Beyond Booking Sites: How to Serve Global Travelers with Unique, Localized Content


Localizing your social media and other digital marketing content can tell your business’ story far better than a booking site can.

Much like customers living in your flagship market, today’s international customers don’t want to go on “trips.” They want experiences they can remember for the rest of their lives. They also want very specific amenities—the features your hotels are uniquely positioned to provide.

Third-party booking services can help hoteliers reach those international customers, but they don’t do a good job of sharing your properties’ unique characteristics with travelers.

Third-party booking services don’t do a good job of sharing your properties’ unique characteristics with global customers.

Even worse, they use machine translation to localize your content, which produces awkward, stilted results and alienates multilingual customers. Those clunky translations, provided through pricey subscription fees, usually aren’t worth the money.

Thankfully, your website, social media and other digital marketing content can tell your business’ story far better than a booking site can. Localizing your content for global customers in these channels reaches them where traditional marketing cannot, and delivers a powerful, persuasive narrative.

Smartly Serving Global Customers

Despite the proliferation of third-party booking websites, they’re not the only way travelers do business these days.

Hoteliers are incentivizing customers to book directly on their websites, rather than through third parties, where sales commissions can hit up to 20%. They’re especially directing customers to smartphone apps and the mobile web. According to Google, mobile conversion rates on travel sites grew nearly 90% between 2014 and 2015.

This is an especially smart play for hoteliers courting international customers.

Many Asian and Latin American markets have more mobile-first travelers than the U.S. does.

Countries such as Thailand, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Malaysia and Spain all have much higher percentages of mobile-centric travelers than the U.S. does. In fact, 40% of all digital travel sales will be generated through mobile devices by 2020. In 2016 alone, 25% of Hilton’s business was generated through its smartphone app or website.

Social networks are also a powerful and persuasive source of information for global travelers. Hotel marketers regularly monitor Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to see what content interests customers. They’re quickly adapting to Facebook’s and Instagram’s algorithmic preference for video content, for instance.

This extraordinary shift in how customers research and book travel can empower hospitality companies to take greater control of their narratives in global markets by localizing their content in ways that sidestep clunky machine translation options, and embrace creative, persuasive translations by humans—distributed across many channels.

The Power of Story and SEO

Remember, third-party booking engines often provide the minimum of information for customers to make buying decisions. Your properties’ nuanced differentiators—such as romantic ambiance, excellent customer service and local charm—are reduced to bare-bones descriptions and checklists … if they’re mentioned at all.

Thankfully, you can educate and woo customers in other channels. But that requires you to think seriously about SEO in all the languages your customers may be speaking.

To successfully woo customers in many channels, you must implement a smart approach to localizing SEO.

As we recently wrote, global users—especially in markets that aren’t familiar with your company—aren’t likely to look for your hotel or brand by name. They’ll instead use aspirational search terms such as “affordable hotels in Madrid near Prado Museum” or “resort hotels in Orlando with shuttle to theme parks.”

Your translated content, for use in all channels, should be as evocative and imaginative as the content for your flagship market. Since you can’t depend on a booking engine’s translations for an SEO boost, look for other solutions that can accurately detect your SEO-rich digital content (like website metadata) and localize them for global customers.

This content can certainly be used to populate your information that appears on third-party booking sites. But it should also be distributed across your other channels in global markets—including your website and social networks. This guarantees that your translations meet your specific needs and marketing goals.

Great translation solutions can localize your online and omnichannel content while minimizing costs.

In fact, great translation solutions can localize your content while minimizing costs. Digital-first translation vendors keep expenses down by smartly using translation memory, a database where your existing translations are stored for reuse, at no additional cost to you.

This means you translate content only once, pay for it only once, and use it in whatever channel you like—as many times as you like—for as long as you like. This “pay once, use anywhere” approach minimizes expenses and delivers a consistent brand experience across all channels.

Conclusion

To capture the attention of eager international travelers, you need a more authentic, accurate and cost-effect approach to translation than what third-party booking engines provide. You need an advanced translation solution that:

  • Captures the nuances of what makes your business and brand special
  • Leverages localized SEO keywords so your business rises to the top in online searches in any market you’re targeting
  • Provides deft, culturally-relevant translations that appeal to local consumers across global markets
  • Minimizes costs to help you maximize your bottom-line revenue

It’s a business advantage you don’t want to miss out on. And with the right solution and the best vendor, it’s easier and more cost-effective to leverage than you’d ever realize.

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