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SEO Example from Real Life: How being on top of search engines can make you leader in your offline business

Dec 2, 2009   //   by Jens Buch   //   Real-Life Examples  //  1 Comment

As Luxair was playing crazy again with their prices, I decided to catch the train from Luxembourg to Frankfurt at 42€ rather than catching the Luxair flight at 330€. I will not get too much into that now… I will write a separate post on Luxair and their retarded pricing policies another time. Right now I want to share my hotel experience in the Frankfurt Airport area.

As all I need is a clean place to sleep before I catch my morning flight to San Francisco, I google’d ‘preiswert frankfurt airport hotel’. I google in German, as an English search will just give me the large portals and hotel chains that are either over priced or leaves me browsing hotel portals for ages. I find ‘Motel-One’ as the first organic result.

SERP-frankfurt-airport-hotel

When clicking through, I get a nice clean website that tells me what I want to know and doesn’t over-inform me with all kinds of irrelevant crap. So perfect, this is what I need – I go ahead and reserve my room without entering information that is none of their business anyway (such as what flight I will be taking from the airport etc).

motel-one-website

At the airport, a shuttle bus picks me up (free of charge) to take me to the hotel. It is a 10 minute drive that takes me to an ‘office village’ close to frankfurt airport. I can’t help but see lots (and I mean lots) of ‘to let’ banners on the office buildings in the area. Definitely not much activity going on here…The shuttle bus drops me off just outside the ‘Motel One’. Across the street is a similar hotel called ‘B&B Hotel’. Same size, same concept, same ‘49€ per night’ advertising outside. The only difference: all the lights are off on the floors of the B&B Hotel. In short – the hotel is empty. Motel One on the other hand has lights in the rooms on all 6 floors and there are people in the lobby. I enter with the feeling that I made a good choice…

Being the internet geek that I am, it is very important for me to have internet access. The friendly staff at reception informs me that there is free internet in the lobby, and at 12€ for 24 hours (or 4€ per individual hour) I can have wireless access in my room. I of course take the flat rate option. 12€ is a lot of money to access the internet for 24 hours, but compared to other European hotels, this is a fair price. When I go outside to smoke, I notice that there are many people in the lobby on their laptops benefiting from the free internet access there. Each of them are having a drink and some even a sandwich as well.

So now to the conclusion. In my eyes this experience is a very strong illustration of the power of good online marketing. We have a hotel in an area that expected lots of business from nearby office buildings. As the offices are all unoccupied, the hotels will not get any business from there. The B&B Hotel is suffering from this, while Motel One has invested in Search Engine Optimization that brings them business because they are on the first page of google results for good generic search phrases. It doesn’t stop here! Because Motel-One’s customers find the hotel via the internet, chances are quite high that these are people who spend their time online. The hotel understands this, and give people two options. Either have internet in your room and pay for it, or come to the lobby and use it for free. The hotel then banks on people buying drinks and/or food when they are using the internet in the lobby. So not only does Motel One have more customers than its competitor – they are also generating additional income by providing internet access and/or food & drinks. Great work Motel One – back to the drawing board B&B Hotel.
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