With so many distractions when a potential guest research for a hotel, any additional piece of information could mean everything. Imagine you’ve shortlisted a hotel you’d like to explore further, typed in the hotel name into Google, and the following results appear.
The first result comes from the official website of the hotel. But if you look slightly downwards, you get to see additional information you might be interested. Information like ratings, reviews, and even room rates. Without even clicking any further, you’re able to self-qualify if this hotel is suitable for you, saving you precious time. Chances are, you will click into one of those that provide the information you’d like to explore further. Don’t you?
Schema markup, similar to HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), is a kind of machine language and Schema.org is a markup vocabulary for structured data developed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex. The goal of creating a structured data markup is that all search engines can understand and to use this information to create a better user experience.
Chances are, your brand website has not implemented the full spectrum of Hotel Schemas. Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ Senior Search Engine Marketing Specialist, Ng Efei said, “Even with its great potential, it remains as a cutting edge technology. Only Online Travel Agencies and a handful of hotel chains have the resources to implement them comprehensively onto their website.”
If the hotel outsourced search engine optimization to a third party agency, the agency might sometimes propose to build some static, necessary schemas like hotel name, location, room types, etc. But dynamic schemas, such as offers or from-rates, often gets left alone due to its technical constraint.
Even though Hotel Schemas affects Search Engine Results Page (SERP), it should not be a topic discussed within Search Engine Optimization’s scope of work. It is recommended to treat this as technical requirements either addressed during the planning phase of developing a new website or be considered when upgrading an existing site.
Be it a new website or to update an existing, it would be easier if a content management system is managing the site. It is because, whenever a content management system is used to administer a site, each section of the website, like the rooms page, offers page, etc. is built using a template. For example, the page’s header and footer remain the same throughout the website and the offers page title, content, images are inserted by the CMS. Since template are used to build a page, and the CMS stores the content, Hotels Schemas can also be introduced quickly. Just a few extra lines of codes in the template, we can format the content stored in the CMS into useful schemas for the search engines to crawl and understand.
Room-rates is another valuable information to be published as Hotel Schemas (see screenshot above). It enables potential guests to self-qualify whether the hotel/room is what they are searching. As rates change frequently and a separate system such as Central Reservation System manages it, it is important to pull the information into the website via an application programming interface (API) and publish the information through Hotel Schemas.
There are many ways to implement Hotel Schemas on the brand website, and we’ve only covered a few. Talk to your website vendor/master, not SEO agency, on how to capitalize the cutting edge technology sooner, rather than later.