The hostel world today is saturated with so many options per city or country or area it is ever so difficult to choose the “best” one out of the many options the market offers. Nowadays there are hostels for every category and in almost any neighborhood across the world and competition among them is very high. Yes, there are enough travelers to cover the offer and even if some hostels don’t have SEO strategies, they can still be in business and survive the competitive tourism world. But how can a hostel improve their visits? How can hostels stand out in the saturated and complicated world of booking and digital marketing? There are some old-school strategies to implement that work very well, but in today’s digital world it is better to have some SEO , Content Marketing and digital marketing knowledge to make your bookings touch the ceiling every month of the year, even in the low season, where hostel owners have the worst days keeping their beds full.
Who do want to have in your hostel? This is basic knowledge as any person who is opening a hostel knows that they have to segment the market and not invite “everyone” to stay there. But it is an overviewed detail that slips most owners. As the opening moment arrives, this detail tends to be at the end of the priorities and gets left behind. Hostels owners should remember and should go back to the basics and identify who exactly they need and will be talking to. This will save a lot of time and effort when it comes to promoting their beds and activity plans to their target market.
User friendly website. Everybody loves to have amazing websites with cool colors and a lot of interactive things to do and stay on the website. But is this really boosting your bookings? Is this really a strategy that helps out with the flow of customers to your hostel? Think about it. A lot of websites are entirely built on flash and they are really fun to use, but there are two main reasons why your website should not be completely built on flash: Google and other Search Engines can’t read your website so you won’t get positioning on SEO; and you can’t open flash from iPhones and iPads! So you’re losing half of your mobile audience, maybe more than half of the public.
Google My Business and OTAs. So you already know your target market and have this amazing easygoing website so people can browse and see for themselves what they can do at your hostel. Now start getting out there, start being seen in the world and in the online world the king for this is Google. You need people and travelers to see your URL and to have access to your content, and Google My Business is the way to go. You will get listed when people search for hostels in your area. Also, get some travelers to write reviews about your place, this will boost your presence in an amazing way. Also use OTAs, Online Travel Agencies, to keep the momentum going. The most popular are booking.com, hostelworld.com and hostels.com. But also aim for the niche OTAs out there, you will reach more audience and competition is not so hard.
Pay attention to content. Content is very important nowadays in the digital marketing world. It is content that will give you good rankings in Google and will make your URL be in the first places. Hostels have to do more than promote the website for bookings, they need to engage travelers with different but relevant content to their hostels and the things to do around them so a community can start getting together around your posts. Not only selling, but creating a community is important for travelers and tourism providers as well. It is this community that will bring more customers to your beds. Things to do in the city, landmarks, tours, weather, amazing pictures, videos and much more will improve your SEO score and will attract traffic to your webpage.
Have TripAdvisor as your best friend. If your think that Google reviews are an amazing thing to attract traffic, TripAdvisor reviews are 20 times better. The fact that TripAdvisor reaches 350 million visitors a month makes it mandatory for your hostel to be there. You should be listed and have some reviews so the travelers start seeing you and the magic starts happening.
Having a hostel is still a good business as travelling is becoming easier every day. Competition is very high and if hostels do things the old-school way they will be left behind in this digital world. Travelers are younger and technology is spreading at a rapid pace so hostels should keep up by using some of these tips and applying them to their websites. It is not something that happens overnight, but consistency will pay off in the near future.