Answering questions for guests and search engines
By Keith Brophy, Senior Director of Hospitality Customer Success at Milestone Inc. LinkedIn
The way modern travelers search online is becoming increasingly conversational. More people use mobile phones and screenless devices today to ask questions and get answers than ever before. In fact, more than 50% of content is consumed on small screens or voice assistants today and this number is growing every day.
Employing FAQs and How-Tos on your websites and local channels can have a significant impact on search performance and user engagement. They develop content around ideas and topics to make your pages richer and more intent-based.
- When you markup your website FAQs with schemas they can help you saturate search engine results pages – and serve as your online travel concierge across multiple channels.
- Answering questions asked by your audience on local channels like Google My Business before a local assistant answers them can help you own the messaging.
- By pushing your FAQs to voice assistants, you can reach a growing new audience base that is searching on screenless devices.
For hospitality businesses, answering questions about your hotels, restaurants, or spas through FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), aligns your content with conversational search – the future of organic SEO. They turn your site and entire digital footprint into a powerful source of information and let you control the messaging everywhere your customers are.
All Signs Point to Conversational Search
Today’s travelers want answers, whether in the form of a question or long-tail query. And more and more people are using their mobile devices and voice assistants to ask their questions hands-free. Here are a few stats that reveal the popularity of conversational search:
- 23%+ of Google search results use a question and answer format an – results like featured snippets, People Also Ask, FAQ listings, and Q&A on GMB listings and in Knowledge Panel
- Roughly 70% of searches are long-tail queries
- 80% of search queries are informational
- More than 30% of all searches will be done using a screenless device (Google)
- 122.7 million Americans will be using voice search in 2021 (Google)
- Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23% (Forbes)
The data shows the trend of question search, and how key it is to have answers across search results pages. Check out the FAQ Webinar for more insights.
Answering questions with FAQs and How-To questions can help improve your SERP visibility and position by getting included in featured snippets, People Also Ask enhanced FAQ listings and GMB. And by not answering questions, you take your hospitality business out of contention from one-fourth of page 1 listings.
Having related FAQs on web pages builds up your topical, conversational content to match the entire search intent. It is an efficient way of turning pages into hubs of credible, authoritative information that gives travelers the answers they need to make informed decisions and clicks. FAQs become your online concierge for guests and control answers about your hotel business everywhere to build expertise and trust. They also become the content for voice assistants.
How to Create FAQs as Your Travel Concierge
The direct way for your hospitality business to find out what your guests want to know is to start with questions being asked on your business’s Knowledge Panel and local listings. You can also leverage search tools such as Google Trends, People Also Ask, Answer the Public and SEMRush. In today’s changing travel landscape, it’s essential that your content serve up accurate answers to trending questions.
In the hospitality and travel industry, search trends are pointing to questions related to service and venue openings (restaurants, fitness centers, and event venues), accessibility (the industry is seeing a rise in lawsuits), and changes in covid safety and mask-wearing. Some popular search questions for hotel websites can include:
- Are restaurants open in San Francisco for indoor dining?
- Are event venues open in NYC?
- Is it safe to stay in a hotel right now?
- Is there a mask mandate in California?
How FAQs Help Your Business Grow in 2021
Enhancing your web pages and local listings with FAQs is a seamless way to tap into conversational search trends, increase your online visibility, and help solve problems for potential guests. By answering your audience’s questions across channels, you help guests make decisions that influence booking and become the best answer on the SERPs. And by satisfying the search query with related questions on your page, you become the expert, increase engagement, and help improve visibility for more searches.
Researching, creating, and pushing your FAQs across multiple channels and multiple locations can be challenging for busy hoteliers who don’t have time or resources. An efficient way to deploy FAQs across multiple channels is with Milestone’s FAQ Manager, which lets users create and post bulk FAQ content – with schema – across your sites, webpages, and channels, such as Google My Business. The dashboard supports easy FAQ creation and distribution in real-time and ensures the accuracy and consistency of the answers. It can also help find relevant questions, answer, and publish them for you.
As hotel businesses recover and grow in 2021 and 2022, listening to customers is paramount. FAQs are a powerful way to develop conversational content and distribute it across the search landscape. Travelers want answers, and it’s simply good business to give it to them.
More people are using mobile and screenless devices today to ask questions and get answers than ever before. With more than 50% of content consumed on small screens having related FAQs on web pages build up your topical, conversational content to match the entire search intent.
- 23% of search results are question-answer based rich snippets
- 80% of search queries are informational
- FAQs allow you to control the message your customer receives
If you want help to create a strategy and manage your FAQs, we are here to help you succeed. Please send us an email at [email protected] or call us at +1 408 200 2211
Ask our experts
How will FAQs help hotel marketing?
Customers interested in booking a stay at a hotel often find themselves with overlapping questions. You might find yourself regularly asked about amenities, check in and checkout procedures, pandemic precautions, cleaning routines, or your proximity to particular features of your region, for example.
With an FAQ page, you can provide customers with a single, straight-forward response to their most common questions. When they start looking for a hotel for their upcoming trip, your answers will make it easier for them to see if your hotel will meet their need unique needs. Your helpfulness and the easy-of-use nature of your website will appeal to customers who will then be more inclined to make their reservation.
Your FAQ page will also help you attract customers with SEO. Potential customers searching for hotels that meet particular criteria will find your page more easily because you answer the question directly.
How do I get started with hotel FAQs?
To get started with hotel FAQs, you want to begin by exploring the most common questions you receive from customers. You can work with your customer service team, monitor activity on your website, and ask existing customers about the questions that matter the most to them when finding a hotel to fit their needs.
Once you identify the most important questions to answer in your FAQs, you can then begin to draft the content. Focus on being concise and clear. If the question asks for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, then provide that answer in your opening sentence before going on to explain. Your goal is to create scannable, high-value content that will draw in customers and help you improve your rank on the SERPs.
How do I measure my hotel marketing campaigns and FAQs?
To measure your hotel marketing campaigns, you need to monitor how many people interact with your content, how they respond to it, and how many of those interested leads become customers. To gather information in these key areas, there are a few important KPIs you will want to pay attention to.
- The number of people who visit your site and their levels of engagement. Know how many people visit your site, if they check out booking information, and how often they book a room.
- Your occupancy rates, including your average revenue per room and average occupancy rate.
- Your ratio of bookings through organic search versus third party platforms.
- Your SEO rankings and organic traffic growth.
- Your marketing costs for each booking made.
What are the best practices for creating hotel FAQs?
To create hotel FAQs that will benefit your SEO rankings and encourage customers to engage further with your website, you want to focus on a few best practices.
- Know the questions customers actually have. You want your questions and answers to provide immediate value. Filling up the page with irrelevant questions will make it harder to find the intended question
- Make sure the page is easily explored. Help customers find relevant questions by using a clear system to your page. If you want to put the questions in alphabetical order or group them by topic then be consistent so customers can quickly scan the page. Consider using a search bar as well.
- Use formats that can be read quickly and easily.
- Keep your page regularly updated to be sure the information is accurate and reflects current customer concerns. For example, as people begin to travel after various lockdowns, you will want to address your cleaning procedures and overall COVID-19 precautions.