Industry Update
Press Release23 November 2010

Cornell Report Demonstrates How to Optimize a Hotel Website for Search Engines

Analysis of St. James Hotel's website explains how to locate a property in a search page's "Golden Triangle"

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The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University

Ithaca, NY -- One of the newest strategies for hotel room distribution is search engine marketing, which involves making sure that a hotel is featured prominently when search engine users type a particular query, such as when they use Google or Bing. The key to making this strategy work is to optimize the hotel's website with keywords that match the most likely search terms. A new report from Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) demonstrates how this process works, based on the case of the St. James Hotel, in Red Wing, Minnesota. The report, "Best Practices in Search Engine Marketing and Optimization: The Case of the St. James Hotel," is available at no charge from the CHR at .


The report details how a team of Cornell students led by assistant professor Chris Anderson analyzed the situation of the St. James's website, making recommendations to optimize the site for Google search. "Search engine marketing includes bidding on keywords, of course, but hotels can optimize their sites without much expense," Anderson explained. "Our team identified the keywords that put the St. James in what's called the 'Golden Triangle,' which is where people look first when they see a page of Google hits. Basically, it's the top of the page."

Search engine optimization is based on the idea of making sure that your hotel's site appears near the top of the search engine listings when a would-be guest types a keyword query into the search engine. Optimization requires an understanding of the techniques that search engines use to present the most relevant page hits for each search query. To make sure that your pages are included in the "relevant" group, your website must include a logical presentation of appropriate keywords on each page, including tags and page headers. Other elements that make a page "relevant" to the search engines is a site map and incoming links from other websites.

The recommendations made by the student team, Greg Bodenlos, Victor Bogert, Dan Gordon, and Carter Hearne, resulted in making the St. James the most prominent property on a Google search of hotels in Red Wing, Minnesota. All four are now graduates of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. In addition to search engine optimization, the report explains how to use the features Google's local search for additional hits. Located just not far from the Mississippi River in downtown Red Wing, the 63-room St. James Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America.

Meet and interact with Professor Anderson, an active member of the executive education faculty, at the School of Hotel Administration, when he presents sessions in the Professional Development Program: .

Thanks to the support of the CHR partners listed below, all publications posted on the center's website are available free of charge, at .

About The Center for Hospitality Research

A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 81 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit .

Center Senior Partners: Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and TIG Global

Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., HVS, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Maritz, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Schneider Electric, Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, and WATG

Center Friends: • American Tescor, LLC • Argyle Executive Forum • Berkshire Healthcare • Center for Advanced Retail Technology • Cody Kramer Imports • Cruise Industry News • DK Shifflet & Associates • • EyeforTravel • Gerencia de Hoteles & Restaurantes • Global Hospitality Resources • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) • • • Hospitality Technology Magazine • Hotel Asia Pacific • Hotel China • • Hotel Interactive • Hotel Resource • HotelWorld Network • International CHRIE • International Hotel Conference • International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) • iPerceptions • JDA Software Group, Inc. • J.D. Power and Associates • Lodging Hospitality • Lodging Magazine • LRA Worldwide, Inc. • Milestone Internet Marketing • MindFolio • Mindshare Technologies • PhoCusWright • PKF Hospitality Research • The Resort Trades • RealShare Hotel Investment & Finance Summit • Resort and Recreation Magazine • • Shibata Publishing Co. • Synovate • The Lodging Conference • The Wall Street Journal • TravelCLICK • UniFocus • USA Today • WageWatch, Inc. • WIWIH.COM

Glenn Withiam
Phone: 607.255.3025
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