Blog – HermesThemes.com https://www.hermesthemes.com Exclusive WordPress Themes for Hotels Mon, 18 Dec 2017 17:54:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 46425155 The Current State of Hotel Websites (September 2017) https://www.hermesthemes.com/current-state-hotel-websites-2017/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/current-state-hotel-websites-2017/#comments Wed, 13 Sep 2017 15:33:19 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6974 I have analyzed over 705,000 hotel websites from 150+ countries. Stats about CMS usage, plugins, SEO data and WordPress data, TOP 50 Hotel WordPress Themes.

The post The Current State of Hotel Websites (September 2017) appeared first on HermesThemes.com.

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At the beginning of 2017 I wanted to do a very specific analysis of HermesThemes client websites. I was curious to see how many customers keep their WordPress websites up to date.

One thing lead to another and I ended up creating my very own search engine that is able to achieve some interesting things.

During July-September 2017 I have analyzed over 705,000 hotel websites from 150+ countries.

I am publishing the results of my research ~2 months ahead of the Digital Strategies for Travel Europe 2017 conference that will take place in Amsterdam (29-30 November), a conference that I will be attending. Get in touch if you would like to meet and have a quick chat there.

 

About This Research

Who Is This For?

I believe that this data will be mostly useful to the following categories of people:

  • IT and Marketing people working in/for the lodging industry;
  • Web developers and web designers;
  • Hotel owners and hotel managers;
  • Social Media Experts;
  • The Search Engine Optimization Community.
 

Content Management Systems (CMS)

There are a lot of ways to build websites: static HTML files, free content management systems (CMS), licensed content management systems, proprietary (custom) website engines, etc.

This research includes data for 8 popular content management systems that are available to the general public:

  1. WordPress (we sell WordPress Themes for Hotels)
  2. Joomla
  3. Drupal
  4. TYPO3
  5. Wix.com
  6. Weebly
  7. SquareSpace
  8. BookingSuite – a service by Booking.com
 

Additional Research Metrics

This research includes data for additional metrics that are relevant to web developers, marketers and SEO’s:

  • Percentage of hotel websites that link to their social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Percentage of hotel websites that link to their TripAdvisor listings.
  • Usage of Google Analytics.
  • Usage of Facebook Pixel.
  • Percentage of hotel websites with <meta name="robots" content="NOINDEX" />.
  • Stats about the Homepage <title> tag: average length, most used words, etc.

I’ve also wanted to gather and analyze data specific only to WordPress hotel websites.

  • Usage of the WooCommerce plugin.
  • Usage of the WPML and qTranslate plugins (for creating multilingual WordPress websites).
  • Usage of Jetpack plugin by WordPress.com.
  • Usage of Yoast SEO plugin.
  • Usage of Visual Composer plugin.
  • Usage of Slider Revolution plugin.
  • Usage of WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache plugins.
 

Country Differences

Some countries have a larger impact on the total numbers for certain metrics.

For example here are the top 15 countries (~73% of the total) by number of websites analyzed:

  1. USA: ~100,000
  2. Germany: ~92,000
  3. Italy: ~76,000
  4. France: ~51,000
  5. United Kingdom: ~37,000
  6. Spain: ~23,000
  7. Brazil: ~22,000
  8. Austria: ~18,000
  9. Poland: ~18,000
  10. Australia: ~17,000
  11. Canada: ~17,000
  12. Netherlands: ~13,000
  13. Greece: ~12,000
  14. India: ~11,000
  15. Japan: ~10,000

Because of this difference in volume, if you care about raw numbers, then a 10% share for the USA represents the same number of actual websites as a 20% share in France.

The purpose of this research is to study percentages and not just the raw numbers.

 

Before We Begin

It took almost 3 months to gather and analyze this data, the results of which I am giving away for free.

The intention is to update this data every 3-6 months and analyze the monthly/yearly changes across all these metrics.

If you plan to use, write about or publish this data anywhere else, please consider linking to the source (HermesThemes.com) when and where that is appropriate.

 

Table of Contents

  1. Market Share by Content Management System (CMS)
    1. CMS Market Share in Country: USA
    2. CMS Market Share in Country: GERMANY
    3. CMS Market Share in Country: ITALY
    4. CMS Market Share in Country: FRANCE
    5. CMS Market Share in Country: UNITED KINGDOM
  2. CMS Market Share by Country:
    1. CMS Market Share by Country: WORDPRESS
    2. CMS Market Share by Country: JOOMLA
    3. CMS Market Share by Country: DRUPAL
    4. CMS Market Share by Country: TYPO3
    5. CMS Market Share by Country: WIX
    6. CMS Market Share by Country: WEEBLY
    7. CMS Market Share by Country: SQUARESPACE
    8. CMS Market Share by Country: BOOKINGSUITE
  3. Hotel Websites Linking to Social Media Accounts
    1. Social Media Usage by Country: FACEBOOK
    2. Social Media Usage by Country: TWITTER
    3. Social Media Usage by Country: INSTAGRAM
    4. Social Media Usage by Country: TRIPADVISOR
  4. Tracking/Remarketing Tools:
    1. Tool Usage: GOOGLE ANALYTICS
    2. Tool Usage by Country: GOOGLE ANALYTICS
    3. Tool Usage: FACEBOOK PIXEL
    4. Tool Usage by Country: FACEBOOK PIXEL
  5. WordPress Websites:
    1. Top 50 Most Popular (Active) Hotel WordPress Themes
    2. WordPress Versions
    3. WordPress Websites: ACTIVE PLUGINS
    4. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WOOCOMMERCE
    5. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WPML
    6. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: qTranslate
    7. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: Jetpack
    8. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WP Super Cache
    9. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: W3 Total Cache
    10. WordPress Usage Plugin by Country: YOAST SEO
    11. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: VISUAL COMPOSER
    12. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: SLIDER REVOLUTION
  6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Metrics:
    1. SEO: Websites with <meta name="robots" content="NOINDEX" />
    2. SEO: Average Homepage <title> Tag Length
    3. SEO: Most Used Homepage <title> Tags
    4. SEO: Most Used Words in Homepage <title> Tag
  7. Branding: Most Used Words in Hotel Names
 

1. Market Share by CMS

WordPress is very comfortably in the lead with a 20% market share, with Joomla behind it with a 5,1% market share.

It is important to note that ~67% of hotel websites are not powered by any of these Top 8 CMS and website builders.

Back to Table of Contents

 

1.1. CMS Market Share by Country: USA

Data for 100,000 hotel websites from 2,500+ locations in USA.

Back to Table of Contents

 

1.2. CMS Market Share by Country: GERMANY

Data for 92,000 hotel websites from 3,000+ locations in Germany.

Back to Table of Contents

 

1.3. CMS Market Share by Country: ITALY

Italy has one of the highest usage rates for these 8 CMSs combined – 41%. WordPress powers 26% of hotel websites in Italy.

Back to Table of Contents

 

1.4. CMS Market Share by Country: FRANCE

Wix is larger than Drupal in France.

Back to Table of Contents

 

1.5. CMS Market Share by Country: UNITED KINGDOM

WordPress powers 25% of hotel websites in United Kingdom and Wix is larger than Drupal and Joomla.

Back to Table of Contents

 

2. 1. Market Share by Country: WORDPRESS

WordPress powers ~48% (43 out of 90) of hotel websites in St. Lucia, an island country in the Eastern Caribbean Sea.

In Europe, Estonia is in the lead with ~43%, with Lithuania, Iceland, Malta and Sweden with ~36%. Germany and Austria are at the bottom of the charts with 13-14%.

In North America, Canada leads with 22.5%, with USA and Mexico both with only 16%.

In Asia, Japan is close to 15% while WordPress is used only on ~3.3 of hotel websites in South Korea.

Back to Table of Contents

 

2.2. Market Share by Country: JOOMLA

Joomla is the world’s second most popular CMS. It accomplishes that by being used all around the world, not in just specific regions.

Joomla is big in Venezuela, where it powers ~25% of hotel websites. It is also surprisingly popular in Greece and Kenya.

Even though Joomla powers only 1.25% of hotel websites in USA, that’s still an impressive number: 1,250 websites.

Back to Table of Contents

 

2.3. Market Share by Country: DRUPAL

Belgium is Drupal’s “home-country”, which could be the reason why it is so strong in the neighboring countries of Denmark and France.

Back to Table of Contents

 

2.4. Market Share by Country: TYPO3

No surprises here: it is a well-known fact that TYPO3 is mostly used in German-speaking countries.

If you are a PHP developer starting out in one of these 4 countries, then you can try giving it a chance. If you live/work elsewhere – convincing customers to try out TYPO3 can be challenging.

The same thing goes for end-customers: it might be difficult to find a local TYPO3 expert if you are located outside of this area.

I found TYPO3 websites only in 64 countries. In the USA I found only 3 distinct websites running on TYPO3.

Back to Table of Contents

 

2.5. Market Share by Country: WIX

Wix has the largest share of hotel websites in South America and different island countries.

A ranking by the total number of Wix websites would look like this:
USA, France, Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany.

Back to Table of Contents

 

2.6. Market Share by Country: WEEBLY

Weebly has a relatively good share only in a handful of large countries, all of them English-speaking countries: New Zealand, Canada, Australia, USA.

Back to Table of Contents

 

2.7. Market Share by Country: SQUARESPACE

Similar to Weebly, SquareSpace is doing well only in English-speaking countries: 1,245 websites in USA, 330 in United Kingdom, 300 in Australia, 200 in Canada.

Back to Table of Contents

 

2.8. Market Share by Country: BOOKINGSUITE

Croatia is in the lead with over 450 websites powered by the BookingSuite (a service of Booking.com). Most of these are one-apartment properties, which seems to be the main customer base for the BookingSuite.

Taking in account both the market share and the raw number of websites, top countries for BookingSuite are Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Chile, Greece, Mexico, Canada, USA.

Back to Table of Contents

 

3. Hotel Websites Linking to Social Media Accounts

Over one third of hotels link to their Facebook page, but only 9% link to their Instagram account/hashtag.

Back to Table of Contents

 

3.1. Social Media Usage by Country: FACEBOOK

How surprising is this chart?

People in Germany are not too excited about Facebook, they are very concerned about privacy.

Back to Table of Contents

 

3.2. Social Media Usage by Country: TWITTER

A similar situation as with Facebook, just with smaller numbers.

I was surprised to see that hotels bother with Twitter at all, I expected even lower numbers.

Back to Table of Contents

 

3.3. Social Media Usage by Country: INSTAGRAM

You would expect that hotels in some countries would focus more on Instagram Marketing, but it is what it is.

One explanation for the low numbers in certain countries is the total number of VERY outdated hotel websites. It is normal to find German hotel websites that haven’t been updated in more than 15 years. Static HTML websites with sparkling .gif animations, frames and other good stuff.

Hotels in countries like Madagascar, Romania, Cuba, Austria and even New Zealand should pick up the pace. Even if you think Instagram won’t get you direct hotel bookings, it will at least raise the country’s general reputation and image on the international level.

Back to Table of Contents

 

3.4. Social Media Usage by Country: TRIPADVISOR

Many hotels use their TripAdvisor page as “social proof” of their good service and quality.

Many industry experts think that sending your website visitors out to other websites (even for social proof) is a good way to decrease your direct bookings and lose customers in the process.

The smaller countries are in a confident lead, with Germany confidently at the bottom of the chart, again.

Back to Table of Contents

 

4.1. Tool Usage: GOOGLE ANALYTICS

This one was probably one of the biggest surprises for me: Google Analytics is used on only 22% of hotel websites.

In an industry where every bit of intelligence and analytics can be used to improve your business, over 75% choose not to use this free tool from Google itself.

Back to Table of Contents

 

4.2. Tool Usage by Country: GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Both USA and Germany are at the bottom of the chart.

Back to Table of Contents

 

4.3. Tool Usage: FACEBOOK PIXEL

The Facebook Pixel is used for retargeting/remarketing (I wrote about it here).

It is somewhat of an advanced tool used by marketers to target and reengage visitors that were on your website in the past.

This is what the big shops use when you discover in your Facebook feed an ad for a pair of sandals that you were looking at only 20 minutes ago.

Back to Table of Contents

 

4.4. Tool Usage by Country: FACEBOOK PIXEL

This chart is probably a good indicator of the power and reputation that marketers have in these countries.

The higher a country is on the chart, the more effort goes into squeezing every little bit they can via marketing efforts.

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.1. Top 50 Most Popular (Active) Hotel WordPress Themes

These are the most popular WordPress themes used on the 141,300 WordPress hotel websites that were analyzed.

  • 14 out of Top 15 Themes are sold via ThemeForest.
  • 31 out of Top 50 Themes are sold via ThemeForest.
  • 13 out of Top 50 Themes are distributed via WordPress.org.
Place Theme Name Developer Distribution Websites % Share
#1 Divi ElegantThemes Independent 5,180 3.67%
#2 Avada ThemeFusion ThemeForest 4,575 3.23%
#3 Enfold Kriesi ThemeForest 2,699 1.9%
#4 BeTheme muffingroup ThemeForest 1,832 1.29%
#5 Hotel Master GoodLayers ThemeForest 1,817 1.28%
#6 Soho Hotel quitenicestuff ThemeForest 1,557 1.10%
#7 Bridge QODE ThemeForest 1,160 0.82%
#8 The7 Dream-Theme ThemeForest 1,039 0.73%
#9 Jupiter artbees ThemeForest 898 0.63%
#10 Nice Hotel quitenicestuff ThemeForest 884 0.62%
#11 Bellevue Themovation ThemeForest 759 0.53%
#12 Nation Hotel raybreaker ThemeForest 731 0.51%
#13 X THEMECO ThemeForest 673 0.47%
#14 Hotec SmoothThemes ThemeForest 649 0.46%
#15 Salient ThemeNectar ThemeForest 618 0.437%
#16 Sydney athemes WordPress.org 615 0.435%
#17 Customizr Nicolas GUILLAUME WordPress.org 601 0.42%
#18 Vantage SiteOrigin WordPress.org 552 0.39%
#19 Leisure CurlyThemes ThemeForest 549 0.388%
#20 Starhotel Slashdown ThemeForest 531 0.37%
#21 Sailing ThimPress ThemeForest 509 0.36%
#22 Vierra designesia ThemeForest 432 0.30%
#23 The Place HotelWP ThemeForest 425 0.30%
#24 SKT Hotel Lite SKTThemes WordPress.org 405 0.28%
#25 Kallyas hogash ThemeForest 392 0.27%
#26 Total WPExplorer ThemeForest 372 0.263%
#27 Virtue Kadence Themes WordPress.org 360 0.254%
#28 Calluna themetwins ThemeForest 354 0.25%
#29 Impreza UpSolution ThemeForest 353 0.25%
#30 Responsive CyberChimps WordPress.org 351 0.248%
#31 Hillter awethemes ThemeForest 338 0.239%
#32 Anchor Inn ProgressionStudios ThemeForest 335 0.236%
#33 Zerif Lite ThemeIsle WordPress.org 323 0.228%
#34 GeneratePress GeneratePress WordPress.org 321 0.227%
#35 Viva Cohhe ThemeForest 317 0.224%
#36 Welcome Inn ThemeFuse ThemeForest 311 0.219%
#37 Travelify Colorlib WordPress.org 301 0.212%
#38 uDesign AndonDesign ThemeForest 290 0.205%
#39 Tempera Cryout Creations WordPress.org 287 0.203%
#40 Spacious ThemeGrill WordPress.org 278 0.196%
#41 Canvas WooCommerce (WooThemes) Independent 277 0.195%
#42 Guesthouse Ait-Themes Independent 272 0.192%
#43 Nirvana Cryout Creations WordPress.org 259 0.183%
#44 Milano themoholics ThemeForest 252 0.178%
#45 Genesis StudioPress Independent 251 0.177%
#46 Pinboard One Designs WordPress.org 249 0.176%
#47 Headway Headway Themes Independent 237 0.167%
#48 ROSA pixelgrade ThemeForest 223 0.157%
#49 Hoteliour Ait-Themes Independent 216 0.152%
#50 Lamoon UXBARN ThemeForest 202 0.152%
OUR WORDPRESS THEMES
#104 Ambassador HermesThemes Independent 95 0.067%
#106 Fortuna HermesThemes Independent 92 0.065%
#186 Castello HermesThemes Independent 63 0.05%
#223 Leonardo HermesThemes Independent 48 0.03%
#238 Victoria HermesThemes Independent 43 0.03%

The position of a theme in this table does not mean that it is better (or worse) than the ones above or below it.

Some may want to buy a Top 10 because of it’s popularity alone, but it also means that your website will look the same as other hotel websites.

Some may want to buy a less popular theme just to have a more unique design.

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.2. WordPress Websites: WORDPRESS VERSIONS

The number of hotel websites using outdated versions of WordPress is astonishing.

Only 66% of hotel websites are using one of the latest 3 major versions of WordPress (4.8, 4.7, 4.6).

At the time of writing this (13/09/2017), the latest version of WordPress was 4.8.1

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.3. WordPress Websites: ACTIVE PLUGINS

One out of five WordPress hotel websites has WooCommerce installed and activated.

WPML is used on 16% of hotel websites that are powered by WordPress (~22,500 out of 141,300), which is 5.5 times more than qTranslate, a similar (but free) plugin.

WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache have an almost equal market share of hotel websites.

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.4. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WOOCOMMERCE

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.5. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WPML

Unsurprisingly, WPML has the smallest share in a cluster of five English-speaking countries that don’t worry too much about tourists speaking other languages: USA, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

On the other hand, Andorra, Estonia, Greece, Mauritius and Italy are putting in the effort to make their WordPress websites multilingual, with most of the other European countries in the top half of the chart.

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.6. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: QTRANSLATE

The English-speaking countries are confidently at the bottom of the chart, even for a free plugin.

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.7. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: YOAST SEO

Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO) remains the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress websites.

Out of 21 hotel WordPress websites in Norfolk Islands – Yoast SEO is active on 15 of them (71.4%).

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.8. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: JETPACK

Jetpack is a free plugin provided by the WordPress.com team. It is a Swiss Army Knife type of plugin, which I’ve written about before.

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.9. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: VISUAL COMPOSER

Visual Composer is the most popular page builder plugin for WordPress. It currently has over 314,000 sales on ThemeForest. It is also included for free in a great deal of WordPress themes sold via ThemeForest.

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.10. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: SLIDER REVOLUTION

Slider Revolution is one of the most popular WordPress plugins for creating image, video and content slideshows (sliders). Currently it has 210,700 sales on ThemeForest.

Similarly to Visual Composer, it is included in a good portion of themes sold via ThemeForest.

Back in 2014 a major security flaw was discovered in Slider Revolution, which might have lead to the famous Mossack Fonseca Hack in 2016, also known as #PanamaPapers.

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.11. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WP SUPER CACHE

A chart of countries that care the most about caching, which generally leads to quicker loading websites.

Back to Table of Contents

 

5.12. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: W3 TOTAL CACHE

The chart looks a little different for this plugin, which is a little more difficult to set up.

Back to Table of Contents

 

6.1. SEO: Websites with META ROBOTS = NOINDEX

Not the most impressive chart, but the importance is incredibly great: 1% of hotel websites prevent search engines (like Google) from crawling and indexing the website.

That’s almost 7,000 of hotel websites completely block any traffic that could be coming from search engines and most of them are completely unaware of doing it.

Back to Table of Contents

 

6.2. SEO: Average Homepage <title> Tag Length

Close to 2.5% of hotel websites use a single word as their homepage <title> tag. Usually it is a word like “Home” or “Welcome”.

Back to Table of Contents

 

6.3. SEO: Most Used Homepage <title> Tags

These are the most popular variations of the homepage <title> tag, and all of them are terrible.

Back to Table of Contents

 

6.4. SEO: Most Used Words in Homepage <title> Tag

These are the most used words in the homepage’s <title> tag.

Over 6% of hotel websites have the word “Home” somewhere in the title, but only 0.4% target families with the word “Family“.

The word “Boutique” is used by 0.74% of hotels.

Back to Table of Contents

 

7. Branding: Most Used Words in Hotel Names

If you are looking for inspiration on how to name your property, these are the most used words in the hotel names.

Here’s an example how to better understand these figures:
The word family shows a share of 0.146%. This means that out of 10,000 hotels, 14.6 hotels have the word family in it.

Back to Table of Contents

 

In Conclusion

There are many interesting takeaways from all this data, especially for web designers, WordPress theme developers, plugin developers, marketers, etc.

It is also curious to review all these stats separately for each country and spot different “weak spots”.

 

It took a lot of time and effort to gather, analyze and present this valuable information.

The intention is to update this data every 3-6 months and analyze the monthly/yearly changes across all these metrics.

If you plan to use, write about or publish this data anywhere else, I will greatly appreciate it if you will link to the source (HermesThemes.com) when and where that is appropriate.

It would also be great to know who found this data useful and used it for an article or presentation, so please get in touch and send me a link to your articles.

The post The Current State of Hotel Websites (September 2017) appeared first on HermesThemes.com.

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SEO Basics: Meta Robots “Noindex,Nofollow” Explained https://www.hermesthemes.com/meta-robots-noindex-nofollow/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/meta-robots-noindex-nofollow/#comments Fri, 18 Aug 2017 09:49:48 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6852 Today we will be talking about one of the biggest SEO mistakes a website owner (or web developer) can make: NOINDEX. Find out what percentage of hotel websites are affected by this SEO mistake.

The post SEO Basics: Meta Robots “Noindex,Nofollow” Explained appeared first on HermesThemes.com.

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Today we will be talking about one of the biggest SEO mistakes a website owner (or web developer) can make: noindex. Just the mention of it can send shivers down a developer’s spine.

What is the <meta name="robots" content="" /> Tag?

To put it in simple terms, this meta tag tells search engines what actions they can take (or not take) on a certain page. Major search engines will abide by the commands included in this tag.

This meta tag can be included anywhere between the <head> and </head> tags in a page’s header, like seen below:

IMPORTANT: This tag does not have a site-wide effect. It can contain different values on different pages of the same website.

Available Values for the META ROBOTS tag

Here’s a list of valid values for the META ROBOTS tag.

  • Index (default value)
  • Noindex
  • None
  • Follow
  • Nofollow
  • Noarchive
  • Nosnippet
  • Noodp (no longer relevant)
  • Noydir (no longer relevant)

These values can be combined, so for example the variations below are all perfectly valid meta robots tags:

  • <meta name="robots" content="index,follow" />
  • <meta name="robots" content="index,follow,noarchive" />
  • <meta name="robots" content="noindex" />

The Effect of NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW

The NOINDEX value tells search engines NOT to index this page, so basically this page should not show up in search results.

The NOFOLLOW value tells search engines NOT to follow (discover) the pages that are LINKED TO on this page.

Sometimes developers will add the NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW meta robots tag on development websites, so that search engines don’t accidentally start sending traffic to a website that is still under construction.

Or you might have your current (live) website on www.example.com, but you also keep a development copy on www.dev.example.com/. In this case it is advisable to noindex,nofollow the Dev version, so as to avoid many potential issues.

What often happens is that people will accidentally add this tag to live websites, forget to add it to development copies, or worse of all: forget to remove it from live websites after going live.

Yes, the same results and issues can arise from a poor robots.txt file in the root of a website, but that’s beyond the topic of this post.

~3% Of Hotel Websites Are Affected

According to an independent analysis by HermesThemes.com of 50,000+ hotel websites from around the world, it was determined that ~3% of websites block search engines from indexing their website.

This was a shocking discovery, which prompted us to address the issue with this article.

How To Verify If My Website Contains This Error?

Fortunately there is a very simple way to check any website/page for this error.

Simply open up the page in your browser, right click somewhere on the page (but not on links or images) and choose “View Page Source”. In most browsers on Windows you can simply press CTRL+U on your keyboard.

Doing this will open a new tab with the complete HTML code (as the browser sees it) for the current page. As mentioned earlier, the meta tags are usually at the top of the website, like in this example:

If you see a META ROBOTS line on this page with the NOINDEX or NONE value then you need to take action immediately!

How Do Affected Websites Look Like in Search Results?

I’m glad you (hopefully) asked.

There’s a very handy way to search Google for indexed pages from a certain domain name: [site:example.com] (without the square brackets).

So we go to Google and search the domain that is using the NOINDEX meta robots on their website, and here’s what we get:

I hope that you understand how much damage can be caused by having your website completely removed from Google and other search engines. Your organic search traffic will drop to zero in a matter of days.

How to Fix/Remove the Meta Robots Line?

Thankfully fixing this issue is easy and should not be delayed. First you need to locate where this line comes from.

In WordPress, the first thing you should do is go to Dashboard > Settings > Reading.

Make sure that the checkbox for Search Engine Visibility is unchecked.

If this didn’t fix the issue, then you should check if this line is hard-coded in the theme.

To check this, you should go to Appearance > Editor and then choose “Theme Header header.php” from the list of files on the right (valid for most themes).

Look through this file and make sure that there is no META ROBOTS tag with a harmful value. If there is – remove it and click the blue “Update File” button.

In Conclusion

This line of code can cause a great deal of headache, loss of revenue and negative long-term SEO impact.

Is your website affected by NOINDEX? Check today!

The post SEO Basics: Meta Robots “Noindex,Nofollow” Explained appeared first on HermesThemes.com.

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How to Secure a WordPress Website with WordFence Plugin https://www.hermesthemes.com/secure-wordpress-website-wordfence-plugin/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/secure-wordpress-website-wordfence-plugin/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 09:11:35 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6773 Website security, just like backups of years of family photos, is something that we often worry about only when it is too late.

In today’s post I would like to show you how to easily add a layer of protection to any WordPress website.

The post How to Secure a WordPress Website with WordFence Plugin appeared first on HermesThemes.com.

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Website security, just like backups of years of family photos, is something that we often worry about only when it is too late.

In today’s post I would like to show you how to easily add a layer of protection to any WordPress website.

Why and How WordPress Websites Get Hacked?

Usually WordPress websites are focused around content (posts, articles, photos) and not financial information (orders, credit card info, etc.). This make them a good target for Blackhat SEO tactics, such as injecting links to dubious websites selling even more dubious products or services.

Another common reason for hacking WordPress websites is the creation of “spam bot networks”, and not to “steal a million dollars”. This is why a compromised website can go unnoticed for weeks and even months.

Outdated WordPress, Plugins and Themes

By default, from version 3.7 and above, a WordPress site will update itself when a new minor or security update is released. This means, that if you’re on WordPress 4.8.0 and version 4.8.1 is released, WordPress will auto update itself when a visitor hits it (usually in the first 24 hours since the release of the update).

This means that security vulnerabilities found in WordPress itself are quickly patched up and generally don’t require manual actions from a website administrator.

Unfortunately Themes and Plugins are always open targets. The more complex a theme is, the higher the probability that a piece of code somewhere could be exploited, given the right circumstances.

Some themes come with a bunch of bundled scripts and plugins, most of them from different developers and of different code quality.

Revolution Slider Hack of 2014 (SoakSoak)

Back in August 2014 a major vulnerability was discovered in a very popular premium slideshow plugin called Revolution Slider.

The plugin contained a vulnerability that allowed hackers to easily download any file on the server, including the wp-config.php file that contains database credentials.

This plugin was bundled with hundreds of premium WordPress themes, including the most popular WordPress themes (to this day) on ThemeForest. A few weeks later a list was disclosed with all ThemeForest themes that included this plugin.

At that time the list included 292 themes that contained a vulnerable version of RevSlider and 905 that were patched in a timely manner.

This means that users of 1197 premium WordPress themes (just on ThemeForest) were most likely vulnerable at some point in time, before and after the vulnerability became publicly known.

And then, some 2 years later, also in the month of August, this happened:

The Famous Mossack Fonseca Hack in 2016 (aka #PanamaPapers)

#PanamaPapers was one of the biggest worldwide scandals of 2016.

The Panama Papers consist of 11.5 million files leaked from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. At 2.6 terabytes of information, it’s one of the biggest leaks of information ever (dwarfing the Snowden leaks or WikiLeaks).

According to reports (here and here), the attacks most likely went through an outdated (and vulnerable) version of the Revolution Slider plugin. There were also a bunch of vulnerabilities in an outdated version of Drupal that MF were running on their website.

The bottom line is this: Mossack Fonseca were negligent with the software that was running on their servers. Incidentally the same servers hosted client data that shouldn’t have been there.

Back to WordFence Security Plugin

Now that we know what the consequences of a neglected website can be, let’s talk about one of the most popular (and free) plugins for WordPress: Wordfence Security.

At the time of writing this (August 2017) WordFence is powering over 2 million WordPress websites.

How to Install WordFence Security

Thankfully the plugin is available for free in the official WordPress.org repository, which means that installation is quick and easy and updates are automatic.

Go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add New and search for “WordFence”. Install and activate.

How to Set Up WordFence Security

When activating WordFence for the first time, you will see a notice with a “Click to Configure” button.

Here’s the initial Configuration screen. Just click the “Continue” button.

As the plugin will modify your .htaccess file in the next step, it first makes you download a backup of the current .htaccess file.

First click the “Download .htaccess”, which will activate the “Continue” button.

Here’s the Firewall configuration page of the plugin, the Web Application Firewall tab. It might be a little overwhelming, but usually you don’t have to do anything here.

However I do recommend that you switch to the “Brute Force Protection” tab and set stricter rules.
The screenshot below contains the default values.

I would change the 4 highlighted options to this:

  • Lock out after how many login failures: 3
  • Lock out after how many forgot password attempts: 2
  • Count failures over what time period: 12 hours
  • Amount of time a user is locked out: 1 day

It is also a good idea to open the “Rate Limiting” tab and set up some crawling restrictions.

Generally I change at least the 3 options that are highlighted in the screenshot below.

  • If a human’s pages not found (404s) exceed: 15 per minute – throttle it.
    Be extra careful with this option. Missing images in posts and pages can very quickly lead to real visitors getting locked out.
  • If 404s for known vulnerable URLs exceed: 2 per minute – block it.
  • How long is an IP address blocked when it breaks a rule: 6 hours

More WordFence Options

After setting up the Firewall options described above, let’s check the rest of the WordFence options. Open the WordFence > Options page.

Some important options are not set up properly by default, so let’s fix that. Below are some of the more important ones:

  • Enable Live Traffic View: disable it (saves some server resources).
  • Update Wordfence automatically when a new version is released?: enable it.
  • Email me if Wordfence is deactivated: keep it enabled.
  • Alert on critical problems: keep it enabled.
  • Alert when the “lost password” form is used for a valid user: keep it enabled.
  • Alert me when someone with administrator access signs in: keep it enabled.
  • Hide WordPress version: enable it.
  • Block IPs who send POST requests with blank User-Agent and Referer: enable it.
  • Disable Code Execution for Uploads directory: enable it.

Finishing Up

Now your website should be much safer from malicious activity at no extra cost.

Please keep in mind that nothing is always 100% bulletproof. There are many other ways that a hacker can break into your website: guessing your password, gaining access to your email account, hacking your WiFi connection, gaining access to a unprotected website on the same shared hosting server, etc.

But having a properly configured security plugin and keeping up with updates should considerably increase your website’s online security.

Do this today and stay safe!

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Introducing AURORA Hotel WordPress Theme https://www.hermesthemes.com/introducing-aurora-hotel-wordpress-theme/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/introducing-aurora-hotel-wordpress-theme/#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:51:05 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6735 Aurora has a clean, stylish and distraction-free one-column design. It helps you present your website content in the best light possible, without any distractions (such as widgetized sidebars). Here's a quick rundown of the theme's features.

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I’m excited to announce this week’s release of our newest Hotel WordPress theme: AURORA.

Aurora has a clean, stylish and distraction-free one-column design. It helps you present your website content in the best light possible, without any distractions (such as widgetized sidebars).

The homepage is built using our custom “Featured Pages” widget, so you can highlight as many content pages as you like, in multiple 2-3-4 column grids.

Below I would like to describe some of the theme’s main features.

 

Two Header Styles

The theme comes with 2 header styles: Default (2 columns) and Centered.

The Default style is great for hotels with smaller logos and short menus.
The Centered style is great for hotels with wider logos and longer menus.

Header: Default Style (for shorter menus)

Header: Centered Style (for longer menus)

 

Homepage is Built With Easy to Use Widgets

Just like in most of our hotel themes, Aurora’s homepage can be quickly built using some basic and custom (included) widgets.

Below is a guide for our live demo, which was built using the following widgets:

  • Text Widget (standard): for the welcome message (Homepage H1 Tag).
  • 2 Image Widgets (standard since WordPress 4.8): for the images to the right of the welcome message.
  • Hermes: Featured Pages (custom): for the Rooms & Suites block.
  • Hermes: Recent Posts (custom): for showing the latest 2, 3 or 4 blog posts.
  • Hermes: Featured Pages (custom): for the Packages block.

You can use the same widgets multiple times and make your homepage as complex (and unique) as you wish.

 

Flexible Rooms List Custom Page Template

Aurora comes with a “Rooms List” custom page template which is great for showcasing the different types of rooms in a 2-3-4 columns layout.

In reality you can use this template to show any pages in a grid layout, be it room types, villas, separate hotels, cars, packages, etc.

You don’t have to build these columns on your own using time-consuming “builder” plugins.
Our custom page template automatically creates the columns and displays this page’s “child” pages.

By default our Live Demo displays this page using 3 columns.

The Rooms List 2 columns layout: larger thumbnails, larger page titles.

 

Beautiful Room Custom Page Template

You can easily create beautiful pages to showcase your rooms.

Our “Room Type” custom page template contains these key elements that room pages should have.

  • Breadcrumbs, before the page title, for easier navigation.
  • Big, bold page title.
  • Room price or short call to action (optional)
  • Reservation Button which can link to a page or an external URL of choice. (optional)
  • Your regular page content. (text, photos)
  • Room details table populated with custom fields which are defined on the Theme Options page. (optional)
  • Dynamic menu containing links to child pages that have the same parent page.
  • Optional photo gallery in a 2-8 columns layout, with a lightbox effect (free plugin required).

Here’s what a sample room page looks like.

 

Attractions List Custom Page Template

This page template is similar to the Rooms List (2-3-4 columns), but with some minor styling differences.

In our Live Demo we use it to display two different sections: Packages and Attractions.

The Attractions List 3 columns layout with sub-titles.

Each page has a (optional) sub-title for a very concise summary of what the page is about.
We use this sub-title to present the main perks of each package (on the Packages page), as well as the approximate distance for each attraction (on the Attractions page).

 

Give AURORA Theme a Try

You can Buy Aurora Theme here.
You can View a Live Demo of Aurora Theme here.

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Introducing: One Click Demo Import https://www.hermesthemes.com/introducing-one-click-demo-import/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/introducing-one-click-demo-import/#respond Fri, 14 Jul 2017 11:20:23 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6680 It is my great pleasure to announce that all our WordPress themes have been updated with a great new feature: One Click Demo Import. It now takes a couple of minutes to have a complete replica of our theme's Live Demo.

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It is my great pleasure to announce that all our WordPress themes have been updated with a great new feature: One Click Demo Import.

Even though we have been providing our customers with an .XML file with the Sample Data used in our Live Demos, the process of manually downloading, unpacking and importing the content was a little annoying. No more of that!

In short, it works like this: After installing one of our themes you will see a notice telling you to install a plugin that handles the Import process. After installing and activating this plugin, a new “Import Demo Content” option appears in the Appearance section of the Dashboard. Open that page and click the “Import Demo Data” button. Wait for a couple of minutes (depends on your server’s Internet connection) and you’re done. You will have a complete replica of the theme’s Live Demo.

Here’s a video of how this new feature works in our Prestige theme. The process is exactly the same across all of our Hotel WordPress themes.

This feature has been on the To-Do list for some time and I’m really happy that it is now included in all our themes. I hope that people new to WordPress will find it so much easier to learn WordPress with a complete website already set up for them, instead of trying to build everything up from scratch.

The One Click Demo Import feature was introduced on 11th of July 2017. If you have downloaded the theme(s) earlier than that then this feature is not present yet. Simply update your copy of the theme and it will be there.

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4 Effective Hotel Blog Post Ideas That Will Make You Stand Out https://www.hermesthemes.com/4-effective-hotel-blog-post-ideas-will-make-stand/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/4-effective-hotel-blog-post-ideas-will-make-stand/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 13:47:28 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6448 Attracting guests to your website is easier said than done, isn’t it? Fortunately, there are ways to do this. One such way is content marketing and, more specifically, blogging. In fact, one-third of hotel website traffic comes from blog posts. […]

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Attracting guests to your website is easier said than done, isn’t it?

Fortunately, there are ways to do this. One such way is content marketing and, more specifically, blogging.

In fact, one-third of hotel website traffic comes from blog posts. 30-40% of purchases derive from organic traffic.

But now the question is: what should you write about?

Read on to find out what types of blog posts you should write for your hotel blog and get specific tips on engaging posts you can create right away.

What types of blog posts should you write for your hotel blog?

What types of blog posts get you engagement, traffic, and, ultimately, hotel bookings?

First things first:

Your posts need to be aligned with what your industry wants. To find that out, figure out what’s popular in your niche (your travel destination) and what your customers want.

BuzzSumo is an excellent tool you can use to find popular content in your niche. Here, you search for a keyword and the results show the most shared content for that keyword.

A search with the keyword “Venice, Italy”

Alternatively, look at what prominent sites share. That could be travel bloggers, other hotel blogs, or travel magazines. What’s popular on their sites?

But that’s not quite enough. You want to make sure that your guests appreciate your blog posts. And to figure that out, you need to know your customers and what they want to read about. If you don’t have a customer profile, check out this post to figure it out.

Blog post ideas you can use immediately for your hotel blog

Now you’ve figured out what’s popular in your niche and what your customers want. It’s time to take a look at four specific blog post ideas.

Travel guides

Travel guides are a given in the travel industry. Your guests are looking for information on their travel destination.

If your hotel is located in a crowded area, like a big city, there are plenty of other travel guides out there. The trick to standing out is to make your guide as extensive and original as possible.

Travelers tend to like authenticity. As an expert on your city or region, you could create a guide with lots of local tips. Or why not create a guide with funny tips that are a bit off the beaten path?

In your guide, you can (and should) certainly mention other businesses in the area, such as your favorite restaurants. And mentioning your competition is not a bad idea. You come off as transparent and you provide value to all your site visitors. After all, your hotel might not be the right fit for them right now. But if you give them tips on other hotels, they might share your guide with their friends.

Here are some examples of top-notch travel guides:

Now, you might not have the same budget as Lonely Planet. But you have a lot of value to offer in terms of content and you can use free design/stock photo tools like Canva and Unsplash to make your guide visually appealing.

Interviews with local businesses

Another blog post idea is to partner up with local businesses and create content that benefits both of you.

Here, you interview owners of local restaurants, attractions, and other service providers that tourists might find interesting. You get content for your blog and the other business gets exposure- win-win!

For example, here Le Germain Hotels in Canada interviews Montreal chef Jeff Stinco.

Behind the scenes

Alternatively, interview your staff to show the human side of your business.

This means you show how your hotel operates. You can interview your receptionist, show how your kitchen works, or chat with the gardener about the latest gardening trends- you get the gist.

Here’s Doyle Collection’s interview with their Executive Chef and here’s Nakar Hotel’s interview with chef Miquel Calent. Just note that you don’t need a five-star chef to pull this off. The idea is to show who you are.

Tell an interesting story

Is your city, region, or even hotel brimming with history?

Then, you have plenty of content ideas for your blog. Share your knowledge of local history, legends, or even ghost stories. If your guests are interested in history, they’ll appreciate it.

For example, check out this post where Primus Hotel Sydney tells the story of its rooftop bar. And in this post, hotel Bella Mare showcases historical places in Corfu.

Conclusion: Start creating compelling posts for your hotel blog

OK, that’s it.

Now you know how to consistently create content that piques your readers’ interest.

To recap:

  • Keep it relevant by researching what your niche and audience want to read about.
  • Showcase your expertise by giving value and information to your readers.
  • Tell stories in your posts to highlight interesting facts, show your human side, and connect with your guests.

Want more information on how to create blog posts that are irresistible and generate traffic? Check out these posts on content tips, hotel photography, and SEO.

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Instagram Hotel Marketing: How to Grow a Targeted and Engaged Following https://www.hermesthemes.com/instagram-hotel-marketing/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/instagram-hotel-marketing/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:33:37 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6444 Should your hotel be using Instagram as a marketing channel? Want to learn more about Instagram hotel marketing? Here’s what you need to know!

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Should your hotel be using Instagram as a marketing channel?
The short answer is: it depends.

But there’s much that speaks for it. Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms with 500 million monthly users. Engagement among these users is high; 75% take action on Instagram posts.

Want to learn more about Instagram hotel marketing? Here’s what you need to know!

Why is Instagram a good marketing channel for hotels?

Instagram is a popular social media platform among travelers- 76% post pictures of their trips. That’s why almost any hotel can benefit from Instagram as a marketing tool.

Instagram is most popular with younger users. But as the platform grows, the average age is set to rise. Plus, Millennials are the biggest consumer group. 97% of them use social media to share pictures of their trips.

But what can Instagram do for you anyway?

You decide!

With Instagram, you can increase word of mouth by making it easy for guests to share their experience. You can help travelers find information about your hotel. You can engage with guests, create brand awareness, and share your hotel’s story.

How do you grow a targeted following on Instagram?

Creating a targeted following comes down to a few things. Use the steps below on a consistent basis in your Instagram hotel marketing and you’re bound to see a positive return on investment.

1. Identify your target audience on Instagram

Before you share any posts on your channel, you need to figure out who your target market is on Instagram.

You see, if you create a feed for everyone, you’ll have a hard time retaining those high-value guests. (Uncertain who your target customer is? Read our guide here.)

The easiest way to find users who fit your profile is to research hashtags that they use. For example, the hashtag #farmtotable is used by people who want authentic experiences and #weddingdestination is a hashtag honeymooners might use.

An easy way to find the right hashtags is to use search tools like Top Hashtags or Display Purposes. A good idea is to create a file where you save relevant hashtags that you want to use in your Instagram posts.

2. Post content that appeals to your target audience

Next, you need to make sure that the posts you share appeal to your target customers.

To figure that out, ask yourself what type of content they’re likely to find interesting.

For example, travelers (and Instagram users in general) tend to like visually appealing posts of food and travel images. That could mean you share travel tips, images of your surroundings, and local food tips.

Use the hashtags you researched in the previous step in your posts to reach the right users. In fact, images with hashtags see 12,6% more engagement. It’s important that you use both popular and less popular hashtags. By using less popular hashtags, you can more easily rank high and get found by target users.

Including a location will help, too- posts see 79% more engagement when a location is set. Plus, that helps travelers find your hotel when they look for images from your location.

When you post, avoid coming off as overly self-promotional. You’re on Instagram to engage with your customers, which will be hard your feed is full of self-talk.

Loaf for one :-) #glutenfree #glutenfreetuscany #celiac #breakfast #sienahouse #nothotel

A post shared by Malvin Tyler (@sienahouse) on

Instead, tell a story and blend in promotional content. So, a good rule of thumb is to share four non-promotional posts and one promotional post.

When you use promotional content, make sure it fits perfectly with your Instagram feed. For example, you might show a picture of one of your rooms and tell your followers that rooms are 15% off. Or use a picture of your breakfast buffet on a Sunday and mention the delicious croissants.

3. Consistency is key

One of the main engagement drivers on Instagram is consistency.

If you pop up in followers’ feed after a long hiatus, it’s a disruptive experience. But if you post consistently every day or week, followers get to know you, which makes it easier to engage with your posts.

But it’s not just your posting that needs to be consistent. To get more followers and engagement, your feed needs to be consistent, too.

So, you might choose a few brand colors and create content with those colors. Or you could use a certain theme to keep your posts aligned with each other.

Plus, each post should be visually appealing- after all, Instagram is a visual platform. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of fancy tools to create posts. With a smartphone camera and Instagram’s own filters, you can create high-quality content.

If you’re unsure how to take beautiful pictures of your hotel, read our articles on hotel photography tips and hotel interior and architecture photography tips.

4. Engage with users

This step is crucial for growing your following.

After all, how else will your target customers find your profile?

To engage with users, consistently answer comments on your own feed, post comments on other users’ feeds, like their images, and follow interesting accounts.

The rule of thumb here is that the more engagement you give, the more you get. Don’t overdo it, though; quality trumps quantity. So, write insightful and helpful comments and like high-quality images.

A good idea is to arrange a giveaway where users follow you, like your photos, or share your post. In exchange, they get the chance to win a prize, like a stay at your hotel.

Alternatively, partner up with other accounts and tag each other or create a campaign together. This could be anyone who has an audience you want to tap into. For example, if a local restaurant has an account, you could promote each other.

5. Make it easy to share images from your hotel

Last but not least, make it easy and fun to share posts from your hotel.

Create an environment where guests feel that they want to share pictures. For example, serve beautiful dishes in your restaurant- dishes that travelers want to share with their friends and family.

Make up a hashtag for your hotel, so that users can find images quickly and use the hashtag when they visit your hotel. And make it easy for guests to tag you. For example, include information about your social media accounts in a welcome package or on your WiFi information card.

Examples of hotels with engaging Instagram feeds

Zero George Street

Brannan Cottage Inn

Siena House, Tuscany

Hotel 1110

The Point in Patterson Heights

☕ Perfect spot for S U N D A Y Coffee ☕

A post shared by The Point in Patterson Heights (@thepointph) on

Conclusion: Get started with Instagram hotel marketing

That’s it- these five steps will help you grow a targeted following on Instagram.

Here’s a quick summary of the steps you need to take:

  • Identify your audience on Instagram.
  • Create a consistent and visually appealing feed and post on a consistent basis.
  • Engage with other users by commenting and liking their content.
  • Make it easy to share images from your hotel.

Once you’ve implemented these steps, it becomes easier and easier to grow a targeted following on the platform.

In the end, Instagram can be a powerful tool for growing your hotel and creating an experience for your followers and guests.

Camilla Hallstrom is a freelance writer based in Berlin, Germany. Camilla is a contributor to publications such as The Huffington Post and Elite Daily. Say hi on Twitter: @c_hallstrom.

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How to Attract the Right Customers for Your Hotel https://www.hermesthemes.com/how-to-attract-right-customers-hotel/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/how-to-attract-right-customers-hotel/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 16:46:08 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6426 Have you ever wondered how some hotels manage to get raving reviews from happy customers over and over again? If yes, today’s article is for you. You’ll learn all about creating customer profiles that help you target the right customers. […]

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Have you ever wondered how some hotels manage to get raving reviews from happy customers over and over again?

If yes, today’s article is for you.

You’ll learn all about creating customer profiles that help you target the right customers. This, in turn, creates customer loyalty, higher returns on your marketing and sales investments and helps you stand out from your competition.

Interested in learning more? Read on to find out how you can create a hotel customer profile that helps you attract your ideal customers.

Why do you need a customer profile?

Did you know that on average, 98% of website visitors abandon hotel website booking funnels? So if you have 100 people entering your booking funnel, 98 will abandon it. While you’ll always have a certain abandonment rate, a lot can be done to improve it.

How? By effectively communicating the value you bring to your customers. And to figure out what you should communicate (and what your customer value), you need a customer profile.

Plus, you’ll be able to create better marketing. Today, there are plenty of powerful tools you can use to personalize your marketing and communicate your message to the right customers, like Facebook ads and sophisticated email marketing funnels. With a customer profile, you can use these tools in a cost-effective way.

So, now you know why you need a customer profile. Next, we’ll look at what a customer profile is, how you create one and how you can use it.

What is a customer profile?

In short, a customer profile is a portrait of your customer that explains a customer segment. A customer profile includes a name, a photo, and a description. It’s an overview of who your customer is.

However, a customer profile is not based on assumptions. You see, it’s easy to assume you know your customers. But to make informed decisions, you need to base your customer profiling on real data that you get through research.

How do you create a hotel customer profile?

So, what data do you need to create a customer profile?

You want to include as much relevant data as possible. And with ‘relevant’, we mean data that helps you create an offer to your target customer in a way that speaks to his/her expectations.

This might include demographics, your customer’s mindset, obstacles, objections and other behavioral drivers. By pinpointing your customer, you can then create the right marketing material.

For example, you might find out that your target customer is a 60+ year old from California who wants a comfortable stay and is willing to pay extra for service. Perfect- this is invaluable information when you decide how to direct your marketing message to your customers and what you should include in it. However, notice that you’ll want to be more specific than this in your research. So, find out as much relevant data as possible.

But how do you find relevant data for your customer profile?

There are several ways you can collect data:

  • Surveys
  • Conversations with your customers
  • Phone calls
  • Online research, such as reviews of hotels that are similar to yours
  • Your hotel booking data
  • Your website data

If you lack this data, you can start with an assumption. In this case, you use data you have access to (such as online research) and build your profile based on what you find. But, it’s important to start collecting more data as soon as possible and use that to adjust the profile.

Here’s what a customer profile might look like:

Name:
Comment: Use an example name or if you can’t think of anything, John or Jane Doe.

Age:
Comment: Use an age that represents your customers, such as “60 years old”.

Gender:
Comment: Is your customer male or female? If you have a 50/50 gender ratio, choose one of them.

Location:
Comment: Where is your typical customer located? For example: “New York City”.

Salary:
Education:
Family:

What goals do customers have in terms of the solution they’re looking for (finding the right hotel for their stay)?
What do your customers value in the solution they pick?
What words would your customers use to talk about their problem?
What challenges do they have when selecting a solution?

How do you use your hotel customer profile?

When you’ve created your customer profile, it’s time to put it into action.

So how do you best use your customer profile? The short answer is: Use it in all your marketing material to attract the right customers.

In your ads, your TripAdvisor profile and on your website, you communicate what your hotel offers and highlight the things you know your customers appreciate. And to get site visitors to go through with their booking, you address their objections to make the process easier for them.

For example, if your hotel is perfect for families, you might highlight your garden and swimming pool if your research shows that those are things your customers value. Or, you might highlight restaurants and museums nearby if you know your customers value them.

But, you can also use this information to improve your hotel’s services and amenities. For example, your research might show that your customers are willing to pay more if you include a breakfast in the room price. So that might be an amenity you include to help customers make their decision whether they should book your hotel or not.

Want some examples? These hotel profiles on Booking.com are doing a great job in terms of speaking to their customers:

Maison d’Hôtes La Barde

Source: Booking.com

This hotel lists amenities guests might be interested in. Notice how it mentions a shared kitchen and a nearby restaurant? For their ideal guests, some of their objections are removed. If they’re interested in meeting other travelers and/or having an authentic experience in a French restaurant, this might be just the hotel they were looking for.

Domus Ciliota

Source: Booking.com

This hotel does a good job at appealing to people who are on a business trip or enjoy convenience, like a great location and WiFi. The description paints a picture of a historical Venetian property – just what tourists interested in history might appreciate.

The Crestwood Snowmass Village

Source: Booking.com

On a ski trip? Have a mental image of how you cozy up next to a fireplace or take a relaxing bath in a hot tub? You just found your hotel.

Conclusion: A customer profile helps you get ahead

That’s it- now you know how to create a hotel customer profile.

It all comes down to figuring out who your customer is and why they buy from you. Remember that your customer profile can change over time because consumer preferences change. So, to ensure your hotel serves its customers, keep gathering data on a continuous basis.

The result?

You’re always one step ahead.

Want to learn more about serving your customers? Check out our articles on creating a memorable experience and setting the right customer expectations.

Camilla Hallstrom is a freelance writer based in Berlin, Germany. Camilla is a contributor to publications such as The Huffington Post and Elite Daily. Say hi on Twitter: @c_hallstrom.

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Customer Expectations in Hotels: How to Make Your Guests Happy Every Time https://www.hermesthemes.com/customer-expectations-hotels-make-guests-happy-every-time/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/customer-expectations-hotels-make-guests-happy-every-time/#respond Tue, 14 Mar 2017 16:04:05 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6294 What’s the secret to getting happy customers who rave about your hotel? Simple: by setting the right customer expectations, you get happy customers. If customers start off with the wrong expectations, they end up feeling cheated and disappointed. And you […]

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What’s the secret to getting happy customers who rave about your hotel?

Simple: by setting the right customer expectations, you get happy customers.

If customers start off with the wrong expectations, they end up feeling cheated and disappointed. And you end up with negative reviews, lowered customer loyalty, and lower revenues.

If you want to learn how to set the right customer expectations in hotels, read on!

The importance of setting the right customer expectations in hotels

Does this sound familiar?

You buy a product or service based on all the good things you’ve heard about it. When it doesn’t turn out to be what you expected, you feel let down.

That’s exactly what your guests feel if you don’t meet their expectations.

You see, people remember bad experiences better than good ones. And even if you don’t hear a lot of negative feedback, it might be costing you. Only 4% of disappointed customers get back to you. You never hear from 96%.

Plus, negative feedback reaches twice as many compared to positive feedback. Considering that hotels depend on good reviews, you can’t afford to tarnish your reputation.

We can convert these stats into specific numbers. Say you hear back from two disappointed customers every year. For the sake of clarity, we can assume that they make up 4% of everyone who had a bad experience at your hotel. In that case, the number of disappointed customers is closer to 50.

Now you know why customer expectations matter. Next up – how do you create the right customer expectations?

How do you know what your customer expects?

Not meeting a customer’s expectations doesn’t mean your hotel is bad. It just means that you’re targeting the wrong customer and/or you’ve created false expectations.

To solve this problem, you need to know a) who your customer is and b) what he or she expects.

Who does your hotel cater to?

As a business, you must know who your customers are in order to serve them properly.

Different customer groups have different expectations. If you target senior travelers, they might prioritize service and comfort before anything else. Families with children might be looking for child-friendly amenities. And business travelers want convenience.

If you have trouble figuring out who your target market is, the most effective way is simply to talk to them. Why did your current customers choose your hotel? What are their travel plans? After a while, you’ll see a pattern that will help you understand who you’re serving with your hotel.

What do your customers expect?

According to a MIT study, customer expectations have two levels – a desired and a sufficient level. Customers find a certain service sufficient or acceptable and desires another level of service.

Both scenarios mean your customer remains happy. But by fulfilling the latter expectation, you’re much closer to getting customers to give you positive word of mouth and become loyal customers.

The study shows how you can effectively tap into customers’ desired expectations. You need to know what your customers expect. Then, the key is to underpromise and overdeliver, instead of overpromise and underdeliver.

Some customer expectations are pretty straightforward. For example, customers expect to get more if they pay more. But some expectations are tied to specific customer segments and that’s where you need to do your research.

To figure out what your customers expect, ask them. Send a survey before or after their stay or ask them directly: What expectations did they have? How were their expectations met?

How do you set the right customer expectations in hotels?

The best way to set the right expectations is to be transparent, truthful, and to build trust.

Here’s an important rule of thumb:

Don’t leave out things in your marketing material that you think might be perceived as negative. For example, your hotel might be located outside of the city center. In that case, don’t make it sound like it’s in a prime location. This helps you set the right expectations and your guests aren’t negatively surprised when they arrive.

Now, you can absolutely highlight positive aspects. In the example above, your hotel might be in a calm and family-friendly area with lots of transportation possibilities. But just don’t leave out the exact distance to the city center.

Use customers’ own words

Another powerful way to set the right expectations is to use guest testimonials and reviews in your marketing content. In general, testimonials function as social proof to increase conversions. In short, they assure customers that others are staying at your hotel, which lowers the threshold for booking a room.

However, testimonials that don’t give any context can lower customer conversions. Highlighting negative testimonials can even increase conversions in comparison to these testimonials.

This means you should only use testimonials that give context and help you set expectations. Leave out any meatless testimonials, such as “Great hotel!”. Instead, use more informative testimonials, even if they include negative aspects that are true.

What can you do if you fail to set the right expectations?

You might inadvertently set the wrong expectations. If you fail to create the right expectations, see it as an opportunity to learn from your customers.

Reach out to them and try to understand why they feel the way they do. If you can, make it up to your customers by providing a free stay or a reduced price the next time they’re in the area.

Conclusion: Your turnover depends on setting the right expectations

Setting the right customer expectations in hotels is a necessity if you want your hotel to stand out.

Start by figuring out what your customers expect. Then, proceed to communicate what guests can expect at your hotel. This way, you target the right customers and you help them make an informed decision.

By being upfront from the start about what you can offer, you build trust with your customers. In turn, they’ll reward you with positive reviews and loyalty.

Want to learn more about customer service and making your hotel stand out from the competition?

Here’s how to understand how you can make guests feel like their stay is an experience and here’s how you manage online reviews.

Camilla Hallstrom is a freelance writer based in Berlin, Germany. Camilla is a contributor to publications such as The Huffington Post and Elite Daily. Say hi on Twitter: @c_hallstrom.

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Hotel Customer Service: How to Create a Memorable Experience https://www.hermesthemes.com/hotel-customer-service-create-memorable-experience/ https://www.hermesthemes.com/hotel-customer-service-create-memorable-experience/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:17:33 +0000 https://www.hermesthemes.com/?p=6249 Your customers are the main focus of your hospitality business. To succeed, you need happy and delighted customers. Customer reviews are in a deciding role when travelers book a hotel. And, in general, increasing customer retention by 5% can increase […]

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Your customers are the main focus of your hospitality business. To succeed, you need happy and delighted customers. Customer reviews are in a deciding role when travelers book a hotel. And, in general, increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits by 25%-95%.

Naturally, you need to have the basics in order, such as clean facilities and a friendly staff. But how do you get your hotel customer service to stand out and make customers come back for more and post positive reviews?

Want to find out? Let’s dive right in.

Why you need to be memorable

As pointed out above, customer satisfaction affects your bottom line. A study found that 19% of satisfied hotel guests return within a year. Plus, they tend to spend more when they return.

To satisfy guests, you might offer a welcome gift that costs you around $5 per customer. If your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is $50 per guest and you have three guests every week, you spend $7800 on customer acquisition every year. The $5 gift adds $780.

In this case, it’s much more likely customers will leave a positive review, which can lower your CAC and boost your business. And if 19% come back for more, you could save $1630 on customer acquisition (including the gift). Creating a memorable service can have a big impact on your business.

Listen to your customers to create the right experience

Memorable experiences depend on relevancy and personalization. To create such an experience, you need to know what your customer wants. Most business owners tend to think they know their customers. But do they really? For example, when was the last time you spoke with your customers about how you can improve your services?

The key to figuring out how to be memorable is to engage with your customers. Customer demand shifts, so make sure to do it on a continuous basis. Ask them what they expect of their stay or what they thought of it and why they picked your hotel in the first place.

Educate your staff to deliver outstanding service

Your staff is obviously in a key position to deliver exceptional service because they interact with guests on a daily basis. Educating them to give proper service is essential.

In general, customers appreciate a personal touch. Make personalization a key part of how your staff interacts with travelers. And to ensure that customers get the service they need when they need it, give your staff the freedom and responsibility to help them right away.

For example, you can give employees the freedom to make decisions that cost you less than $100 without running them with you first. Ultimately, this helps create an exceptional hotel customer service.

Examples of memorable experiences

Memorable experiences don’t have to be expensive or difficult to create. As was shown above, a $5 gift can mean a great return on investment.

Consider partnering up with other businesses to promote them and create an experience for your customer. For example, if your hotel is located in a wine region, partner with one of the winemakers and offer a free bottle of wine to your customers as a welcome gift. This might pique their interest to go visit the winemaker and you offer something that they’ll certainly appreciate. Win-win!

Below, we’ve put together suggestions of inexpensive and expensive experiences. While expensive experiences can be costly, they’re not only intended to be used by five-star hotels. If you offer a premium package, like a honeymoon suite, one of these services might be an excellent idea to improve your hotel customer service.

Inexpensive experiences:

  • Tea, coffee, and water in rooms.
  • A small welcome gift.
  • Create information packages on surrounding areas.
  • A small treat for kids.
  • Leave a thank you note on their first or last day (personalize by using their names).
  • Send a thank you note after their stay.
  • Leave a small treat after cleaning the room.
  • Cater to your guests’ individual needs. For example, if a lot of guests tend to go hiking while they stay at your hotel, you know they’ll be thirsty and tired when they get back. Leave some water bottles and small snacks in their room.
  • Keep a library of books.
  • Allow early and late check in, especially if you have a lot of business travelers.

Expensive experiences:

  • Personal tours.
  • Give a ride in a nice vehicle to the hotel (a boat, car, or limousine).
  • A fruit basket or other welcome gift upon arrival.
  • Provide a personal “butler” (a staff member they can call).
  • A small departure gift.

Conclusion: Memorable experiences matter

That’s it: now you know why memorable experiences matter and how you can create one.

Just remember that your hotel customer service needs to be relevant for your guests. Test out different alternatives to figure out what satisfies guests the most and get to the best return on investment. In the end, if you keep up a dialogue with guests to understand what they want, you’re one step closer to creating a memorable experience your guests will come back for.

Interested in learning more about customer care and hotel reviews? Check out our articles on how to respond to online reviews and TripAdvisor’s ranking algorithm update.

Camilla Hallstrom is a freelance writer based in Berlin, Germany. Camilla is a contributor to publications such as The Huffington Post and Elite Daily. Say hi on Twitter: @c_hallstrom.

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