Why Does Your Hotel, B&B, or Guest House Need a Blog? [With Statistics]
Updated: Aug 16, 2020
Here at Crisp Text, we know that hospitality businesses are not easy to manage—anyone that thinks so is either not in the business or not doing it right. The various considerations (Is this the right location? Is this the right target market? Are the rooms and other services priced correctly? Is this the right team?), can truly be overwhelming.
As a small independent hospitality business, you likely often face the additional challenge of selecting the proper channels of distribution to maintaining control over your room inventories and customers.
Your own website should ideally be the largest channel of distribution, but online travel agents (OTAs) are taking an increasingly larger share. Prospective guests searching for accommodations are increasingly finding OTAs like Expedia, Booking.com, Priceline, and even lodging disruptors like Airbnb.
How can you ensure that prospective guests will find your website directly?
And how do you engage them so that, when they find your property, they make a reservation?
A blog can help.
This post explains how starting a blog can increase the traffic to your website and increase the number of reservations booked directly from you. It provides some ideas about what to think about when starting your blog and some potential topics that you can discuss on it.
How a Blog Can Help You Get Found by Prospective Guests?
Blogs are one of the most effective ways of driving search engine traffic to your website. Yes: blogging, the thing you probably associate with tech start-ups, foodies, fashion and lifestyle. Blogs contribute to your marketing strategy in a number of ways.
Blogs keep your website’s content fresh.
Websites that are updated more frequently do better in Google’s search results. But it doesn’t make sense to be continually changing the description of your property. Blogs give you an opportunity to continually post fresh content that increases your ranking on search engines.
The more frequently you post, the more traffic you get: research shows that websites that have 16 or more blog posts a month receive 3.5 times more traffic. But you don’t need to start by posting every couple days—posting every two weeks or even every month will still help you rank well on Google.
Blogs support your social media strategy.
Are you wondering why you would need a blog when your Facebook game is already off the hook? Blogs complement a good social media marketing strategy. They are useful for several reasons:
Blogs drive social media traffic to your website.
An engaging blog that highlights your property will gain you followers on social media.
Blogs provide you high-quality content for your social media posts.
Attractive, well-written blogs are shared widely and increase word-of-mouth exposure.
Blogs also last longer. While a social media post lasts a day or two (or a couple of hours on twitter), blogs can last for years. Indeed, some blogs continue to have increasing search traffic over time.
Basically, blogs are useful even if you have a thriving social media marketing. They are actually a way to benefit from a large social media following: an interesting blog will work with your social media strategy to increase visits to your website.
Blogs increase conversions.
What sets independent hospitality businesses apart from the large chains is the personal element. Building a relationship with potential customers to enhance their experience is an effective way to encourage them to choose your business over another.
Blogs give you an opportunity to highlight what makes you special—your location, your property’s characteristics, your excellent service, and so on. Providing more information about your property and the destination will increase the number of website visitors that actually make a reservation.
How Much can Blogs Increase Your Traffic and Conversions?
Still not convinced?
Well, take a look at these statistics. They'll give you a sense of just how effective they are at increasing website traffic, nurturing customer relationships, and increasing conversions.
Blogs increase traffic.
Companies that blog get 55% more website visitors than those that don’t.
Website traffic increases by as much as 30% after a business publishes 21-54 blog posts.
Blogs increase leads.
Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog.
Content marketing can get up to three times more leads than paid search advertising.
Businesses that blog 1 or 2 times a month receive 67% more leads than businesses that don’t.
Blogs increase conversions.
Over 60% of online consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.
Nearly 80% of companies that blog acquire customers through their blogging efforts.
Blogs have a high return on investment.
Marketers that prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to see positive returns on investment.
Inbound marketing, which includes blogs, costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing.
Blogging is not only a strategy used by independent, smaller properties. In fact, many large and well-known chains are also using this marketing tool to connect with their guests. They invest in blogs because they know that it works—it increases reservations.
Considerations for Starting a Blog
Ready to start?
Here are some things to consider when creating a blog for your property’s website:
How regularly are you committed to uploading a new post?
How can you make the blog consistent with your brand image and voice?
What topics can you write about that are relevant and engaging to your target audience?
How can you integrate your blog with your social media and newsletters?
Do you need an editorial calendar?
Blog Post Ideas
Blogs are a great way to highlight your unique selling point (USP). They give you an opportunity to connect with your guests about what makes you special. Here are some ideas:
Do you pride yourself on your green identity? Consider highlighting how your business is ecofriendly and how can your guests contribute to lowering your environmental footprint. You can even provide a list of green initiatives or businesses that are local to your destination.
Is your property a beautiful heritage building? Tell your guests about the fascinating history behind it. Even better: use your posts to tell a number of stories of the building or area. You can detail the history of the families that lived there or other events that occurred in the time period your building was built.
Do you host backpackers attracted to Canada’s beautiful outdoors? Use your blog to tell them about favorite local trails or hidden gems that your staff members have discovered. Or, include a list of local outdoor equipment shops where they can buy fuel for their camp stoves.
Final Thoughts for a Successful Blog
Blogging is most successful when it is consistent. Ideally, your website’s blog should be updated in a well-timed, cyclical manner. While you don’t necessarily need to have three blogs a week, you should make sure that you post consistently in whatever timeline suits your business. Your blog's content should never be older than 6 months.
To post consistently, you could consider how to create ways of tracking and timing your posts and making sure you cover big topics such as common holidays, interests, and industry-wide discussions. An editorial calendar is one way to make sure you do this successfully.
Allow for a comment section. Comments sections allow you to foster conversation and help you to get to know your consumers. By building relationships with customers, you increase your chances of exposure.
Be innovative. The blog tab on your website can be your imaginative whiteboard space. Use it to highlight how you’re original and different from your competitors. Be as creative as you find suitable for your own brand.