It is important to look at your competitors in order to know two things:
- What digital marketing strategies have other hotels implemented that your property has not?
- Are you doing better than the competition on certain digital channels?
New ideas from scoping out other digital marketing strategies may complement your existing plans or give confidence in your current choices.
We will walk you through evaluating how your hotel stacks up against your rivals on various digital marketing channels. Choose three to five of your fiercest competitors in the market to keep the process focused. Lend a keen eye to your own strategies so you know where you can improve and what you need to keep doing to succeed.
Size Up Your Rivals’ Websites
Ask yourself these three questions when reviewing competitor websites:
- Is the website modern?
- Is the site mobile friendly?
- Is the website optimized for search?
Is the website modern?
Did you know that at least 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive? It is important that the site design is up to date with current trends. Visit each of your competitor’s websites and ask yourself, “Does the design look fresh and modern, or like it was made in the 90’s?”
The images should be stunning and high quality. Review the content on the website as well – potential guests will leave if they have a bad experience with outdated information including links that go to old or broken pages, out of season content like a ‘spring sale’ in November and more. For additional guidance, check out what makes a website great and what makes it stink.
Is the site mobile friendly?
When it comes to search results, Google prefers mobile-friendly websites, period. This is 100% the case as of July 1, 2019, when Google announced mobile-friendly websites will be prioritized in search results. Appearing on Google Search results has a direct tie with revenue, so make sure your site is easy to use for potential guests looking at your hotel website on their phone.
You can test the mobile-friendliness of your site and those of your competitors with Google’s Test My Site. tool. All of Blue Magnet’s websites are built to be extremely mobile-friendly. They are fast, slick and easy to use. See below for an example of how Google loves Blue Magnet Interactive websites designed for mobile-friendliness and contact us to build you a supreme site that loads as fast as lightning.
Is the website optimized for search?
Audit On-Page SEO Factors
First, look at your competitor’s on-page SEO factors. The “Page Title” or “Title” of your hotel’s home page is one of the most important elements as it contains the primary keyword for the page.This is the main headline potential guests see in Google Search results. The meta description is the text in search results that describes the page you are going to and gives users reasons to click over to it. See examples of a page title and meta description below.
Once you get to a page, a “header” backed up by relevant content is yet another signal that helps your page rank in Google search results.
Run a simple on-page SEO audit for yourself and your competitors:
- Is there a page title?
- Is the title relevant and up-to-date?
- Is there a meta description?
- Is the meta description enticing with a call-to-action?
- Are there descriptive headers on pages?
Pro Tip: Install tools like the MozBar browser extension or SEO Quake to easily see these elements.
It is fine if a website looks fancy with amazing videos and grandiose images, but how fast does it load? All of those design features will not matter if the page is slow. Google says 53% of mobile site visits leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. This is revenue you can’t afford to lose. Investigate the page speed of your site and your competitors with easy to use and free tools such as Google’s Page Speed Insights, GT Metrix, or Pingdom.
Pro Tip: These tools will provide you with different actions you can take to improve page speed.
Is there a keyword strategy on the landing pages?
Finally, dig deeper into your rivals’ SEO strategies by scoping out their website landing pages. Here is a handy checklist of what to look for:
- Are there niche landing pages to bring in a wider net of searches?
- Do the landing pages each have a keyword focus (check the page title) with content supporting that keyword strategy?
- Look into the promotions other hotels are offering to see if they are offering something you do not.
Here is an example of how having a niche landing page with a keyword focus can help expand your reach in search results: For a local hotel, we created a niche landing page talking about the hotel’s athletic and fitness offerings, targeting “Chicago Fitness Resort” keywords. We are now the first organic search result for “Chicago Fitness Resort.”’
Social Media Competitor Audit
A strong social media presence is important for the five stages of travel , (dreaming, planning, booking, the experience, and sharing moments). Research released this year says more than half of 18-65 year-olds booked their holidays based on Instagram posts.
Here is a checklist to easily size up the social media strategies of other hotels:
- What social badges are listed on their website? (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.)
- Are they active on those social channels (i.e.posting a few times a week)?
- How many followers do they have?
- Are those followers engaged, liking, and commenting on posts?
- After visiting the competitor website, are you now served with ads on Facebook or Instagram? This means there is a dedicated Facebook remarketing campaign.
Pro Tip: Follow your competitors! This is a great way to keep tabs on them. Get more guidance on following your competition on social media.
Who is winning at reputation management?
Fact: Guests decide whether or not to stay at your hotel due to the reviews they see online. Considering four out of five potential patrons are reading what their peers are saying about your property, we have provided some best practices for responding to online hotel reviews.
Below are some basics you can look at to see how hotels stack up in the review game:
- What is the TripAdvisor ranking?
- What is the Google star rating?
- Are they responding to reviews on TripAdvisor and Google?
- Are they encouraging reviews with social badges like TripAdvisor on their site?
You can easily check these items by searching the hotel’s name on TripAdvisor and looking at rankings and review information from there. For Google reviews, simply search the brand name of your rival hotel on Google and review information will pop up on the right panel on search results.
Put Your Detective Work To Action
Looking at the competition is important and a great way to stay in the know on marketing trends. As you review your initiatives and those of your competitors, keep tabs on where you can improve and put those items into action. You might find out you could really bolster your social media presence because rival hotels have a lot more engagement. On the other hand, maybe your hotel team is awesome at responding to reviews compared to competitors, assuring your team that you are using those resources wisely.
Scoping out competitors is a fun, easy, and necessary in order to enhance your own marketing strategy.
If you would like Blue Magnet Interactive to complete a competitor audit for you, reach out to us for help!