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Hotel Internet Marketing: SEO or SEM?

2013-12-11

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Most hotel marketers are familiar with SEO (which stands for ‘search engine optimization’), but fewer are familiar with SEM (search engine marketing), and some get confused between the two. I’m going to take a moment to paint a narrative with broad strokes, and un-muddy the waters a bit.

 

SEO vs. SEM for Hotels – A Comparison
Let me start with a brief definition of each, and how they can best be used to drive traffic to hotel websites.

 

SEO
SEO is the process of altering your website structure and content in such a way that encourages search engines to rank them higher on search engine result pages (SERPs). SEO demands much up-front time, talent, and thus money, but if successful, SEO can drive ongoing new “free” reservations to your website over time.
SEO is a long-term strategy that often doesn’t bear fruit for many months—sometimes years. We recommend SEO to hoteliers who have time, effort, and money to spare, and who are ready for a long-term investment in their website and online presence.

 

SEM
SEM is a broad term that refers to any advertisement that appears on search engines in the SERP. These ads usually appear at the top of search engine results, and at the bottom and sides. Sometimes these ads are simple blocks of text. Other times they are images of products, or even map points on a map. SEM ads are managed using an interface run by the search engine, such as Google’s Adwords or Bing’s Bing Ads. Hotel marketers can pay the search engine for every click their ads get, or by ad “impressions”—that is, views.
One benefit to SEM is that it can start bringing you new guests immediately, as long as you’re willing to pay. One drawback is as soon as you stop paying for SEM ads, SEM stops sending you new guests. SEM is difficult to set up and make profitable, but once profitable, you can predictably increase or decrease direct reservations by increasing or decreasing how much you spend on SEM ads.
We recommend SEM to hoteliers who need to find new guests now, and are willing to muster up a little cash every month to feed their online booking engine.


More information at http://www.buuteeq.com/blog/sem-hotels/


Wintour provides hotel online marketing consultancy, including hotel online marketing diagnosis, SEO/SEM consultancy, website hosting service, etc. Find more details at http://www.wintour.cn/en-us/hotel_online_marketing_consultancy.html