Should You Have a Blog on Your Hotel Website?
This is a big question.
It is true that creating blogs means additional time at the computer, but the benefits are many and the impact it can have on your online presence is enormous.
Let's take a look first at the reasons why you should go for it.
Build trust by answering the most burning questions of your future guests.
One of the most influential reasons for having a blog is that, right now, more than ever, the hospitality industry is in the business of answering questions.
We know we need to be credible, authoritative, authentic, and we know we need to build trust. It is hard to do that on social media alone. Social posts tend to be transient and cannot easily be shared in the future when someone asks a similar question to one that you have already answered.
The very nature of the unique link that each published blog posts owns means you (and other people!) can share and reshare it again and again.
So, when you see someone asking a question anywhere online that you have answered in a blog post, you can hop on the thread, give some value (always give some value first) and then share the specific link, or direct them to your general blog so they can read more.
Never just post a link to your blog without giving any value first. Ever. It doesn’t look authentic. One of the most important things to always, always have in mind when you are creating content, is to readily share your knowledge, information and answers from a place of service. Not from a place of selling.
If there is only one thing you take away from this blog, let this be it.
Google LOVES it when you add frequent blog posts to your site.
When you refresh your website with new content, hopefully every week, Google is all over it!
How many times do you head over to your site to update the description of a room just to stay fresh on Google? Never right.
You update your room info only when you really have to. It’s one of those tedious jobs that you are normally willing to put off for weeks, right?
If you update the details on your site, you also have to go into every OTA profile, aaaand Trip Advisor, and you will probably even have to update some printed information too. Oh no! Rather stay away from that task.
So, given that we agree that Google won’t get its periodic dose of freshness from permanent content, posting new blogs is a great way to get around this. In fact, it is way better.
If you choose your topic wisely and drop just enough short and long-tailed keywords into the copy, you begin to build up positive SEO presence online.
There are no quick fixes or magic wands that will shoot your blog posts to the first page on Google, but conscious topic choices and clever use of keywords will get you on the right track. That, and consistency. There really is no point posting one blog every quarter on your site. It is better than nothing of course, but if you really want to future-proof your business, consistent blogging is one way to do it.
Stay on top of travel trends and blog about them.
You can stand out from the crowd by staying on top of what travellers are looking for by posting a blog that relates your offer to these top trends.
Wellness for example is a growing trend that travellers are looking to extend into their holidays. After so many months of closed gyms and limitations on outdoor activities, people learnt how to work out from home. They got into a routine that they don’t necessarily want to break away from when they travel. They also want rest and relaxation on their first trip after such a challenging year.
If you put together some content that talks about how your in-room TVs allow for Chromecast connection for example - so that people can stream their favourite workouts direct on the TV - that can gain you’re a competitive advantage. Maybe you can even offer the use of kilo handbells (disinfected of course). Plus add in some walking routes that start and finish at your door and you are on to a winner.
Keeping in touch with recent trends accelerates the know, like and trust factor for your business. The more a reader trusts you, the more likely they are going to become a loyal guest in the future.
Creating consistent and captivating blog content is capable of powering every other marketing channel that you own.
An example of this is by using your published blogs to spice up what could otherwise be a really dull and normal sales email. You might be sending a quote to a family with small kids, and you can add the URL link in the mail to a blog you have about kid-friendly activities in the area. Or better still, something even more personal – a blog about your own secret on-site treasure hunt!
And when we begin to send out emails again for corporate events, you can brighten up the quote in the mail with a “oh by the way, check out our blog about 7 exciting new tech tools for meeting planners” for example.
Essentially your blog serves to create a bridge between your external social media posts and followers, and your internally owned website.
Blogs fire up and sustain your organic search traffic. For this reason alone, it is worth it.
Blogs also give you content to share via email with the people you have on your database. Traditionally that was done manually, but today you can choose an email software provider (ESP) to manage your lists and use as a platform to send your content out from. You can personalise the email and link to your blog. That can then be forwarded to other people by those who love and absorb your content.
I just want to take a step backwards for a moment. When I mentioned the blog above about tech tools or treasure hunts, you might be thinking “How can I possibly come up with all this content, I already have so much to do?!”.
Yes, managing a blog takes time, and you have to wrap your head around the pros of creating one before you panic about the actual content. So, get straight with yourself about committing to fuelling your online presence first, before worrying about the details.
I am putting the final touches to a content planning, creation and scheduling programme that will come out really soon. In it you will learn exactly how to move from overwhelm to confident content creation by following my simple step-by-step process. It will also dive deep into the exciting (and profitable!) world of email marketing. If you want to be kept in the loop, hop onto my email list here, and meanwhile, post your biggest question about content creation in the comments section right at the bottom of this page.
Before closing, I must add that there is one really good reason why you shouldn’t add a blog to your site:
If you are not active on social or any other marketing channels.
There really is no point in creating and publishing blogs if you don’t have anywhere to share them. You have to get it out there to be seen, and if you have nowhere to share it then make that your priority right now. Post to social at least twice a week on one platform as a minimum first.
Any just in case you still have some reservations about starting a blog, here are three reasons you might think are great reasons NOT to add a blog to your site.
Let’s blow them out of the park.
I can't afford to set up a blog.
Money is not a good reason to not add a blog to your site. Your time is the only investment, and I assume you want to generate more direct bookings, improve your online presence, and build a more resilient business for the future, right?
I am terrible at writing!
Not being very good at writing is a fair concern, but that skill can be learnt. Blog posts have a structured anatomy you can follow, they don’t have to be super long, and there are grammar checks available for free online. Scrappy is better than perfect. Getting in the game is essential. No one wants to get left behind, right?
You can also invite contributions or ask if any of your staff members are interested in writing for you. You might be surprised who shows a talent for it!
I have NO clue where to start adding a blog to my site.
If you are not too tech-minded this is an understandable concern, but it is not something insurmountable. Of course I can't possibly explain in detail how to add a blog to your site because we all have different set ups, but I can include some awesome resources to give you a helping hand.
If your site is a Wordpress site, here is a useful video that walks you through how to add a blog.
If you have a Wix site, here is the link to detailed instructions here.
If you work with channel manager or a PMS provider who also host your site, get in touch directly with them to ask how you can add a blog.
If all else fails, create a new page on your site that is hidden from the menu and off you go; or follow these instructions to add a Wordpress blog to a site not hosted on a Wordpress site.
(I am not affiliated in any way with the creators of these links. I simply chose the ones that have good reviews on Google).
Whatever you do, make sure that your blog is mobile-friendly.
Personally, I think a blog is the perfect complement to the industry standard essentials of optimised website design, an integrated booking engine and a way to capture leads through a simple, (yet laser targeted) email marketing strategy.
If you are on the fence, (or are more into audio-visuals!), take a look at my 4-minute video that summarises the pros and cons of having a hotel blog.
Hope this has been useful!
Still have questions or want to share your thoughts?
Scroll right down and post a comment below or send me a mail at email@example.com.
If you found inspiration here you will find more over in my Building Tourism Resilience community on Facebook. And don't forget, if you would like to receive more helpful, relatable and actionable content relevant to your business, click here to sign up to my email list. No spam, no bombarding you. Just really useful stuff. I look forward to having you onboard :)