What SEO can do for your hotel bookings
These is a case study on quite basic SEO for hotels project, not advanced strategies required to double revenue, even better, more than double!.
Client was Husa, a Spanish hotel chain with more than 140 hotels and this work was for El Palace, emblematic luxury hotel in Barcelona.
The objective, of course, was to increase bookings and revenue so the initial project goals were:
- Update web design and improve usability
- 100% SEO friendly site with a 100% SEO ready CMS
- Fine handling multi language support to increase international clients
- Increase non branded traffic as branded was big part of the organic cake
- Increase quality converting traffic
Traffic and revenue results
New website was launched August 20th, four weeks latter these are the results.
Visits: 28.65% increase
Absolute Unique Visitors: 28.67% increase
Average Pageviews: from 2.17 to 4.23, 95.24% increase
Time on Site: from 02:08 to 03:20 56.07% increase
Bounce Rate: from 54.83% to 31.02%, 43.43% decrease
Traffic by type
Direct +8.77% visits
Referral +41.52% visits (pure referral traffic)
All organic +31.44%
Organic branded +21.75% visits
Organic non branded +488.55% visits
Average daily income from bookings: 124.51% increase
Design was an important point in the agenda and was not an easy task due to trend in luxury hotels being heavy Flash addicts but a JQuey slideshow was accepted so a pure Html site was achieved sacrificing, in exchange, some details I would consider crucial like booking form on top left of the pages for example.
New design reflects much better the luxury hotel it is, what makes it closer to the type of public they target as clients.
A better usability makes the bookings more easy to achieve and the site to navigate what helped clearly to increase engagement and number of bookings.
A 100% SEO friendly site with well structured readable URLs, for example, and improved content organization helped search engines to understand better the site and, as consequence, more traffic from them.
Proper redirections from old URLs were set to avoid traffic drop and xml sitemap was added to Webmastertools to accelerate transition and new content indexing.
The right language handling under directories by language, made the site rank better in other search engines outside Spain getting more international traffic. Geographic targets were set in Webmastertools by directory.
Increase by language
Increase by country
United States 11.26%
United Kingdom 28.75%
Some content was added, not a lot compared with the original site but a basic optimization has been made in all the pages. Special attention to rooms and hotel services description pages what usually are the most visited pages in any hotel site.
The new CMS, I have been developing along last 10 years, made the content management an easy task with emphasis in all SEO on page aspects, friendly URL formating, meta-description and title simulating how they are presented in SERPs while they type, a terrific idea from SEOmofo by the way (content editors love this feature and makes the importance of these texts absolutely obvious), automatic H's hierarchy managing and some others.
This graph shows the big jump overnight in organic non branded traffic achieved once Google indexed the new site and re-asigned relevancy.
In sum, project goals achieved successfully
These are the basics of a SEO project and the good news is there is big room to keep on growing with a wider and deeper SEO strategy now a solid foundation has been laid.
No project is 'defect free', some few details could have been tuned to perfection but client, now the benefits are obvious, sure is more receptive to keep on investing on more SEO, Web Analytics, Web Site Optimization or any other search marketing discipline.
No need to tell the details but the money invested in this project has been returned easy as pie, great ROI, happy me and super-happy client.
Before moving to Vancouver, one similar project I did for a different luxury hotel chain, Hospes.com, achieved 37% increase in bookings and 48% increase in number of night booked one year after the new site was launched compared with the previous one. Taking in consideration that this particular year had a general decrease in hotel bookings due to the economical crisis by 12%, it represented a very good turn over.
Any other hotel online marketing director or revenue manager wanting to share good or bad experiences with us?