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”.
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
- 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:
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.
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, …
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!