Despite the gloom of the recession, there are real opportunities for UK hoteliers to attract sales from the euro zone, while the pound is weak. The best way to target this market is online, using search engines, as Emily Manson explains
Given the current weak pound against the euro, how can I maximise bookings from European markets?
Among the gloom in the UK hospitality sector, with the deepening of the recession, there exist real opportunities for sales growth for British hoteliers in the euro markets.
The most effective and cost effective way of targeting this market is online, via search engines like Google.
It is estimated that over 70% of holiday-makers now research overseas holidays online, with search engines being the favoured medium for finding travel information.
The dominant search engine across Europe is Google. Like other search engines, it offers local language variants, such as www.google.fr in France and www.google.es in Spain, which enable Europeans to search in their native tongue.
TARGETING YOUR CONTENT
To gain exposure in the local search engines, you need to offer your content in the language of the market you are targeting.
Know your key markets
First you need to establish which markets you want to target. For most hoteliers the German, French, Italian and Spanish markets will be enough, but luxury operators have successfully targeted the Russian and Chinese markets, for example.
You should also consider your location and transport network. For example, cheap ferry connections and low-cost flights will help to attract European visitors.
â- Identify content for translation
The best way to get results from European markets is to translate your entire site into the relevant language. However, this is expensive and time consuming to maintain without sophisticated software.
A good compromise is to identify key landing pages for translation. This provides users with the necessary information, and the pages should contain popular phrases used by native speakers, which search engines can easily pick up.
â- Use a professional translator
As soon as you have selected the languages, you must decide on an appropriate translator. In-house translations are possible for some operators but for best results you should use a translation company.
â- Consider search terminology
Make sure your translation company considers the key search terms used by natives of the target market.
A literal translation of an English term to a foreign language is a definite no-no. Direct translations usually render keywords that are not used by natives in online searches. It is important that you consult with your search engine optimisation company or translation agency as part of this process.
â- Optimise the landing pages
It is important that you translate the meta tags on the website and add the translated meta tags to the new landing pages; this helps the search engine identify what the content is about.
â- Advertise rates in euros
Once the visitor is on your site, it is important that you encourage them to book. Advertising the room rates in euros can help to convert visitors into customers.
â- Translate the booking engine
Talk to your online booking provider about translating the booking engine. Many online booking providers offer the main European languages as a standard option but you will still need to translate your room descriptions.
More information on capitalising on the European markets and internet marketing can be found onOccupancy Marketing's website.
Tel: 0131-718 4510
Lingo 24specialises in translations for the leisure and tourism industry:
Tel: 020 7952 7500