Domain names for the hotel business

hoteldomain

.HOTEL on the application road to benefit hotels

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.

Domain name ranked most important search criterion

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”.

 

Search request for hotels

A good tool to find out more about the customers behavior is Google Insights which offers the option to select various parameters to specify a search request:

  • Search Terms
  • Locations
  • Time ranges (from 2004 to today)

You can search for instance for the search term “hotel berlin” on a worldwide basis within the last 12 month. The results are a “interest over time” graph with key news influencing the results, a world map which shows the intensity of interest in the search term, and the search terms specified into “top searches” and “rising searches”.

Google Insights is for DOTHOTEL a valuable tool to identify search terms, e.g. “hotel” versus “hotels” and the activity of searching customers in this area ans by this the demand for the .hotel top-level domain.

The graphical presenation for the “top searches” looks like this:

How .hotel domains will benefit customers + hotels

Recently a Google executive presented at a major hotel conference in Europe that the average customer seeking to book a hotel undertakes 12 search cycles during 26 days to finalize his booking.

These figures show how important it is to position the hotel’s homepage among the top search engine rankings in order to catch-up with as much as possible of the customers search requests.

This is exactly where the new .hotel domain names enter the online travel booking landscape because they will improve search engine rankings and by this reduce provisions paid to Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Expedia, Hotel.de or Tripadvisor. In fact the .hotel domain names will be another simple and inexpensive as well as efficient and effective tool to increase hotel revenues in a strongly growing online travel business.

To summarize an extensive topic, here are the benefits offered by .hotel domain names in this regard:

Benefits of .hotel domain names for customers:

  • Better access to the hotel’s website through improved search engine rankings or type-in (direct search)
  • Trustworthy and latest information direct from the hotel owner
  • Availability of special and best price packages which are not offered by OTAs

Benefits of .hotel domain names for hotels:

  • Strong branding effects of the domain name since frequently used by customers
  • Less provisions paid to OTAs
  • Sustainable better search engine positions

This is a topic on which we will publish more soon, watch out on our website.

.hotel at World Hotel Congress in Belgrade

Our .hotel top-level domain project had been invited at the 47th Annual Congress took place between the 18th and 21st of January 2010 at the Continental Hotel in Belgrade, Serbia. With the start of the new decade, the Congress had highlighted the future of the hospitality industry. Belgrade, Serbia perfectly embodied this year’s theme of looking towards the future for opportunities of growth and development in the hotel industry.

We had the opportunity to present the .hotel TLD to a large audience and discuss numerous questions which where asked by the participants. Topic like the protection of hotel brand trademarks came up and requests when and where .hotel domain names will be available.

HOTEL Top-Level Domain managing directors Johannes Lenz-Hawliczek and Katrin Ohlmer at the IH-RA Board Meeting after the presentation on the benefits of .hotel for the global hotel industry.

.hotel to talk at 47th World Hotel Congress in Belgrade

The .hotel project has been selected to present its concept to a global hotel industry audience at the 47th annual congress of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association IH&RA, held from 18-21 January 2010 in Belgrade, Serbia. We are looking forward to this excellent opportunity to demonstrate the participants from all over the world the benefits of the .hotel namespace. Beyond these benefits, the focus of our presentation will be on our registration and rights protection policies. We will also be present on the exhibition floor and invite all delegates to visit our booth.

Broad Support for .hotel by Hotel Community

logo-hotel-200Through 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.

The Long Tail Story

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!

Partnership agreed with the IH&RA

ihra-logo-233x213

Since the start of the .hotel top-level domain project we had been in contact with the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA, www.ih-ra.org). The IH&RA is the only business organisation representing the hospitality industry worldwide. Its members are national hotel associations throughout the world, and international and national hotel chains. Officially recognised by the United Nations, IH&RA monitors and lobbies all international agencies on behalf of this industry, estimated to comprise 300,000 hotels. In order to incorporate and respect the interests of the hotel industry and closely allign activities regarding the .hotel name space we have signed an agreement with the IH&RA.

Members of our team presented the .hotel project to the IH&RA Board and NACE members on their annual meeting in Barcelona on June 18, 2009. The board members welcomed our proposals and concepts as an important initiative for the global hotel business.

.hotel at ICANN Sydney

icann_meeting_syd_logo1Members 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.