Keyword Planning for Hotel Site SEO in Post-Pandemic China

Learn how hotels can plan their keywords to maximize SEO in China’s new travel normal.

Even as restrictions lift and life moves into a new normal, COVID-19 has left B2C brands reeling; for example, tourism, restaurant, and transportation industries continue to suffer heavy losses.

However, as pandemic prevention and work resumption progresses, the operations of China’s tourism industry have gradually improved.

From total lockdown during the Spring Festival to gradual recovery during the Qingming Festival, May Day and Dragon Boat Festival, domestic tourism is recovering generally linearly in China.

And since entering the summer months, many high-end hotel buffets and gyms have reopened, and hotel occupancy rates have also increased to approximately 60% for Accor, Hyatt, and other top hotel groups.

In this article, we’ll discuss how hotels can plan their keywords to maximize SEO in China’s new travel normal.

Hotel Site SEO in China

SEO is one of the most critical digital marketing methods, particularly for the long-term, which is where many brands are refocusing post-pandemic. Some companies have even reduced PPC budgets to focus on SEO and content marketing on Baidu, China’s #1 search engine.

Keyword planning is an essential step in SEO work—it can make or break a hotel’s SEO strategy. Hotel customers will use myriad keywords to search on Baidu for relevant information about myriad accommodations and offers. As a hotel marketer, you must capture those critical keywords in your content so that customers can find your website—not your competitors’.

This becomes a classification problem to solve by optimizing for the search intent behind the keywords used to find your content.

In terms of search intent, hotel keywords can be divided into brand keywords and product/service keywords.

Hotel Site SEO in China: Brand Keywords

For many established hotels, their brand names are recognizable and often searched. If people are searching for your brand or hotels by name, they’re likely deeper within your sales funnel. Branded keywords have higher conversion rates when compared to non-branded terms.

For brands or hotels well-known enough for branded search terms to be relevant to users, it’s critical to understand exactly how users discover your hotels—which terms they use in their local language to find your brand name—so you can target these branded search terms in your content.

Below are some examples of Chinese-language keywords used to find English-language hotel brand names.

KeywordTranslationBaidu Monthly Searches
上海w酒店Shanghai W Hotel4,839
上海四季酒店Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai3,035
上海外滩悦榕庄酒店Banyan Tree Shanghai On The Bund2,387
上海香格里拉酒店Shangri-La Hotel Shanghai2,119
上海浦东文华东方酒店Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai1,131

Brand Keyword Examples

Hotel Site SEO in China: Product/Service Keywords

Product or service keywords are those related to specific products or services sold by a hotel.

For example, if a traveler wants to stay at a hotel in Tokyo for a business trip, he/she may directly search for “Tokyo business hotel” on Baidu. This is a generic product/service keyword. Such keywords can be among the first considerations for hotel site SEO, as they cast a wide net for potential customers.

Hotel product/service keywords can be divided into 4 categories:

  • Property type
  • Location
  • Hotel amenities
  • Exclusive features

Property Type

In a post-COVID-19 China, people are preferring high-quality hotels for business trips and travel. High-quality means better service and hygiene, making people feel more at ease and safer as they are staying outside of their homes.

In China, the quality of a hotel is generally expressed by stars, and the more stars, the better the hotel. In recent months, keyword phrases that include “five-star hotels” have attracted more attention with higher search volumes.

Ensure that your hotel website includes compelling content with keywords about your hotel’s property type (i.e. luxury, resort, star level, etc.) to get more traffic.

KeywordTranslationBaidu Monthly Searches
上海五星级酒店Five Star Hotels in Shanghai2,153
上海四星级酒店Four Star Hotels in Shanghai298
上海三星级酒店Three Star Hotels in Shanghai253
上海豪华酒店Luxury Hotels in Shanghai217

Property Type Keyword Examples

Location (Cities & Popular Business Districts)

People tend to want to stay near popular attractions and business areas. If your hotel is nearby to these, you can cover location-related keywords, which bring a higher conversion rate and thus better SEO.

Take Shanghai as an example:

  • The Bund is a very popular area. Many people will search “Shanghai Bund hotel” or “hotels near Shanghai Bund.”
  • Disneyland also receives significant search attention for people who wish to stay near the attraction in Shanghai; people often search for “hotels near Disneyland,” for example.

Even if you’re not in close proximity to tourist destinations in your area, you may wish to still include how the distance your hotel is to these locations, for example, a quick 15-minute taxi ride to the Bund in Shanghai or an easy 20-minute train ride to Shanghai Disneyland.

Capturing locational keywords in your content not only helps your audience understand your proximity but more importantly shows that you understand your audience’s needs by clearly articulating that proximity.

KeywordTranslationBaidu Monthly Searches
上海外滩酒店Shanghai Bund Hotel1,317
上海外滩附近酒店Hotels near Shanghai Bund1,174
浦东机场附近酒店Hotels near Pudong Airport544
上海迪士尼周边酒店Shanghai Disneyland Hotels513

Location Keyword Examples

Hotel Amenities

Hotel amenities that receive significant search attention include weddings, conferences, and family-friendliness. In fact, there is significant demand for family travel at the moment, as many families travel with their children during the summer, autumn, and winter holidays.

Summer vacation is in July and August. Autumn vacation is during Golden Week (the first week of October). And winter vacation is in February.

If your hotel has family rooms, kids’ clubs, family dining packages, etc., include these keywords in your content.

KeywordTranslationBaidu Monthly Searches
上海亲子酒店Shanghai Family Hotels1,218
杭州亲子酒店Hangzhou Family Hotels803
北京亲子酒店Beijing Family Hotels767

Parent-Child and Family Keyword Examples

Unfortunately, the search demand for wedding and conference hotels has decreased during the pandemic. It is worth noting, however, that as work resumes and the pandemic eases, at the end of the year, many large companies may choose to hold their annual meetings in-person, and they will need hotels with large meeting rooms.

If your hotel provides such services and conference rooms, you can also target these amenity keywords.

KeywordTranslationBaidu Monthly Searches
上海婚宴酒店Shanghai Wedding Hotel268
上海商务酒店Shanghai Business Hotels265
上海会议酒店Shanghai Conference Hotel118

Wedding and Conference Keyword Examples

Exclusive Features

Some hotels offer exclusive features, such as spas or hot springs. And people choose these hotels not only to have a vacation, but also to have a relaxing experience. For example, when the weather is hot, many people tend to go to hotels with swimming pools, and when the weather is cold, many people tend to go to hotels with hot springs.

If your hotel offers these types of exclusive features, it’s critical to include related keywords in your content so that your target customers can find you.

KeywordTranslationBaidu Monthly Searches
上海温泉酒店Shanghai Hot Spring Hotel185
上海Spa酒店Shanghai spa hotels68
上海泳池酒店Shanghai Hotels with a Pool84
北京温泉酒店Beijing Hot Spring Hotel553
昆明温泉酒店Kunming Hot Spring Hotel1,139

Exclusive Features Keyword Examples

It is worth noting that the search volume examples in this article represent data taken from mid-August 2020 through the Baidu keyword planner tool; this data is constantly changing. It’s also important to consider the hotel business cycle (low season and peak season) to find the most suitable terms. Finally, while finding the right keywords for your hotel is critical, it is also critical to create corresponding compelling content so that users can find your website, want to click on it, and convert into guests.

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In a post-COVID-19 world, hotel digital marketers should plan, research, and optimize keywords within the above-mentioned categories to not just capture traffic but give relevant information to potential guests.

It’s particularly important to find diverse ways to drive traffic and conversions for the travel industry, as it has struggled in the wake of COVID-19, but there is still tremendous opportunity in China’s new normal.

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