I am a firm believer in the power of the blog. With enough of the right content, I can move mountains — if the mountains were relevant site traffic and moving them meant increasing the traffic to the site.
Not every hotel should have a blog. There are some hotels in markets with a small or non-existent level of awareness search volume (or in the terms of the 5 Stages of Travel – few people are dreaming to visit the location). These hotels can most likely compete with a standard website.
Other hotels are in locations filled with potential to engage guests in the DREAM stage of travel, and these hotels can benefit from having a blog.
What Blogging for a Hotel Should Look Like
A hotel’s blog mission statement:
Drive more direct reservations by connecting with the web visitor as they are in the DREAM phase of their travel. The connection should be expanded so the web visitor follows the hotel’s social media accounts and signs up for emails. This way, when the potential guests moves from the DREAM stage to the PLAN stage, the property has a head start and can assist in the planning by providing timely information about what is happening in the community. Finally, the potential guest can be influenced as she enters the BOOK stage through promotions and sales.
Hoteliers and marketers should be aware, there is no ideal blog. Each blog needs to address the type of guest the hotel wants and provide value to that type of guest. As with the general content on the hotel’s website, the blog needs to carry the voice and style of the hotel. A laid back resort promising an easy going vacation should blog in an easy-going, friendly style. Meanwhile, a hotel with mainly business travelers should have a blog addressing the needs and concerns of the business traveler in the style and tone they would prefer.
How Often Should A Hotel Blog?
Blogging less than once a month reduces the effectiveness of the blog. If for some reason your hotel’s blog will not be updated on a monthly basis, work with your web developer to remove dates from the blog posts. Stale information is disconcerting for people planning vacations.
Additionally, very few hotels have a need to blog more than once a week. A dynamic resort with a lot of activities and events could reasonably blog once a week, confident each blog post will be an informative update on what is happening on property and in the community. Most every other hotel can get away with blogging once a month.
What Should the Hotel Write About In Its Blog?
The following is just a sample set of potential topics for a hotel blog:
- Community events – including street festivals, city wide events, seasonal stuff
- Community interviews – interview local tour guides, notable persons in the community for their insights on what makes this a great place to visitor
- Hotel Special Offers – promotion of special packages/deals (These should be published rarely on their own, but can be included as part of another post.)
- Hotel News – publish any special news relating to the hotel, or interview a member of the hotel staff
Keep in mind, hotel blog posts should be highly visual and include as many bright, beautiful pictures of the property as related to the topic of the post as possible.
What Makes a Hotel Blog Effective?
An effective blog, just like effective social media, has a content calendar and the main monthly blog topics are known at least 60 days in advance – giving blog writers plenty of time to research and craft the perfect piece of content. Special promotion blog posts can fit between the standard monthly posts and do not require as much lead time. These posts are used to alert potential guests of special events, current promotions, or unique opportunities.
Keep in mind the ultimate purpose of the blog – to engage potential guests and get them to book a stay. Each blog post should have a call to action to either ‘check out a hotel special’, ‘sign up for emails’, or ‘follow on Facebook’.
How Long Should the Blog Post Be?
There is no ideal length for a blog post, but there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind. Any blog post with less than 350 words will be seen as fluff and will be bypassed. Posts shorter than this might work better on social media platforms. At 600 words, you are essentially asking the reader to spend 2 to 3 minutes of their time to read the post. This is a low commitment of time and improves the chances the post will actually be read.
If there is a strong desire to write longer pieces for the blog, make sure it has a compelling narrative to keep a reader’s attention. A 2,500 word blog post will take the reader 10 minutes to read; that is longer than most people are willing to spend on a hotel website blog unless they are truly being entertained.
Are you ready to engage your potential guests with a blog? Are you looking for assistance in setting the blog up, brainstorming topics, creating a content calendar, or even determining if it is the right move? We would love to answer your questions and provide a consultation. Contact us and let’s start a conversation.