The power and profitability of local online marketing are more apparent every day. We have seen that if you want to sell/purchase goods or services via a print ad in a local newspaper, you may get 10 calls. However, when you place your ad online in a local online community directory, such as Craigslist.com, you will undoubtedly receive 100+ calls. Whether you are looking for plumbers or restaurants and everything in between, the first place people look is on a local search engine, such as Yahoo!, Google, or MSN. In our modern, fast response world, more and more people are using online yellow pages to research and plan travel, therefore, if you want to align your hotel services with local activities you must participate in local online mediums that are relevant to the travel industry. Here’s what’s new in the realm of online local search tools . . .
1. SideStep Launches Activity Search – This cool, new feature of SideStep allows travelers to create their own itinerary of things to do once they arrive at your destination. On this site, people can find listings and information for local Amusement and Theme Parks, Cultural, Dining, Museums, Other, Outdoor and Adventure, Shows and Theater, Sports, Tours and Attractions, and Transportation – within a specific radius and timeframe. This is more reinforcement of the fact that people are coming to your hotel because of the various happenings, events and attractions in your local area. The bottom line: Give travelers a reason to visit your hotel.
2. Top Two to Three Results on search engines come from Local Search Engines!
Local search engine results show as the top two or three results for any query on every search engine. Typically, results are based on geo targeting. According to Google Map (Local), Google regularly updates its index with information from third-party providers to add new businesses, incorporate changes to existing businesses, and remove businesses that no longer exist. If you want to ensure that the right information appears in Local results, you need to contact these sites discretely. Positive Online Customer reviews help improve your results on local search engines. It is important for any business to be first enrolled in Local search engines and then make sure that they contain quality reviews on different engines, portals and directories.
3. Market your restaurant, spa, meeting facility or any business located in your hotel.
If your hotel has great restaurant or spa onsite, it is worth setting up a “subdomain” for the restaurant by enrolling it in local search engines as a separate domain. Typically, locals go online and search for a local restaurant by distance or type. If only the hotel is enrolled in a search engine, locals or visitors to your town will not find your onsite restaurant located in the hotel.
4. Google changes Google Local to Google Maps. You can access Google Maps directly from the Google home page.