Editor’s Note: With OTAs and big brands all but shutting out independent hotels and small groups from both paid and organic search results, content marketing has grown in importance as an effective and affordable means of gaining visibility and traffic. Recently I read a smart article on Tnooz by Matthew Barker called SEO is Alive and Kicking in Travel, and I asked Matt to prepare this piece as part of Reknown’s guest post series. Enjoy! – Daniel E. Craig
By Matthew Barker, Founder, I&I Travel Media
In a recent Skift interview, Gray Shealy, executive director of the Master’s of Hospitality Management Program at Georgetown University, discussed how hotel chains could follow Airbnb’s lead to better connect guests with the local neighbourhood and provide a more immersive stay in the area:
“…what Airbnb allows a user to do is really have an accessible localized experience… People are looking to relate to people… and get away from the touristed restaurant establishments and things like that.”
Shealy argued that hotel groups should aim to provide a similar degree of connection to their locality, as an extended, hyper-local concierge service. In his view, hotels should become a “knowledge hub, a place, a resource, a library for the traveler.”
The interview was primarily about major hotel groups trying to improve their appeal against the onslaught of Airbnb-style competition. But we’ve been saying exactly the same thing to smaller, independent hotels for many years.
With their intimate local knowledge and expertise, these companies are much better placed to provide true connections and insights to their surrounding areas.
Not only that, but this knowledge can also be used as a powerful marketing asset to drive new bookings. Read more »