Need all the help you can get right now? Tighten up your keyword strategy for some quick wins.

Are we being a little too obvious when we say that hotels and tourism businesses need all the help they can get right now? Probably, but it’s true. A sound hospitality/hotel marketing strategy is more important than ever these days – and this process begins with keyword research.

COVID-19 has caused the hospitality industry’s estimated global revenue to decrease by around 34.7 percent compared to last year. Restaurants are closed. Hotels are shut down indefinitely. Tours, excursions, and fun activities have been put on pause.

Most tourism businesses are clinging to the hope of a resurgence in travel (or even a sudden boost) once COVID-19 has passed and quarantines come to an end. To encourage this trend as much as possible, many businesses are reworking their SEO strategies. They want to give their online presence an extra jump to prepare for travel’s return.

Let’s talk about the best SEO tips for hoteliers and tourism professionals who need to research the right keywords. These tidbits of advice will ensure you’re finding and using keywords correctly so that you can draw in online searchers pronto.

1. Understand Your Searcher’s Intent

Search intent is the SEO foundation of any restaurant, resort, or hotel marketing strategy. This is a keyword research factor that’s sometimes overlooked – but in reality, it’s one of the keys to successfully drawing in more organic users.

What is “search intent”? Essentially, it’s the “why” in this whole equation. Why is someone searching for your hotel or others like it? Why are they in need of answers or solutions? Why would they stumble across your website and actually look at it?

Understanding the reasoning behind searchers’ actions allows you to place yourself in their line of sight. Google bases its search results off of predictions about user intent – so if you hop on this bandwagon, you’ll have a much better chance of appearing in relevant results more frequently.

Additionally, thinking about user intent ties into lifestyle marketing allows you to figure out where most of your audience is in the “discovery and purchase” process.

Image Source: Search Engine Land

Are you targeting searchers who are in the “awareness” stage, searching for general information on your tourist destination or your type of offering? Or are you hoping to reach customers who are in the “purchase” phase, ready to book their next vacation? 

Depending on the phase your searchers might be in, you’ll need to research and implement different kinds of keywords into your hospitality marketing plan. There are four main keyword categories we’re referencing:

Image Source: Marketing Land

Navigational Keywords

In this instance, keywords are targeting a searcher who is on the hunt for a specific website. They’re going directly to a URL, not conducting general searches on Google. A few keyword examples might include “Tripadvisor,” “Airbnb,” or “Yelp.”

Informational Keywords

Informational keywords target users on the hunt for answers. They’re asking questions, either in full sentences or through search terms. Picture a user who’s typing in phrases like “How many beaches are on Maui?” or “hotels in Costa Rica.” These guys are researching, and informational keywords reflect that.

Commercial Investigation

Now we come to the user who is ready to buy but who hasn’t chosen a specific offering yet. They’re weighing options, looking for comparisons, and trying to come to a decision. Think of keywords such as “reviews of ___ hotel” or “comparison of DSLR versus digital cameras.”


Finally, we’re ready to talk about the user who is ready to buy – for real. They’re using terms like “coupon,” “order,” “buy,” etc. These active keywords reflect their intent to make a purchasing decision immediately.

To sum it all up, understanding user intent helps you know what people want and why they want it. Then, you can figure out where they are in the discovery process and what kind of keywords will pack the biggest punch your hospitality marketing strategy.

By now you’re probably asking, “how do I determine my users’ intent?”

The short answer?

Look at the top search engine results for your desired topic of discussion. You’ll quickly get a feel for how other brands are interpreting user intent and what people are really looking for. 

Don’t worry – you’ll get a better feel for this as we move on to discussing keyword brainstorming strategies.

RELATED: 3 B2B Hospitality Sales Practices to Adopt During COVID-19

2. Pick the Right Keyword Brainstorming Topic 

Now that you hopefully have thought more about your user’s intent, it’s time to talk about how you brainstorm keyword topics and hotel marketing ideas.

You might know you want to target a specific word, such as “Crossfit,” but how do you come up with other related keywords and phrases? The answer is simpler than you think.

Start your brainstorming session where most searchers start their journeys: on Google.

Image Source: Two Wheels Marketing

 Google’s autofill search bar will provide you with a plethora of keyword topics and phrases to add to your brainstorming session.

As you can see with the Crossfit example, Google immediately began to suggest other common searches associated with the word. All of these would likely make strong keywords to include, write posts on, or research more.

Understanding user intent and brainstorming go hand-in-hand in any restaurant, resort, or hotel marketing strategy. As you understand what your user is really looking for, and do research via Google’s autofill, you’ll get a better picture of what direction your SEO plan should go in.

Image Source: ConestogaLRC Slideshare

Our suggestion is to embrace a tactic similar to the one depicted above. Choose a main keyword topic, then branch out into sub-topics and simpler terms to find more keywords and niche concepts.

 For instance, let’s say you work for an Oregon whale touring company. Your main keyword/topic might be “whale tours,” but you could quickly break that down into subtopics with different kinds of keywords such as “booking whale tours,” “eco-friendly whale excursions,” and “Oregon whales up close.”

 This is where your knowledge of navigational, informational, commercial, and transactional keywords comes into play. Give your brainstorming session a splash of variety by targeting the different kinds of keywords that best apply to your business and its potential customers.

 If you’re ever lost on your hunt for keyword topics to spark your research, take a look at what your competitors are using. Just remember: it doesn’t hurt to branch out from the most commonly used terms in your industry every once in a while.

3. Understand Long-Tail Keywords

 Tip number three is something you might have already picked up on from our keyword examples in this post thus far. In 2020, we’re far removed from one-word keywords and fully embracing “long-tail” keywords, which are more like phrases than independent words.

Image Source: SEMrush

The graph above indicates a concept that’s been proven true many times. Long-tail keywords typically have low search volume but high conversion rates. On the other hand, there are huge search volumes for short keywords, but often very low conversion rates.

 So, if you’re a hospitality business that actually wants to boost revenue through keyword research, you can’t just stick to the simple words. It’s time to research phrases and questions that are highly specific with a great chance of converting.

 Let’s talk about how you can find long-tail keywords by starting with a broad, simple term. Once again, we return to Google’s suggestion box. If you search your broadest keyword, like “NYC hostels,” on Google, what phrases and questions are commonly paired with the term? Those are your long-tail keywords.

 Long-tail keywords typically provide excellent fodder for your web content, as well as your blog posts. If you’re ever in need of some inspiration for your future hospitality marketing plan, look at the questions that your searchers are asking in relation to your top keywords.

 If your top broad keyword is San Diego restaurants, what are people researching? The more you see people talking about “vegan green eco-friendly restaurants in San Diego,” the more you’ll realize that’s a topic you might need to address if you want to draw in a large audience.

 Using long-tail keywords isn’t just a trick – it’s a vital part of any keyword strategy in 2020. Go for specificity rather than the high-volume keywords.

4. Target Low-Competition Terms if Necessary

 Speaking of not maxing out high-volume keywords, let’s talk about how low-competition keywords can sometimes be a lifesaver in restaurant or hotel marketing.

 If you’re really struggling to gain traction with the new keywords you added on your website, you might be putting the cart before the horse and using keywords that are simply too difficult to rank with. This is where it would actually be smarter to mix in some low-ranking, localized keywords with your content strategy.

 When Google pulls results for searchers, it pulls based on a few things, including relevancy and location. Local keywords might not be uber-popular, but for that area, they’re super strong.

If your hospitality marketing plan has been targeting hugely popular keywords like “vacation” and “resort” for the past several years, it’s time to switch things up. Go for the niche, less popular keywords that will be more impactful to a more focused customer segment.

 Continuing to fight for the broad keywords against massive corporations with powerful online presence is a stretch, and you’ll likely struggle to rank forever.

5. Use the Right Keyword Tools

Finally, we’re going to tell you to take the easy route like the rest of us in 2020 and use some revolutionary keyword tools. We’ve got cars that drive themselves and robotic vacuums – why should you still do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to keyword research?


Image Source: KW Finder

There are dozens of options out there – like Keyword Finder – that will help you learn about all of the concepts we’ve discussed in this post: long-tail keywords, search volumes, locations, etc. Plus, they’ll help you monitor the success of your keyword usage and correct it when necessary.

Some of our other favorite paid keyword tools include:



This keyword resource is as easy to use as it seems. All you have to do is register (for free) and begin searching for your broad keywords. The tool will automatically pull information to help you pick stronger, better keyword options and phrases.

Right now, it’s estimated that SEMRush can provide up to 14 million keyword ideas for just a single term search.



With Moz’s Keyword Explorer, you can search by keyword or by URL. That means you can use your competitors’ sites to spark your own list of relevant keywords and branch out from there. As long as you have a Moz account, you can access a whole host of SEO tools and suggestions.


With how much information Ahrefs keyword tool provides, it’s pretty surprising that the product only costs $99/month. You’ll learn how to get more search traffic, grow your business, and master keyword implementation.

 Still, if you want to start out with one of the free options on this list, we won’t blame you.

Some of our favorites include:


This free tool from Neil Patel is a browser-based app that gives you fantastic data on keywords, trending questions, and which content is ranking for your chosen keyword. For a free tool, this is about as good as it can possibly get!

What’s My SERP

If you ever used the Keywords Everywhere extension, this one is pretty much the same – only it’s free. As you can see, the extension will give you keyword data on each of your Google searches, as well as related keywords and their data. The information you get from this nifty tool is surface level, but super convenient for quick keyword research.

Not only will using these apps make your life easier, but it will also bring you up to par with other marketing teams in your industry. If you want to play with the big boys, you’ve got to bring big guns (and software) to the table.

In Conclusion

Will we see travel and hospitality businesses bounce back quickly after COVID-19? No one can say for sure, but what we do know is that fighting for user attention online is more important than ever right now.

Use the tips in this article to spearhead your keyword research. Focus on understanding your users deeply and what they want from your website. Embrace long-tail keywords that aren’t as popular but are extremely adept at converting searchers into customers.

Download the tools you need to make your website shine during this trying time. Using the right keywords can make or break a hospitality company’s bounce-back. Don’t be one of the companies that fails to make keyword improvements and stand up against the competition.

Have any questions about SEO for your restaurant, resort, or hotel marketing strategy? Let’s connect. Get in touch with LURE today!