Boutique hotels attract travellers from around the world. To reach this far-flung audience, the hotel’s content marketing strategy needs to match the diversity of your target online audiences.
And while the large Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) have a well-oiled machine to do this for the hotels on their platform, smaller independent hotels, as well as mid-sized chains, find it difficult to manage this need effectively.
What is Localisation?
It is the process of adapting a product or content to the needs of a specific location or market. With a hotel room being sold across multiple locations, this can be a daunting prospect. And translation is just one element in the localisation process.
For example, if you are targeting the Chinese traveller, it may not be enough just to have the website content available in Chinese. In addition, your hotel will also need to adapt the product and service to cater to the traveller when they arrive at the hotel. And this could be in the form of a few specialised menu items that appeal to the Chinese traveller or it may be a Chinese speaking front of the house team member.
Localisation is complex
- It may require multiple languages to maximise reach
- Use of words and imagery may have different meanings in different countries
- Creating personalised experiences require customisation
- Your content cannot take a one size fits all approach
- It requires ongoing management – eg: new promotions, room types or rate plans
- Right type of technology provider
When planning website content, start by thinking through your hotel’s key source markets and geographical spread. And then identify markets that absolutely need content in that language for bookers from those regions to book your hotel online. For example, if your hotel’s target audience is mainly in the Middle-east, India and Turkey, you may decide to prioritise Arabic as a must-have language ahead of the others.
English is used by approximately one-fourth of internet users worldwide, followed by Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. However, this means nothing if it is not matched with your target audience as identified earlier in the process.
Localisation factors to consider
1 – Should you translate the entire content?
Translating part of the content eg: description of the hotel and facilities is helpful. However, if the rest of the booking path is not addressed, then it will not provide a seamless experience and can have an impact on conversion.
2 – Have you considered the impact of currency and contact phone numbers?
It’s always not just about the words. A hotel website page has many elements to it that reflect the location-specific information including currency and contact phone numbers. A mismatch here could have an impact on conversion or the prospect taking the next step in the booking process.
3 – Do you have the right website and booking engine technology?
Is your website booking engine capable of handling different languages that are relevant to your hotel? There is a lot of different capabilities amongst providers and if this is an important element of your hotel’s approach to direct bookings, then you should ensure that you choose one that can meet your needs.
4 – Are you engaging a professional who speaks the native language fluently?
This is important to capture the nuances of change from English to the translated language.
5 – Have you factored in localised keyword research?
Literal translations will not have the same impact and in many cases will not drive the right type of traffic.
6 – How will you keep localised content updated?
When you update the website with new content and promotions, do you have the mechanism and resources to update it in the languages that you have translated?