Finally the Internet regulator ICANN has opened the 3 months application window for new extensions such as .SHOP, .CANON and .HOTEL®. We are working with ICANN for many years and achieved that the hotel industry will get its own identity soon. We also accomplished that .hotel cannot operated by anyone else than the an organization that is supported by the hotel industry itself. This very good news! We will keep you updated on the progress of our application.
The renowned search engine optimization website SEOmoz has recently published its 2011 edition of the Search Engine Ranking Factors. For the past 6 years, SEOmoz has compiled the aggregated opinions of dozens of the world’s best and brightest search marketers into this biannual ranking factors document. This year they present the data set of the opinions of 132-person panel.
With regards to the upcoming new .hotel domain names, we are always being asked how important domain names are. The experts of SEOmoz found that the most relevant search criterion is an exact match of the domain name with the search term. That means that www.tennis.hotel is likely to get a high position at Google if you search for “tennis hotel”.
Recently some of the leading domain name registrars have started to accept pre-registrations for .hotel® , .shop, .nyc and other domain names. The pre-registrations are free of cost for now, but if successfully processed, an annual domain name fee will come with a .hotel domain name registration. According to United Domains AG, one of the global registrars, the pre-registration option offers advantages:
Secure your chance to own one of the upcoming new top-level domains by pre-registering your desired domain name now. We will attempt to register your reserved domains as soon as this becomes possible thereby increasing your chances of owing one of the new TLDs. Additionally, by pre-registering, you won’t miss any of the registration deadlines. The pre-registration process is free; no processing fees will apply. Only in the case that you do wish to register any reserved domains will you be charged a fee. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that we can successfully register all desired, pre-registered domains.
Cartagena de Indias, COLOMBIA – 6 December 2010 – At the 39th International Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Afilias announced that it has been selected by dotHOTEL® as the registry services and DNS provider for its application to ICANN for the .hotel new top-level domain (new TLD). dotHOTEL is supported by the International Hotel and Restaurant Association, the world’s largest association of hospitality providers.
“We selected Afilias because of its superior experience with new TLDs and its ability to help ensure that .hotel reaches its maximum potential in the global domain name marketplace,” said Johannes Lenz-Hawliczek, co-founder of dotHOTEL. “Afilias has a long and distinguished track record of providing reliable registry and DNS services and hence ensures technically stable and reliable support for the launch and growth of the new global home for hotel services on the Internet.”
dotHOTEL will apply for the .hotel Internet extension when ICANN begins accepting applications for new TLDs, expected in the second quarter of 2011. The mission of dotHOTEL is to create a namespace of security, trust and credibility for the global hotel industry and its customers. dotHOTEL also plans to develop products and services to enhance the efficiency and convenience of marketing and e-commerce for hotels and their organizations worldwide.
“Afilias’ superior technology and expertise in supporting more successful ICANN applications and new TLD launches than any other provider will help ensure the success of dotHOTEL. We look forward to bringing this new TLD to market as both an attractive new TLD for registrars to sell and as a means for the global hotel industry to enhance their global online marketing,” said Roland LaPlante, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Afilias.
“The International Hotel & Restaurant Association fully supports this initiative,” said Dr. Ghassan Aidi, IH&RA President. “We are convinced that the creation of a .hotel namespace will be a significant step forward for our industry. We do believe that this is one of the best initiatives to unite the hospitality industry with electronic business under one label (.HOTEL).”
dotHOTEL (.hotel) is a new Top-Level Domain which is exclusively dedicated to hotels, their organizations and the hotel business worldwide. The initiative is being supported by hotel associations and hotel chains such as the International Hotel & Restaurant Association IH&RA, the Pacific Asia Travel Association PATA, the German Hotel Association IHA, Worldhotels or Design Hotels. For more information on dotHOTEL please visit www.dothotel.info.
About the IH&RA
The IH&RA is the only global business organization representing the hospitality industry worldwide. Officially recognized by the United Nations, IH&RA monitors and lobbies all international agencies on behalf of this industry, estimated to comprise 300,000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, employ 60 million people and contribute 950 billion USD annually to the global economy.
Afilias is a global provider of Internet infrastructure services that connect people to their data. Afilias’ reliable, secure, scalable, and globally available technology supports a wide range of applications including Internet domain registry services, Managed DNS, and services in the RFID and supply chain market with its Afilias Discovery Services. For more information on Afilias please visit www.afilias.info.
According to the German Hotel Association IHA (www.hotellerie.de) the two leading German hotel booking portals HRS.de and Hotel.de count for about 60% of the market of Online Travel Agents (OTAs) with in the German OTA market in 2009.
Provisions payed by hotels for hotel room bookings via the German OTAs range between around 8 up to 30%.
The hotel domain .hotel may help hotel to become more independend from the OTAs by better search engine rankings and more direct type-in by short, simple and descriptive domain names like www.one-and-only.hotel.
Based on the latest developments in ICANN’s process for the acceptance and approval of new top-level domains such as .hotel we have created a chart which shows the next steps and the overall timeline. The estimated schedule for the introduction of the .hotel domain names is based on indications of ICANN in March 2010. The major milestones are:
- June. 2010 – Publication of the 4th Draft of the Applicant Guidebook
- December 2010 – Publication of the final version of the Applicant Guidebook
- April 2011 – Submission of application for .hotel
- March 2012 – Start of .hotel domain name registrations for the hotel industry
We expect that major domain registrars and their domain resellers (where you get your .com or .info domain name today) will offer .hotel domain names from Q2/2012.
A detailed timeline chart is available here.
We did some research on the websites of leading OTAs like Expedia, Hotel.de or Booking.com to figure out what are the most frequent search terms and phrases for the hotel online booking business. Here are the results:
hotel booking, hotel reservation, hotel bookings, hotel reservations, hotel offers, hotel discounts, cheap hotels rates, lowest hotel rates, business hotels, corporate hotels, room reservations, room bookings, worldwide, international, england, uk, ireland, us, luxury, pet friendly, romantic hotels, budget, discount, hotel deals, luxury hotels, cheap hotels, B&B, 5 star hotels, hotel reviews, hotel descriptions, hotel maps, hotel photos, travel, hotels, hotel, vacations, resort, cheap hotels, motel reservations, discount hotel reservation, discount hotel rooms, cheap hotel, hotel rates, discount hotel, hotel rooms, best hotel prices, boutique, design, wellness, spa, lodging, accommodation, special offers, packages, specials, weekend breaks, city breaks, deals, budget, cheap, discount, savings, destinations worldwide, ?????? ?? ?????, hotel?, hoteller, hotelli, ????????? ???????????, hôteliers, d’alberghi, Viesn?cu, Viešbu?io, Szállodai éttermi, lukanda, hotels, Hotele, Hotelierske, Hotelske, …
Through our outreach program within the hotel community we reach the different sectors of the industry. Support for .hotel often comes spontaneously and immediately since nearly everybody understands the value of .hotel domain names for himself but also for the entire hotel business. Therefore we got supporting statements from individual hotels, hotel chains, hotel schools, hotel marketing organisations, suppliers of hotel interior and law firms specialized on the hotel business, to name some of them.
What will happen to the search engine positions of the top hotel brands when the .hotel domain names will become available form later next year? We assume not much since hilton.com and marriott.com are in the leading positions in search engines anyway. Ok, the Choice Hotels may get a better position with choice.hotel since they don’t own choice.com, along with some other hotel brands and hotels which missed to register their national domain extension and/or their .com domain name. Hotel booking portals do not have a chance to catch up with these heavy weights.
But the top brands are only a 5% tip of the over 500,000 hotels iceberg worldwide. This majority of hotels (the Long Tail) also rely on good search engine rankings but they are more than often outpaced by booking portals like Expedia, Bookings.com or HRS.de.
This is the point where .hotel comes into the game, since the new .hotel domain names are likely to offer hotels benefits for their search engine ranking. And better rankings do directly reduce the annoying provisions paid formerly to hotel booking portals. An easy but effective story!
Members of our team were present at the ICANN meeting in Sydney to promote the .hotel top-level domain to ICANN directors, registrars and other relevant parties. We also collected feedback from the users community and discussed policy topics for the hotel domain.
Concerns were raised on the timeline for the introduction of new top-level domains including .hotel, the very high costs for the application and the reservation on several domain names like france.hotel by governments. We are confident to find a compromise on these issues to make the .hotel top-level domain a success for the hotel industry and its customers.