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The Europeans are coming

By Occupancy Marketing | June 3rd, 2011

There exists real opportunities for sales growth for British hoteliers in the Euro markets.

The improved Euro rate on the British Pound has led to the universal belief that the UK leisure and hotel markets are set to enjoy a strong level of business from key Euro markets. Markets such as France are providing opportunities from reduced travel costs and improved currency conversion rates.

For hoteliers, the challenge that exists is to build brand exposure across Europe. The most effective (and cost effective!) way of creating brand awareness is online, and more specifically on Google.

Google search is king in Europe

Approximately 75% of Europeans now research overseas holidays online, with search engines being the favoured medium for finding travel information. The dominant search engine across Europe is Google, who like other search engines offer local language variants of the search engine. For example, Google in France is Google.fr, providing organic search and Google AdWord opportunities in French.

In order to gain brand awareness in localised Google search, translations are required. Before going ahead with translating web content, there a number of factors that you should take into consideration.

Translating and Optimising Content

– Know your key markets

The typical European markets that are appearing on the traffic and bookings ‘radar’ for Occupancy Marketing’s UK client base are Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands. Depending on the Hotel’s positioning in the market, other markets should also be given consideration. For example, we are seeing strong sales growth from Switzerland and Russia from our luxury Hotel portfolio. Local transport connections (i.e. cheap ferry connections / low cost flights) will also impact on visitor numbers from Euro countries.

– Identify content for translation

The best approach for achieving results from European markets is to translate your entire site in to the relevant language. This ensures that you are maximising search engine optimisation opportunities and usability for foreign users. Obviously, this is a costly exercise that few marketing departments have the budget for (especially in the current climate…). A full translation would incur high costs from both a web development and translation end. Instead of this, Occupancy Marketing recommends that key landing pages are translated. The translation of top level content provides the user with useful information and it also ensures that popular keyword terms can be optimised for search engine optimisation purposes. We typically recommend that the following content is covered:

1. Homepage
2. Rates page
3. Rooms information page
4. Hotel location(s) pages
5. Additional offerings (i.e. golf / spa / outdoor activities)

– Consider search terminology used by native speakers

It is important that you ensure that your Internet Marketing agency give consideration to the keywords used by natives of the target market. A literal translation of an English term to a foreign language is a definite “faux-pas”. Direct translations usually render keywords that are not used by natives in online search. It is important that your Internet Marketers consult with native translators on this.

Occupancy Marketing’s tailored approach to researching and identifying the correct keywords in translations and optimisation has resulted in strong growth for a number of our clients.

– Use professional for translators

As soon as you have selected the languages to translate, you must now decide on an appropriate translator. It is key at this phase that you consider the level of written ability of the translator.

In addition, it goes without saying that the translator should be a native speaker. This ensures that the correct written style of the country is used.

Occupancy Marketing recommends that you invest in a tried and tested Translation Agency to ensure that the copy is well written in the relevant language.

– Ensure that the web developer codes the pages to the correct language

It is important that your developer sets the pages to the correct language. If this is not carried out, the page will not be indexed correctly in the relevant local Google search results. This will result in low brand exposure in Google and other search engines.

– Translated Adwords

Achieving search engine results positions organically in local search engines can take time to achieve. A time effective way of gaining immediate brand awareness in localised Google search engines is to set up translated paid search campaigns. Again, it is important that your Internet Marketing agency employ the correct translated terms in the campaigns.

– 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 Euro can help to convert to visitor to bookings. It is also beneficial to include a converted euro rate in the description of Adwords ads. Obviously, this will involve regular conversion updates but it will be worth it.

– Translate the online booking component fields

As well as the translated content on your site, it is important to translate the fields in the booking component. In addition to this, we recommend that you talk to your online booking provider about setting the booking page to default to the correct language (i.e. French page directs to French booking page). This will encourage foreign visitors to check availability and book online, which will increase your conversion rates.

– Identify website link opportunities from specific tourism sites

Links from country specific web sites in a language are important for gaining good search engine positions in Google. There are links that exist for promoting UK tourism in leading European markets. A good is example for Scotland Hotel advertising in Germany and France is the sites schottland.de and ecosse.fr; both sites are managed and hosted in Germany and France respectively. A link from high PR ranking nation specific websites will benefit the authority of your pages in the eyes of Google.

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