It’s as true of travel research as it is of Christmas shopping: more and more people are doing it online. That’s why, for companies in the hospitality industry, a solid online presence is crucial.

Hoteliers can now use the web to engage with users who are already interested in finding a place to stay.

And, through a blog, you can promote your brand, connect with guests and provide a wealth of information about your hotel and its location.

Are you taking advantage of this powerful marketing tool? Does your hotel have a blog?

Here key benefits of having a hotel blog, as well as tips for successfully maintaining and promoting it!

Key Benefits of Hotel Blogging

A hotel blog fulfills many different benefits:

Instant Feedback from Guests

Blogs allow for instant personal feedback—something that’s at the very heart of hospitality. With a blog, any of your past, current or potential customers will be able to read and respond to posts right away, giving you their thoughts.

Compared with typical ways of gaining feedback from guests—hotel response cards, market research, email surveys—blogging is faster, easier and more cost-effective.

What’s more, it allows you to create an online discussion that may clue you in to what your guests are wanting, helping you improve your service.

Online Concierge for Guests

A blog can enhance the services you’re able to provide guests, such as helpful information and resources about your accommodations and about the area. B

logging makes it easy to promote events, both at your hotel and in the community; to announce upcoming festivals or town activities; feature local businesses, from restaurants to shopping to entertainment; and more, all in a way that’s easy for visitors to find and to which they can relate.

Higher Search Rankings

Companies outside the hospitality industry understand this well—you don’t have to look hard to find quality blogs about obscure B2B topics. These businesses are regularly producing quality content. Why? Simply put, because it works, providing the kind of greater online credibility and authority that means higher rankings in search engines and greater exposure for related search terms.

How to Maintain and Promote Your Hotel Blog

Looking at all blogging has to offer, it only makes sense to get started. What do you need to know? And once you start posting, how can you promote it? Here are a few tips.

Post Regularly

Keeping your blog updated is key to keeping it interesting both to visitors and to search engines because every time you publish a new post, search engines crawl your blog.

Decide what kind of blogging schedule works for you—three posts a week? three posts a day? Establish a pattern and be consistent about it. Likewise, you may wish to enlist the help of a reliable Internet marketing agency in keeping your blog current.

Engage with Visitors

In the hospitality industry, it’s great when blogs can become places of discussion. Ask questions, encourage feedback and, whenever people comment on your blog, respond to them.

Likewise, hunt out people to initiate conversations with online—people who are Tweeting about your hotel, bloggers who’ve written about it, etc.

Promote Your Blog Offline

To make your online efforts most effective, you’ll want to let your guests know you’re online. Add links to the blog on marketing materials, info packets, sign-in sheets or anywhere else that guests could notice it.

Promote Your Blog Online

Create a prominent link from your main website to your blog so it’s easy for visitors to find it when they research your site. Likewise, link to your blog from your online profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other channels.

In the rapidly developing online world, there’s no better time to start a blog than now. How could blogging improve your business? And what are you waiting for?

Author Bio: This guest post was contributed by Shanna Mallon. Shanna is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm that specializes in social media, SEO, web development and other Internet marketing services.