Localization and SEO for Online Travel + Hospitality Industries

by Louise Law, Welocalize Marketing Manager

Glass WorldThe travel industry was probably one of the first to use the Internet in order to reach out to a maximum number of consumers. Many travelers and tourists rely on the Internet to book travel, seek reviews, give and receive advice and basically communicate about their travel experiences.

Due to the big growth in Internet users speaking the top 10 languages, an additional investment into translating websites and content is a sensible choice for travel, tourism and hospitality organizations worldwide.

Consumers prefer reading content in their native language. Research findings from independent research firm Common Sense Advisory* (CSA), in February 2013 show that it takes 12 languages to reach 80% of the world’s online audience and 21 to reach 90%.

Because 73% of Iinternet users browse non-English pages (Miniwatts Marketing Group, June 2012, www.internetworldstats.com), it makes sense for all global travel organisations to make localization a priority and benefit from optimized search. According to Amazon’s web information company, Alexa.com, out of the world’s top 20 websites, 6 of the landing home pages are not in English. Sites rank higher with more visitors and better SEO when they offer a higher number of languages.

According to the European Travel Commission Digital Portal, “It is crucial that inspiring and engaging content is provided in consumers’ mother tongue in order for consumers to be able to understand content on websites and support them in their travel decision making process.”

Considering all the changes in tourism, it is absolutely crucial to monitor developments with regards to search engines in order to adapt the strategies to these changes in consumer behavior (Mashable 2010).

Having your digital content in all your target languages is great; however, you also need to make sure your multilingual customers can FIND you. The search landscape is still dominated by the big 5: Google, Baidu, Yahoo, Yandex and Microsoft (including Bing) according to Search Engine Land, 2013.  Are you taking full advantage of the worldwide landscape?

Why optimize multilingually?

  • Investing in source language SEO-work will not benefit all entire global customer-base and you miss out on global revenues
  • It’s a better user experience
  • It increases your long tail traffic once indexed by Google, you get a marked uplift in tail traffic
  • Makes a better base for competing for head terms
  • It increases the efficiency of PPC (pay per click). Google algorithm looks for and interprets landing pages associated with the search term.

In case you were wondering, here are your top ten online languages……

  1. English – 27%
  2. Chinese – 25%
  3. Spanish – 8%
  4. Japanese – 5%
  5. Portuguese – 4%
  6. German – 4%
  7. Arabic –3% 
  8. French – 3%
  9. Russian – 3%
  10. Korean – 2%

(Other – 17%) Source: “Number of Internet Users by Language”, Internet World Stats, Miniwatts Marketing Group, 31 May 2011.

If you would like to learn more about Welocalize’s travel industry experience and our SEO solutions, our recent release Louvre Hotels Group Selects Welocalize as Localization Partner.

This is an abridged and updated version of an article by Louise Law which was first published in Infinity Magazine, May 2013 and Communicator Magazine, summer 2013.