Google will be checking external listings to ensure that the photos used to promote the hotel are consistent, as well as in the correct size and format.

If updating the text on multiple different directories wasn’t a task tedious enough, having to upload images could add hours to the task.

Corporate transient and MICE segments

While cost-conscious leisure guests are likely to book directly on the hotel’s website or make reservations through an OTA, corporate transient travelers (who typically pay higher room rates and are within the higher income demographics) and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences & exhibitions) organizers are considerably more likely to rely on a local directory or Google or Facebook for guidance on which hotels to consider.

So, for properties where these channels generate a significant proportion of their revenue, making sure their listings are up to date has never been more critical.

A smart content parity solution for hoteliers

With the recovery of the global hospitality industry imminent, it’s essential that hoteliers have all the tools and support they can get to assist them in capturing the maximum share of any traveler demand.

Ensuring content parity across metasearch and online directory listings is an essential ingredient for boosting visibility, traffic, and direct bookings.

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