Lots of non-bloggers will tell you why you need a blog on your website.
Many of them will tell you a blog is good for SEO, and that your site will just get more traffic with a Hotel and Vacation Industry Blog of whatever kind.
Some others will talk about doing public relations, keeping your name out there, and maybe even branding.
Some of them will convince you, and many will not. And there is no shortage of hotel websites with a blog on there that got updated, once, ummm… three months ago. And that’s that.
But there’s more to blogging than just re-posting the communications your hotel or vacation operations is already doing.
Here’s the thing. If you’re not blogging, your business is probably ambling ahead, not totally without direction, but without the kind of pointed, focused and intentional strategic voice that it needs.
That’s not to say your blogger needs to determine everything, but bloggers have this way of ferreting out information.
Let’s talk ROI:
1) Credibility. Whatever you’re paying your blogger, you have every right to stay on top of them. But if you hire someone good, someone experienced and competent and interested in your business, then you shouldn’t have to.
Every blogger will occasionally get him or herself into a little trouble. An error of fact needs to be corrected or a retraction written. Guess what? Correcting mistakes only makes bloggers more credible. When businesses understand that their customers can see right through their bullshit, then they’ll be better businesses.
2) Your Customers are there. Why aren’t you? With a blog and a little social media, your brand really can act like a person. So why shouldn’t you go to the same party everyone else is at?
3) Brand. I should probably start writing this blog based on the assumption that readers have no idea what brand means. Read that above again. If there’s a party, your brand is what goes to the party. Your brand is the personification of your business. It writes a blog. Sometimes, there’s an author too. But your readers understand both of them as separate people. The better your author, the better your brand.
4) Booking. Obviously. Booking comes from reputation, demand and location as well as all the stuff you have on offer. But your customers are also interested in your values, in your relationship with the broader community and even in you, the people behind the brand. They will buy from people first, brands second and maybe from “marketing” – somewhere on down the list.
5) The hotel next door is not blogging. That should wake you up. Of course you’re both on Booking.com and TripAdvisor and Expedia. Some of your business will come through those channels, but as you know, plenty of visitors from those sites will also click straight through to your site. What are they going to find?
6) Values. This one should be easy. But it really only baffles people who don’t believe in the fairness and honesty of their own business models. There will be channels where you make a quick buck for little work, but that will never be the basis of any sound business model. That’s what makes it difficult to seduce people twice. Show them your best pictures, and they’ll come once. Behind your mirage of professional photography, how do things really look? What do first time guests learn and how can you keep them remembering, and referring and appreciating all of that great service?
- I visited a resort in Cancun once where every single person onsite was instructed to say hello to me. Housekeeping understands blogging a lot better than marketing does. Funny.
7) Search Engine Optimization. Even a second-rate blogger probably knows more about SEO than the person making the decisions about shelling out ten times more money for SEO than is necessary. SEO consultant’s specialize, not only in posing like they know it all, but also in ripping off customers. Most of SEO today comes down to properly formatting your exiting pages, and in adding more pages.
8) Keywords. People will hopefully visit your hotel or city for a whole ton of good reasons beyond your rooms, hairdriers and extendable mirrors. There are a lot more keywords than you can fit in a room description.
9) Co-branding. Of course you can sell mattresses. Lots of hotels already do it. But ramping up your diverse revenue-streams is a lot easier when you have a channel open with lots of ready made readers and consumers. Keep them happy and help them out with more information about your suppliers, the stuff you use and buy and how it can keep your hotel on their minds year round.
10) Consciousness. Strategy. Know-how. Direction. Where are you going? Developing vision means really knowing and exploring every possible avenue to success. And blogging is one of the ways you can do that. You can’t do it overnight. Even a really seasoned, professional blogger should take some time to get you there. But getting there, collaborating all along the way, is one of the reasons that bloggers rise in prominence next to the key players in any hospitality business. Talk with them. Talk with them often and get more of where your organization is going down on paper today.
Then you might want to start thinking ROI again.