When you run an independent property it’s pretty easy to understand you need an individual website for your business but it can be a bit harder to know if that’s the right choice when your property is part of a larger brand. Does it make sense to have your own website for your specific location or does it hurt the brand as a whole on an SEO level? For example, is it better to be brand.com/individual-property or individualproperty.com?
Let's look at The Curtis in downtown Denver which is a part of the DoubleTree family. Which website do you think is more engaging and shows off the brand better?
We’re here to make the case that it does make sense to have a vanity website or individual website for your property’s location. Why do we think that?
Better targeting and SEO options
You can utilize better keywords and SEO best practices for your property and region instead of having to rely on broad search terms that the main brand uses. You can also target travelers that are looking at a particular destination or things to do instead of travelers that are loyal to a particular brand.
Now, we’re not saying you should make a vanity website just to make a vanity website. Like everything online, it should be of value to the searchers who will visit the website. It shouldn’t exist just to have a link back to the parent company’s site – doing it that way could incur a penalty from Google as it looks like spam.
How can you make sure your site doesn’t look like spam?
- Publish quality and informative content. Spammy sites have thin content and often rely on keyword-stuffing to show up in the search engines. Implement your keywords but make sure the content around the keywords is relevant to the page and helps travelers understand your property. Do not just copy the information from your brand’s listing! The content on your website should be original. You should have about 40 – 50 pages of unique content.
- Update your website regularly – this can be done by posting blogs about your city or editing an events calendar with fresh information.
Showcases local information and a unique experience
On the larger brand website, each property is plopped into a templated design and doesn’t really make it feel unique or authentic to its location. Today’s guests are investing in travel for distinctive experiences and your property’s representation on a brand website may lack the personality behind your property or showcase its unique amenities and features.
The differences in how the property lists its rooms on the brand site and vanity site are huge:
Provides in-depth information
Not only can you have pages dedicated to your rooms, amenities, and special offers, you can create pages with attraction and activity information from a local’s perspective. Again, guests are looking for experiences and you can help them plan their stay outside of picking their accommodations by sharing information on things to do, things to see, or even creating engaging city guides or itineraries for specific travelers.
Customizable and manageable
By having a vanity website, you can easily add pages or edit the information yourself instead of relying on the brand’s webmaster to make changes for you in a timely manner. Google wants to see websites putting out fresh content and updating content frequently, meaning you could have a better ranking in the search engines and therefore having more searchers come across your website.
Another benefit of a vanity website is that you can showcase your social media networks instead of sending all that traffic to the main brand’s accounts.
Your vanity website and brand.com listing should work together and not against each other. But having a vanity website gives you the opportunity to manage it yourself, share localized information, and draw in travelers that aren’t concerned with brand loyalty.