Everything you need to know about referencing marketing: SEO, SEA, SMO, SEM

Everything you need to know about referencing marketing: SEO, SEA, SMO, SEM

This digital marketing strategy is undeniably beneficial for your property since it will allow you to appear in the first results of a search engine and thus bring back traffic on your website and increase the number of online bookings.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

You have probably heard your marketing team or your marketing agency talk about SEO at some point! Also called natural referencing, SEO is carried out using the algorithms of the different search engines. These algorithms rank the search results according to their relevance but also according to various positioning criteria. 

It is therefore necessary to use relevant keywords related to your property type and the services you offer, to structure the published content and ensure its quality, to use hashtags, relevant meta descriptions and external links to optimize your website as much as possible. 

Although SEO is a free or low-cost strategy, it requires continuous efforts and time to achieve significant results in terms of online visibility.

SEA: Search Engine Advertising

SEA, also known as paid or sponsored referencing, consists of bidding on a particular keyword and paying for it on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. Thus, you can create your campaigns and advertisements whether it is for the promotion of a special offer or one of your hotel’s activities and appear among the first results of a search engine such as Google.

Sponsored campaigns are an excellent way to gain visibility, increase your website’s traffic and conversion rate rather quickly but can be quite expensive.

In the hospitality industry, these keywords are often used by the big players in the industry such as Booking.com or Expedia, which are partly responsible for your own marketing. It will therefore be wise to target keywords that are not used by these big players in order to position yourself strategically on less expensive but still relevant keywords.

SMO: Social Media Optimization

SMO is a set of strategies and actions that aim to optimize the online visibility of a property, particularly through social media. Social media, being widely used by all, is an essential tool to improve your positioning in search engine results and your online visibility. Improving the referencing of videos published on Youtube, creating authentic content dedicated to Facebook and Instagram, and using popular hotel keywords and hashtags are examples of strategies that can be implemented to optimize your social media. Also, inviting as many people as possible to follow you on social media and share content about their experience at your hotel can only be beneficial. Keep in mind that you will also have some form of control over what you want to share on your social media platforms.

SEM: Search Engine Marketing = SEO+SEA+SMO

SEM simply represents all the strategies of natural referencing, paid referencing and social media optimization used in order to generate qualified traffic on your hotel’s website and potentially increase your online reservations.

Digital marketing has never been so paramount for any property wishing to improve its online visibility, especially on search engines. Thus, it is essential to have a solid SEO marketing strategy in order to be present in the first results of a search engine, but also to increase the traffic on your property’s website and to convert simple Internet users into future guests.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that referencing marketing is a short to long term strategy, which requires recurrent and productive work!

The storytelling concept in the hospitality industry


What is storytelling?

By definition, storytelling is a marketing strategy designed to engage your clients through communications based on the telling of an authentic and realistic story. Moreover, storytelling communications allows you to attract attention, seduce and convince through emotion.

Rather than solely using advertising arguments, many properties use storytelling to tell a story and even their own story. Some of them do not hesitate to tell the stories of their own customers by highlighting theirs memories of their stay at the hotel. Like many other marketing strategies, storytelling can be promoted through creating videos, using your social networks and even via the “About” page of your website.

The importance of storytelling in the hospitality industry

As a result of the growing thirst for new experiences and discoveries, travelers are more interested in the story of your hotel and the way you tell it. Therefore, using storytelling to convince your future customers using emotions can only be beneficial for your hotel since the emphasis on the human dimension allows you to create a much stronger connection between travelers and your hotel. Moreover, they will be more enthusiastic about visiting your hotel and meeting your team. 

Narrative communication is also a great way to show your authenticity to your customers. Beyond the transactional relationship, this marketing technique allows you to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers and to establish loyalty.

How to use the storytelling concept to promote my property ?

First, think about the content you want to put forward, including the relevant and interesting elements of your story. It is important not to invent or make your own a story which is not yours. You want to remain as transparent as possible. In addition, there are several key elements to successful storytelling, such as incorporating emotions, being personal and engaging, and keeping the story short enough to keep your clients’ attention and interest throughout. The goal is not to tell a perfect story but a real one. While your customers will appreciate knowing more about your greatest successes, they will also be interested in your most difficult moments and how you overcame them. Also, don’t forget to pick a narrative which is adequate for your customers so that they can identify with your storytelling.

In conclusion, you can use a few tricks to perfect your storytelling, such as a timeline to facilitate reading and help your audience see the evolution of your activities. A video can also be adequate, as a picture is worth a thousand words. Moreover, you can interact with your subscribers by adding a question at the end of a storytelling publication. For example, you could ask them to talk about their experience at your hotel and then share their answers.

Don’t wait any longer to express your creativity and be a source of real, touching and inspiring stories for your community!

User-generated content is a winning marketing strategy for hotels


What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (UGC) refers to all content created by Internet users free of charge which is for community or exchange purposes. Represented by pictures, videos, reviews or stories, these contents are published on different platforms such as websites, blogs, online reviews websites, and most importantly social media.

Moreover, this marketing strategy allows to you to promote your property for free, to transform your social media platforms into sources of information, to generate more interactions around your brand and to strengthen the trust and sense of belonging of your most loyal guests.

A source of inspiration for travelers

It has been proven that content generated by your users helps around 59% of travelers to plan their future stay, especially during their travel research. Additionally, user-generated content can be a true source of information, inspiration and even a way to evaluate alternative options for travelers. Thus, almost 53% of Millennials claim that this type of content strongly influences their final purchase decisions. Similar to a digital word-of-mouth effect, user-generated content allows you to promote your property and its various services while encouraging travelers to confirm their booking at your hotel.

Content which generates interaction between travelers

In practical terms, user-generated content reflects your guests’ experience, whether it’s the room they stayed in, the food they ate at your restaurant, or the activities they did.

Therefore, this authentic content inspires travelers, creates interactions between them, reinforces their trust for your hotel and encourages them to book their stay in order to enjoy the experience offered by your hotel. Also, UGC generates 6 times more interactions than a simple promotional content created by the property itself and also improves your online ranking, i.e. your SEO.

For a hotel, it’s not complicated to convince users to generate content as 76% of them already publish pictures of their stay on their social media. Nonetheless, you should first obtain their consent before using their content on your own social media platforms.

In order to create a buzz around your hotel and generate more interactions, you can also organize contests on your social platforms and create hashtags that your guests can use to identify your property on their own social media.

A strategy to build trust and customer loyalty

When your guests stay at your hotel and generate content, they are showcasing the relationship they have with your property and sharing their experience with their own audience. While this helps to generate a lot of interaction around the property, it also reinforces travelers’ trust in your establishment. Indeed, it has been proven that 92% of them prefer to trust the content published by their friends, family or acquaintances rather than the promotional content of a brand.

Additionally, if the content generated by your guests is of high quality and highly appreciated, it will help to promote your property and build its online reputation.

Influential clients to pamper

If you can find guests which share a lot of content of your hotel on various social media platforms, it could be interesting for you to reward them so that they continue to produce free content for you. With the help of your PMS (property management software), identify these guests so that you recognize them on their next stay. An easy way to do so is to label them as VIP with an additional “influencer” label for example. On their next stay, these labelled guests may receive special treatment upon arrival, such as being offered a superior room by your staff or some other small kindnesses during their stay. They can share these special attentions and allow future guests take a peek into the great experience your property offers.

User-generated content (UGC) is an advantageous marketing strategy for properties wishing to promote themselves at a low cost.

This strategy allows you to highlight your guests’ experience, but keep in mind to check that their content does not have a negative impact on your hotel’s reputation. Indeed, as this content is a direct reflection of your property, it must be of high quality and appropriate.

In order to encourage your guests to generate more content, you can redesign some areas of your property. Do not hesitate to promote your social media platforms and your hashtags so that your guests can easily identify you. More importantly, try to promote the clientele who is actually promoting your property. Finally, it’s important to use UGC in a legal and ethical manner, by asking for consent and giving credit to the content’s owner.


Adapting your social media strategy in times of post-crisis

Adapting your social media strategy in times of post-crisis

Perform a post-crisis assessment

Before planning any post-crisis strategy, it’s important to analyze your social platforms and determine which ones are the most active, what types of content were used during the crisis period, which actions were most appreciated and created most interactions. Take advantage of your powerful tools to consult activity reports, statistics, results obtained from the crisis period and compare it with the pre-crisis period’s ones. For example, you can analyze several performance indicators such as the number of followers, impressions, visits, interactions and the engagement rate.

Adjust your social media strategy

Getting back to normal can raise a lot of questions. This is why you need to identify new travelers’ needs and expectations in order to redefine your goals and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Start by reviewing all planned posts and campaigns to adapt your communication in the current context.  Make a distinction between content that is reusable and content which is better not to use anymore.

Furthermore, remember that you need to stay authentic and true to your brand identity and values. Your social media platforms are a showcase for your property. You need to be honest, transparent and must help your audience feel listened and reassured. As a matter of fact, if you want to win your audience’s trust, they must feel that you fully understand their current situation. To do so, your goal should not focus only on your social media traffic but on the level of interaction and engagement. Be innovative, agile and show that you can adapt quickly. Before creating content, ask yourself the following questions: Is it relevant? Is it adapted to my audience’s reality? Also, favor the creation of positive, useful and original content such as videos, lives, Instagram videos, stories and IGTV. Only refer credible and reliable sources to avoid misinformation. For example, you can post a thank you video highlighting your employees, guests, partners and everyone else who helped you through the crisis as well as people who encouraged you to move forward. You can also use Instagram’s IGTV lives, stories and videos to announce your resumption of activity. Enhance all the measures set up and efforts made by your teams not only to ensure your guest’ safety and comfort, but also that they get an outstanding customer experience.

Using influencer marketing is also a good idea for your communication strategy. Of course, influencers are great brand ambassadors and they will help you reach a larger audience, gain more visibility and quickly generate more interactions.

Set up a social media management policy

Even if the situation changes quickly and it is impossible to predict a crisis, you can always prepare your emergency social media strategy. Furthermore, make sure you have an updated list of emergency contacts in the event of a crisis:  those in charge of social media, guests, partners and staff members. Prepare useful technical sheets in order to connect to these platforms promptly and identify main guidelines that define the extent of the crisis, determine the property’s operations that are likely to be most affected, as well as a specific communication plan dedicated to all of your employees.

Keep in mind that a property should not remain silent and inactive during times of crisis and post-crisis. Even in hard times you should keep informing, reassuring and listening to your audience and your team.

Track your social media regularly

Tracking your social media regularly will help you spot quickly good or bad reviews as well as comments. It is important to be very responsive and answer every comment, otherwise it could damage your property’s reputation. Indeed, not giving an answer gives the impression that you are neglecting your audience. To do so, do not hesitate to thank a guest for leaving a positive review on your page or offer him a solution in case of a bad experience during their stay.

Also, it is interesting to take a look at the different types of audiences you have on your social media and analyze it with different indicators, such as age, socio-professional category, location in order to compare it with your hotel PMS’ data. If there is a big gap between your audience and your guest’s profiles, a campaign adjustment would be recommended. Indeed, if the content you published interests your audience, but does not generate bookings, you should adapt your message or your offers in order to persuade your followers to book a stay.

Social media are not just simple communication channels, they allow a property to communicate and strengthen long-term trust with its community, particularly by informing them, reassuring them and offering them support.

Even if crisis and post-crisis periods are not the most profitable, they force hoteliers to adapt to the current reality and innovate. Therefore, forget about making excessive publicity and take this opportunity to humanize your brand and favor a strong relationship with your audience!

What is green marketing?


But what is green marketing? By definition, green marketing, also called sustainable marketing is represented by all the actions which aim to use the ecological positioning of a brand, its products or services in order to increase its sales and improve its image. As this marketing strategy is strongly used in the tourism sector, it is therefore necessary to remain authentic while demonstrating transparency and more precisely to avoid greenwashing.

What are our consumers and what is the message to spread?

First, you have to understand who your consumers are and what their motivations are in order to have an effective green marketing. It is true that the majority of them are aware of their environmental impact but not all of them are fully ready to change their habits and their behavior. There are three types of consumers : unconditionals, greens with variable intensity and disconnected people.

Currently, there are very few unconditionals willing to pay more for a stay in an environmentally friendly establishment. Indeed, your messages must not be unfounded, biased or even excessive. It will be a good idea for you to put facts and figures forward and make sure to remain as transparent and honest as possible if you want to succeed in retaining them.

Greens with variable intensity are sensitive to the environmental cause but they are not ready yet to pay more and to change their habits unless they see a justified personal benefit. If you want to send them a message, be sure to highlight your property’s ecological and economic benefits and to rely more on emotional rather than rational arguments. 

Disconnected people aren’t often receptive to green marketing because they aren’t aware of the advantages of choosing an environmentally responsible establishment. In order to convince them, you have to show them that choosing an eco-friendly property will improve their experience.

Which media should be used?

Moreover, after identifying your consumers and defining the message to send them, it is appropriate to choose only the most relevant media. Start by updating your website by creating a section fully dedicated to the environment, which highlights your values, your practices and your policies. You can also use your social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to promote your sustainable practices at large and also to interact with your different audiences.

The most relevant is to use your own sales platforms to communicate on your environmental progress. It is at this moment that your customer will see the price and will take into consideration all the ecological advantages that your establishment offers. Thereby, justification can be easily done, so think about improving your online booking engine with your environmental actions and using your distributors such as online travel agencies (OTAs).

Considering responsible tourism distributors is also an excellent idea. This may help you attract more customers and will expose you to competitors who have the same commitments. So if your pricing is higher than your usual competitors, it will be easier to justify it on these dedicated platforms. Finally, the press is a great way to gain more notoriety and credibility with a larger audience but it requires having an allocated budget.

Overall, green marketing is an excellent business strategy for any hotelier who wants to promote their sustainable practices. As a result, 64% of companies use social or environmental arguments to sell their products and services and this is why it will be important for you to innovate in order to differentiate your property from competitors. As you may already know, each marketing action has a cost, so before starting any project, be sure that your consumers will be sensitive enough to your message and above all, ready to pay a higher price. However, in the medium term, all of these actions could help you reduce some of your costs and your ecological footprint. Moreover, the green marketing will also help you  strengthen your property’s image and increase your income.

So, are you ready to use green marketing to promote your property?

How to market your hotel at a low cost



Email marketing is the method with the best return on investment (ROI). You should prioritize this method if you want to market your hotel at a small cost. In order to engage in email marketing, you obviously need email addresses. Your PMS software becomes your best ally as it continuously collects your client’s data. The only thing left for you to do is to use this data to segment your newsletters. Every piece of data collected by your PMS can be used for an email marketing campaign. The more segmented and personalized your newsletters are to meet your clients’ needs, the more efficient they will be.

By knowing who you want to send these newsletters to, you will be able to advertise your hotel easily by carrying successful email marketing campaigns. When the time comes to write your newsletters, make sure you have a catchy subject, carefully pick which pictures you wish to use and do not forget your call to action button (CTA). Your newsletter subject should be short and intriguing, while giving a good insight as to what the reader can expect to read in the email. Your pictures should be high quality and your call to action button needs to attract the reader into clicking and thus bringing them to the next step. You also need to respect email marketing laws, avoid spelling errors and make your newsletters responsive.

Social media

Social media represents an essential platform when it comes to promoting your hotel. Make no mistake: not only young people are using social media. While Facebook is present in every age group, Instagram and Snapchat are more commonly used by the 18-34 age group. On the other hand, LinkedIn is a social media aimed towards professionals aged between 30 and 64. In order for you to pick which social media are best, think about which clientele you are trying to reach. If you want to promote a deal for business travellers, LinkedIn could be a better platform than Snapchat.

Once you have decided which social media platform you wish to exploit, you need to decide which content you will promote. Social media posts tend to work better when they come with a picture. The hospitality industry is known to be a dreamy industry, so make that work for you! Show some pictures of your hotel and services, ask your employees to take selfies, and encourage your clients to share their pictures on their own social media. You can also post about awards your hotel recently won or share pictures of the fun activities available in your surroundings. All of this is free and easy to create content which can fill your profiles. You should also encourage your clients to follow you on social media. You can do so in numerous ways, such as in your thank-you email, on their bill or where you display the Wi-Fi password.

Do not forget to create some contests where one needs to like, comment and/or share your post in order to boost your number of followers. It is also crucial to answer any comment left by your guests and respond to all posts where you are mentioned. This way you will reach a broader audience and it will show your friendly touch.


If your hotel is not present on OTAs (online travel agencies), you can be sure that your competitors are. People go on these websites to compare hotels, especially when they are looking for hotel somewhere they have never been before. You therefore must be on these websites, and also be able to know your competitors in order to be able to market your hotel better than them. Optimize your profile by picking high quality pictures, writing a hotel description that makes you stand out and keeping an up to date list of all you services. Your rates and availabilities need to be updated continuously. A yield management module and a channel manager can be of great help here. Potential clients often visit OTAs to read about other traveler’s comments. It could thus be of interest to ask your guests to leave reviews when you send out thank-you emails and/or have a contest for clients who left comments, whether they be positive or negative. Responding to these comments/reviews using your hotel’s account will make a good impression and show that you care about your guests’ opinions and well-being.

Search engines

Search engines play a great role in your hotel’s visibility. If you only appear on the third page when you type “Hotel Montreal”, you significantly reduce your chances of being seen by potential guests and thus you may be losing many bookings. Fortunately there is a free way to counter this: SEO (search engine optimization). SEO allows you to insert key-words throughout your website’s pages in order for you to be in the first suggestions in the search engines.

Google set up a free tool called Google My Business. This allows you to enter information about your hotel in a template created by Google in order for people searching your hotel to able to have a quick summary of any information they could need. Potential guests can book directly on your website, or call you by clicking on the Google My Business call to action buttons. It is therefore very important that your Google My Business page be optimized and up to date.

There are plenty of platforms for you to market your hotel on. However, by starting with newsletters, social media, OTAs and search engines, you will achieve the visibility that you need to boost your hotel’s presence without breaking the bank.

The 5 best ways to promote your hotel on a limited budget


1 – Create a captivating web experience

One of the pillars of a solid marketing strategy is having a well-adapted website. Making a strong first impression is your best chance to generate direct reservations, and your website provides the key to making this impression. Invest in your website to make navigation more intuitive, ensure faster load time and include images that will sell your hotel. Create a web experience that encourages visitors to reserve through the website, and you’ll be sure to get a return on your investment.

2 – Recover aborted reservations

Nearly three out of four consumers abort their purchases. In the hotel industry, the abort rate is higher still. Therefore, reservation recovery procedures are essential since the target audience consists of qualified potential customers interested in staying at your hotel. To recover potential customers, it is crucial to ask for their email address as soon as possible in the reservation process and to include a newsletter subscription checkbox. As soon as potential customers abort their reservation, send them an email to try to convince them to follow through with their aborted reservation. A second email can include a small discount to drive the sale. Don’t let a revenue source slip through your fingers!

3 – Measure your email campaigns

Gauge the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. To do this, check out the conversion, click and rebound rates as well as subscribe and unsubscribe rates.

4 – Pay per click

By choosing the pay per click (PPC) option, you don’t waste your money. Instead, you invest it in customers that will bring a return on your investment. Pay-per-click advertising makes it possible to specifically target the audience you want to reach.

5 – Test your campaigns

Each hotel is unique. Therefore, it’s important to test your strategies and tactics before implementing them. To ensure your campaigns are successful, you must have a documented strategy and a plan for the different tests you want to run. In short, the key is to run tests, follow up and make changes as needed.

Wether they are implemented individually or as a whole, these marketing strategies can be beneficial to your property. Furthermore, it is important to use these performance indicators to measure their effectiveness in the long term.