Thursday, 11 April 2019

Booking.com Talks 2019 Trends

Trends in Travel According to Booking.com


Thanks to Hostelskills for hosting the conference and Booking.com for this information.


There are now 1.4 billion International Tourists - this is a 6% increase on last year. The biggest group is Europe with 713 million and then Asia Pacific with 343 Million. The Americas account for 217 million with Africa at 67 million and the Middle East at 63 million. The global average growth is around 3 to 4 %. 

5 in every 5 tourists are traveling within their region, which means this is mostly Europeans traveling in Europe.


Booking.com Talks 2019 Trends at Hostelskills



Mobile Trends

Bookings on mobile have increased by 540%. There are 8 billion active devices - more than people on the planet! This is a lot of people using mobile. 60% of travelers are posting pictures on mobile of their travels. 65% of Booking.com customers prefer to use mobile. 




Booking.com Talks 2019 Trends at Hostelskills




Innovation

76% of travelers say that smart phones are their most important asset to travel with. This enables all their search decisions. 53% of guests are likely to book on their device, but only a quarter of hostels on Booking.com have mobile friendly websites. 

13 nights per year is the average holiday taken
45% of travelers are men, 55% are women, 21% of these are solo travelers with 18% being large groups. Couples are 41% with families making up the other 20%.

38% are in multiple destinations - travelers want to see more places!



Booking.com Talks 2019 Trends at Hostelskills



Booking Methods

The trend in using travel agents has decreased, as has direct bookings with accommodation providers websites. Now bookings are made on mobile or apps, and usually through the OTAs. 


Managing Guests Experience

Dividing guests stay into the pre-stay, stay and after stay. To get the guests attention you have to 10 seconds - and you have to provide quality photos - this the hot spot on screen clicks. Showcase your hostel with good well lit photos, show the chill-out communal areas, details and show the views and surroundings. 

77% of users don't expect to wait more than 6 hours for a reply to their email. Make sure you have automated replies with a booking assistant.


Post Stay you need to get your feedback and reviews. Personalisation is the next developing trend. As seen with Amazon or Netflix - suggestions are made and personalised based on buyer behaviour.


Thursday, 14 March 2019

Size Matters: How Important is the Length of my Blog Post?


If you're writing a blog for your business - you should be doing this...


With industry insights pointing to the more blog posts the better, it can be very time consuming to write long posts that are industry relevant several times a week. With a balancing act of frequency, budget, time and relevance, creating relevant blog content requires planning. As content creation has become key as a way to hook page views from the internet, make sure your blog has winning content. 


So if you have time or budget to sit down and write, then make sure you are writing the right kind of posts. Don't be tempted to post short blogs frequently if they have no depth or use! You're better off posting longer posts with higher quality writing. 



You may not be looking to write an in-depth thesis on a subject, but to have an informative opinion or present research, you will need a few words. Google says that a minimum of 300 words are needed to be considered relevant for SEO, but to really talk about something in a useful way (unless it's just promoting an event) then you will need a few more. But don't just waffle on, make sure you have something to say about your subject! 

You will also need to add some keywords to your article which could also be 'words' as phrases are what you're really looking at. Don't stuff it with keywords either as it will make it unnatural to the reader. In general, longer informative articles are much better, so if you feel like writing more, then don't feel restricted. Creating a well written and informative article will automatically make it longer!




Quality AND Quantity

Not only does your post need to have enough substance, it has to be well written!! To have a high-quality blog we would expect the following

Informative - there should be an in depth look or focus on the topic, enough to discuss, provide information and be a complete look at something

Relevant - it should be relevant to your key audience as well and your business

Waffle free - your tone of voice and style is your own, but don't pack it with fillers, pack it with useful facts, info or research. 




Don't get lost! Composition for longer blog posts

If you're writing more than 1,000 words you will want to keep your audience interested and engaged. For this, you need to keep your blog well structured and not get lost in the waffle.

How to keep on track 

Well structured - use sub-headers and sections to avoid your reader getting lost. If the paragraphs are simple and overall structure is manageble it's much easier to read. 

Interesting - If you're writing something technical you can still keep it lively and upbeat - try to mix up your vocabularly and any industry jargon to make it accessible to all and expressive rather than boring!




A Note on Language

You're reading this in English, and a lot of content is composed like this. But make sure you're copy is well written in the language it is in, and especially if you use this original text then for translations. Little mistakes can be forgiven if you're writing in a second language, but if you can get someone to check your copy it's better! Try using Grammarly or similar software to point you in the right direction.

Good luck starting a blog, if you are thinking why a blog is important for your website then check out our article on that.

Good Luck! 

If you need any help with blogging then get in touch with us at hello@hosteldoctor.com for free advice


Friday, 15 February 2019

SEO Hostel Health Check



Keeping your website SEO Friendly



We want you to make the most of your assets, and having a kick ass website is a great way to showcase them. Attract your perfect match with beautiful and relevant content, and a strong message to book direct at this amazing hostel. The purpose of good SEO is to get good positions in SERPS (search engine result pages) - make your website the best it can be for you, Google, and your customers - everyone wins! 


SEO Hostel Health Check


So how do you master this wizardry? Well, there are some basic steps that you can do for yourself before calling in the experts. Here's how to get yourself off the blocks.


Some key points to look out for:


  • Make sure that your site is mobile friendly!! Depending on your audience this could be up to 89% of your traffic. Insane.

  • Be Google friendly. Make sure you are on Google Maps and when you appear on Google business check that your reviews are responded to (nicely) and you have added your own photos and description. This will help your organic views push you to the top.

  • Be user friendly. The user experience is important for bookings and and search engines - you need do to be easily navigable and have a website that makes sense - not a cat's picnic!

  • Keep content relevant. Have your important content on your homepage, optimize it for keywords related to your hostel and destination, keep it interesting and unique. Don't bury the really useful stuff somewhere in the back. Like your address.

  • Be aware of Good Practice rules to avoid penalties. Don't duplicate content or syndicate it to other websites; it has to be unique. And careful what images you use - it's not ok to borrow from Instagram unless you want a copyright fine - always get permission first!
SEO Hostel Health Check

  • Get on top of your content by creating it yourself. Start a blog and try to add relevant topics. Blogs help keep material fresh and make Google bots re-visit and index your pages more. User content is also joyful, but this is something you have to have under your control.

  • Make sure your website also loads quickly for anyone with a slow connection. Have your images and videos set to web pixel sizes and don't have huge files you don't need. Search speed is incorporated into rankings.

  • Keep on top of your tabs. Pay attention to where pages are leading and what information is on them, and match up your content, titles and descriptions to the relevant pages. Just keep it tidy!
SEO Hostel Health Check

  • Be social. Link to your social accounts and make sure they are active and relevant. You don't have to be posting all the time, but make sure when you do it is on brand, with your business tone of voice, and relevant, engaging or useful to your audience.

  • Connect with bloggers and partners with your press releases or getting personal with them. This may be just through Facebook, but don't leave them out when it comes to connecting.

  • Make sure those you do build a relation with have happy SEO and are not going to be bad for you to link with. Links aren't as important as they used to be, but you want to link with authority sites to be seen as one - so avoid a tour company with terrible reviews and dodgy certification - keep it classy!

  • Secure you website with 'https' to give buyer confidence 


So those are your basic SEO health check tips from the Hostel Doctor! Make sure that you are helping yourself get direct bookings with the best organic search you can get. Get this right, and your hostel will benefit from an amazing website! 


We hope these tips help - get in touch with us at hello@hosteldoctor.com for more help with your hostel website. We're here to help keep your hostel healthy!


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Why do I Need a Blog on my Hostel Website?

Or... Write A Blog Now!

You're probably thinking it's the last thing you have time to do - but a travel blog is really important for your website! It can also be a lot of fun if you involved your hostel staff - everyone has a recommendation for a favourite bar, coffee shop or place to shop. It's also a great way to get you thinking about your destination in terms of what it has to offer for visitors. You may live there, but to them it's a blank canvas and you have the power to make their trip awesome with your handy tips!!


Why do I Need a Blog on my Hostel Website?


Here are some key reasons why a blog can be good for you


  • Google is your first reason - if you are adding new material regularly then the Google bots will be indexing your pages and a regular basis - which is good!

  • Guests. Potential customers will see your helpful tips and think that you really care about them having a good time and making the most of their experience in your destination. Sharing is caring.

Why do I Need a Blog on my Hostel Website?

  • Bloggers. They might want to share some tips with you or buddy up and provide some good material, inspiration and links.

  • Inspiration. If you post amazing and inspiring pictures and videos then you are going to tempt visitors to come to your destination. We can't take the Balmer's Interlaken snow pictures anymore, we're booking our next trip already. Likewise with sunsets at Athenstyle Hostel, the pool parties at Hostel Pachamama in San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, beach shots from El Misti in Rio, and the idea of Eurovision at Abrahams Hostel in Tel Aviv. We love you all and it's about time for another visit - watch out, we're coming to get you!!

  • Social. You can keep sharing fresh material to your audience - and at the same time inform them of what's happening where you are. Win win.

  • Get your staff involved in being a part of the hostels voice and inspiration - they can guest write if they are wannabe bloggers, or provide cool photos, or interviews, or just share some top tips. Get them involved with sharing what they love about the destination. That way everyone gets to know a bit more about each other. 


So these are some of the reasons we think it's worth having a blog on your website. If you think it's too tiresome and you don't have time, you can syndicate material to add, but remember to keep it on brand and relevant to your hostel and customers.



Why do I Need a Blog on my Hostel Website?

Some ideas for this could be general travel tips such as packing light or cool apps (and a way to promote other brands), or sharing local guides, activities in your destination or events that would be great to check out. It also will help with your SEO! So get organic with Google and start creating your relevant content yourself. 

Good Luck!

If you want any help or advise with your blog posts then get in touch with us at hello@hosteldoctor.com. We're here to help you keep your hostel healthy!!