Semantically Dynamic Hotels

Apr 27, 2012

[This post by Thematix Partner Larry Smith originally appeared in Tnooz on February 28, 2012]

Hotel Alzer, cafe, and Hotel Optimist

Hotel Alzer, cafe, and Hotel Optimist (Photo credit: schmuela)

A hotel is dynamic — a veritable revolving door of people and activities. Yet most hotel web sites are dynamic only in the booking process. It’s a rare hotel that understands that you are checking in for a reason, and that that reason is probably something happening in the hotel or nearby, like a conference, meeting, sightseeing attraction, wedding or a family reunion.

Using your hotel website to share information about local news, conferences, tradeshows, concerts, theater, attractions and the like will not only yield greater guest satisfaction and convenience; it can yield very substantial marketing and social presence.  If your hotel relies at tall on search engine traffic for top-line revenue, we offer the following easy and low cost way to get more for less.

Over the past several months, Thematix — in association with Hyperdisk Marketing — has undertaken a variety of pilot programs to determine the value of semantically marking up certain types of web pages using tags.  This markup consists of invisible code – in the webpage itself – that tells search engines about people, organizations, offers, locations, events and a myriad other things.  The search engines use the markup to help determine the relevance of your content to the users’ search queries.

We worked with two hotels located in mid-size markets on the east and west coasts, both of which were local properties belonging to a Top 5 national brand, each of which had its own “vanity” site providing basic hotel information and a booking engine.

In one case, we used markup to expose only the existing website content to search engines.  So, things like on-premises restaurants, location information, guest capacity and amenities were described in meta-data that search engines can understand.

In the other case, we created a new webpage, sharing the main site’s look and feel, which contained time-based events, including concerts, theatre performances, and season special activities within a 10 mile radius of the hotel. This idea was to become a trusted source of unique “news and activity” information on the events in the community and to intercept search engine users when searching for information related to the purpose of their journey.

In both cases there was an immediate value to the mark-up with both sites being re-indexed almost immediately. The mark-up informed Google, Bing, and Yahoo that the hotels were more than hotels – they were activity venues with substantially more value and relevance to people.

More importantly, the addition of unique content and descriptive language to the second site broadened the footprint to “long tail” searches that are relevant but not a typical subset of the sales and booking messages; further discussion and examples of these benefits are discussed in this Tnooz article by Rob Kost from Thematix.  Dozens of new keywords are indexed and linked to the hotel at a rate substantially ahead of nearby competition.

The SEO benefits are obvious in the redacted Google Analytics reports below.  The number of Google SERP impressions doubled, and the site advanced considerably in results position – within a day or two of the new page going live.

In one hotel case, using best practice valuation, we gained over $7,000 of Monthly SEO Traffic value.  Further, among the top 10 keywords, we achieve a 1-5 ranking for all but one word at Google, Bing and Yahoo; that one word came in 8th at Google, and was typical since it is a common misspelling that is best practice to include.

Christopher Regan, a SEO expert and advisor to Hyperdisk and Thematix observed: “As pilot programs, the results are measurably positive and with immediate and lasting benefits to search engine optimization.  Upon further testing and refinement we believe there will be consistent and projectable ROI and with persistent competitive advantage.”

2 Comments. Leave new

Would it be possible to see the code implementation of how you semantically mark-up a hotel website with schema?

I’m a bit confused how schema info should be implemented. Is it more akin to meta data, or have a specific purpose on each page.

For instance would I mark up my schema location for my companies hotel business on just the contact page, or on every page? Would ratings be beneficial on every page or maybe the reservations page?

Where can I get a reference of what best practices are?



He Cyril,

Here are a few URLs that contain markup:

Schema markup is ‘meta-tags’ insofar as it declares the meaning of existing page content to the search engines. I would mark up your location on every page on which location information is given (if it is in a page footer and occurs on every page, markup the page footer code). Same is true of ratings — if the ratings in fact occur on the reservations page, that is where you would mark it up; if elsewhere, then elsewhere.

Google / Bing frown on “hidden” metadata — for the most part, you should be using existing page content, so the short answer to your questions is that you markup whatever occurs on the visible page, to the degree it is relevant, advantageous and easily accomplished within the bounds of your CMS.

I hope this helps.



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