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Restaurants and Hospitality

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The Importance of an Online Presence for Restaurants and the Hospitality Industry

For the hospitality industry, a sector defined by its focus on customer satisfaction, the last thirty years have made an online presence non-negotiable. The industry includes spaces most people explore and do business with online; hotels, restaurants, bars, travel, lodging, and recreation fall under this umbrella. These businesses are extremely sensitive to online searching: 64% of searchers using a smartphone to find a restaurant end up there within the hour, while 92% of consumers looking at a hotel or resort look for online recommendations at the time of purchase. 

 

In addition to the general need for an online source of information, about half of American adults have used social media more since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and 29% are dedicated to continuing the increased use of digital channels even once the pandemic comes to an end. A successful online presence can and will boost the performance of a hospitality business, but how can you be sure you're using your website to best effect?

 

For Hospitality, Graphics Are Key

Within the hospitality industry, images and video are a critical part of the conversion process, directly impacting the percentage of times a visitor to the website chooses to engage with that business financially. For hotels, high-quality images help show off the comforts of their rooms and facilities. For restaurants, good food photography practices engage consumers and help convince them to consider the menu. 

 

According to the writers at Trivago, an online booking website, only 4% of individuals traveling will even consider a hotel without at least one main image. High-quality restaurant images are important because 1 in 3 smartphone searches for "places to eat" occur right before the searcher visits. If you don't have quality photos of your building and your menu offerings, you won't be able to compete. 

 

With a conversion rate near 90% for restaurant searches, the sites that turn up at the top will continue to win, so your place needs to be among them. Professional images help encourage searching consumers to choose your business over others found within the same search. Overall, hotel websites only see about a 2.2% conversion rate, so you need every advantage you can get if you're on that side of the hospitality industry. 

 

Use Search Engine Optimization to Promote Your Business

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves using the mechanics behind searching tools to give your website a leg up over the competition. Researching keywords, which are the phrases consumers use when searching, can help your site rank higher in the search results. Long-tail keywords have exceptionally high conversion value, so while "restaurant Akron, OH" will bring up a lot of competition, "expensive fancy Italian restaurant near Akron, OH" is a lot more specific and will help those specific searchers find you first. 

 

Take advantage of search engine mechanics by using critical keywords in page titles, headers (H1 only!), and meta descriptions on your pages. Remember that all content you post needs to be valuable to the consumer; don't use content as an excuse for keyword promotion. Make sure you accompany written content with at least one quality photo and use ALT text and image titles to make your pictures more accessible. Optimized profiles and websites bring in 2.4 times the attention of potential travelers.

 

When Money Is Involved, Security Matters

Much of the hospitality industry requires a debit or credit card for transactions, whether it's a hotel reservation, an online order, or the purchase of tickets. With identity theft rising, it's important to make consumers comfortable giving your site financial details. Using an SSL Certificate makes your website far more secure and will encourage searching consumers to trust the site when making transactions.

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