The results we see in search engines are constantly changing and evolving to make things better for users and one of the best features to have sprung up in the last couple of years is Google’s rich snippets. What are rich snippets? Rich snippets are the little extra bits of information that appear underneath the page title and URLs of search results. They are not to be confused with the website extracts that come up in listings without your input, as these have simply been extracted by Google as it crawls through.
Instead, rich snippets might include an image of your hotel’s star rating, your photo as the author of your content, events you’ve got coming up and a little paragraph about your property, all within that little window of the Google listing. Why use them in the travel industry? Rich snippets are becoming more and more popular in the travel industry, as it lends itself to comparison and brands need to stand out from the competition using reviews, ratings and at-a-glance details about hotels. They are hugely useful for hotel marketers as they can really influence people to click through from those search engine results to your own hotel website design – and maybe even make a booking.
This is particularly useful for smaller properties, as it allows them to compete with the really big names without having to do anything too difficult or spend a fortune. And with more than 70 per cent of travellers using the internet as their primary source when planning their next trip, anything you can do to boost your online presence can only be a good thing. What to include in rich snippets So, you’ve decided you want to make use of this relatively new feature and apply rich snippets to your hotel marketing strategy. What do you need to include in your rich snippets if you want them to stand out from the crowd?One key thing is location, as this shows would-be guests that your property is in the place they’re looking for – or is suitable for their needs if they don’t yet know where they want to go.Another must is your reviews and ratings.
Since you can publish a little picture of your star rating gleaned from reviews (like you would see on Amazon for book reviews, in case you were wondering what this looks like), it really acts to draw people’s attention and persuade them that you’re reputable and trustworthy. However, one thing that might be worth avoiding at present is prices, as Google recently took action to remove this information from the rich snippets of some websites in the travel industry because it was making the results appear too cluttered. How to implement them This is the slightly more technical part, but it shouldn’t pose too many problems if you’ve got a basic grasp of the IT required for marketing.
First, use the guidelines published on Google’s website to mark up your website and then publish this markup on your site. You’ll then need to test it has worked using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool and give it time to work in the search engine’s listings.If you’re not sure about markups and testing tools, there are plenty of how-to guides available online and Google’s own site can help you out too. Although Google states that rich snippets aren’t a guaranteed way of boosting search results, it does point out that improved content can only be positive when it comes to sharing and engagement. What’s more, many sites have already noted an increase in click-throughs thanks to rich snippets.Why not see if your hotel’s website could be one of them?