Did you know that question and answer website Quora gets around 200 million unique visitors a month and is the 114th most trafficked site in the world. That’s a lot of people searching for answers. A quick search on Quora, targeting the hotel industry, specifically, tells us that thousands of people have a lot of questions related to their journeys. The topic “Hotels” on Quora has over 1.3 million followers. Drill down to “hotel recommendations” and you’ll find dozens of topics with a multitude of questions and answers. If you own a hotel, wouldn’t you want to be part of these conversations?
Be There to Provide Solutions
The hospitality industry is undergoing major disruption and the customers’ path to booking has become a multi-faceted venture strewn with potholes. For traditional hotels, providing the best solution is often hampered by third-party booking systems and information overload in terms of options. Competitors like Airbnb, are seeing their valuation soar beyond industry giants like Marriott. Hotels are struggling to integrate technology that is sustainable and still yields a frictionless experience.
What typifies the sharing economy is the ability of competitors like Airbnb to facilitate optimum “be there” moments. According to Google, these moments define brand awareness and can make the difference between customers choosing you on their decision journey, or another competitor. Providing solutions at the right time is key.
Incidentally, this is where Airbnb wins. Hosts and guests can communicate directly and this fulfills travelers’ greatest needs: to get the right information at the right time. Any number of unforeseen events can impact travel plans. One of the advantages of Airbnb is that people are able to reach out to a host and get more detailed information that solves an immediate problem. If your hotel is able to field problems and offer satisfying solutions in a similar way, then half the booking battle is conquered.
Go Where the Questions Are
An old copywriting adage says, “know your customers’ pain points.” Once you figure out what they need to resolve, you can step in and offer the solution. However, it isn’t always that easy. Often, people simply can’t articulate the problems they’re trying to solve. Well, Quora gives you the problems, point blank. People are asking directly for help and they want specific answers: “What is a good hotel booking engine alternative to iHotelier? How do you find the best-discounted hotel deals? What are some travel hacks for finding the best deals on hotels?”
So here’s a big takeaway: Lots of people are looking for deals. If I want to position my hotel, I’d post all my hotel’s seasonal deals at my brand’s company blog on Quora. Better yet, I’d respond to some of the questions posed. For instance, during the summer, families do more traveling. There are lots of questions about which hotels are family-friendly. Do you offer childcare services for your guests? If so, Quora is the perfect place to make that known. Consistently respond to queries and offer viable solutions and you’ll begin to build an audience.
Use “Micro-Moments” to Answer Questions
People are turning to Quora for recommendations in what Google defines as, travel “micro-moments.” These are the touchpoints a customer travels through in order to make a purchase. Or as Google interprets it, micro-moments are “decision points when a well-positioned brand can influence a consumer.” Well-positioned is the operative phrase here and that requires being where the customers are. Quora hands you travel customers—you only need to position yourself as a go-to authority by answering questions and providing useful information.
Instead of boasting about your hotel’s accolades, offer insightful answers that add legitimate value. Use the “stats” feature to see how your posts are performing and invite people to follow you. The Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, and Marriot all have a presence on Quora, but they aren’t participating actively in the conversation. They’re missing out on the premier feature of Quora; direct engagement. A boutique hotel could easily muscle in on the big boys’ territory with well-thought out answers to travelers’ queries. In the process, you’ll build authority and possibly carve out a niche for your brand. The goal is to build your reputation and drive customers to your website.
Quora Is SEO Friendly
You’ll get a trackback every time someone cites your blog or web site and that increases search engine rankings, creating the potential for more lead generation. Quora is also appearing in more long tail keyword searches—another advantage that will boost your brand’s influence.
Travel brands are still challenged by integrating new data sources into their marketing efforts but to successfully compete, hotels have to deliver a highly personalized travel experience. They have to anticipate travel preferences and behaviors. Sites like Quora are providing a lens into that behavior. What amenities people expect and what they value when traveling can be found in the questions posed. Quora is one place where you can take advantage of the conversation and position your hotel as a solution to travel challenges.