It seems simple, right? Pick a name that is memorable and fits your brand, or choose one that holds personal meaning. But the name you finally decide upon can mean so much more to your success – never underestimate the power of a carefully chosen name.
Numerous resources are available to guide you through this naming process, but they often overlook a critical detail – the hidden costs associated if you get the name wrong.
In this blog post, we aim to bridge that gap by highlighting potential hazards and ongoing costs you might encounter along the way.
The Obvious Costs of Naming a Hotel
Where do we start? With the obvious pitfalls of getting your hotel name wrong, of course.
Embarking on the naming process without caution could lead you into a trap that could cost you in marketing dollars, turn off potential guests and damage your bottom line. So, watch out for these obvious blunders:
- Names that are bland or easily forgettable – we’ve all seen them, the vanilla hotel name that you can never remember or always get the name the wrong way round and call it something different. This danger is obvious, yet it’s still astounding how many hotels fall into this trap.
- Names that don’t resonate with your target audience – these hotels seem to target an audience different from the actual customers they should be attracting.
- Names that are overly complicated or difficult to pronounce – leaving aside the language aspect of this, we often see hotel names that are excessively elaborate, try to incorporate every geographical location into their name, or simply end up as a list of the services they offer.
The Not-So-Obvious Costs of Naming a Hotel
There’s no escaping that hotels are digital businesses and the start of most stays happen online. However, a whole different set of rules surrounds naming conventions on the internet. Name your hotel wrong and you are not only competing with your compset and OTAs, but any other industry that has any similarity in name.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Issues
Think of how Google determines what a search engine user is looking for when they type into the search bar. Google needs to establish what they’re looking for, who they’re intending to visit, and what their intent is upon arrival. That’s a lot to understand from what could be only a few words typed in.
This means Google doesn’t necessarily get it right the first time and if you have named your hotel The ABC Hotel, New York and there’s an Hotel ABC, Houston, you can see how Google is going to struggle.
So, what do you need to consider to avoid online naming issues?
- Names that are strikingly similar to another property – this situation often occurs with properties in different geographical locations that have the same or similar names. It’s obviously much worse when you have two hotels that have similar names in the same city, which happens far more often than it should. Also think internationally as well as domestically.
- Names already used within the industry – again obvious, but we’ve seen examples of trademarked sub-branded names being suggested at early naming stages.
- Names that are used outside the industry – this is a consistent problem and is made worse if the business is bigger than your hotel. Google should filter this out based on search user’s intent, but not always.
- Names that aren’t future-proofed and may not survive SEO changes – this is more remote, but always worth considering a final check with an SEO professional.
The impact of the issues above could create unnecessary competition for your SEO efforts. That could lead to less traffic, lower direct contribution and more expense to ensure your website is optimized (you can check how well your hotel website is optimised using our free SEO grader).
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Issues
PPC marketing is an essential part of any hotel direct marketing contribution, but the name of your hotel can cripple your return on investment before you even start. PPC uses an auction system to determine how much you pay for each click, so the more competition for businesses bidding on a keyword, the more you will have to pay.
This auction has rules and is governed by algorithms to determine where your ad is placed and how much you will be charged. If you fall foul of some of the issues mentioned above, this can lead to wasted clicks when your ad is displayed at the wrong time.
However, there are broader issues often overlooked until it’s too late:
- Adding geographical terms to your hotel name – in general, non-brand search terms are more expensive than brand terms (there’s more competition for these from the OTAs willing to pay more click fees). This has a knock-on effect when adding geographical terms as part of your hotel name – search engines often struggle to distinguish between non-brand and brand searches when they are included in your hotel name. We regularly see hotels charged a premium for brand terms because of this.
- Geographical location directly influences the PPC cost – Search engines are global, but have local constraints. We have seen the cost per click vary greatly based on the country your hotel is located in.
- Lengthy hotel names can be a problem – while this doesn’t have a financial cost associated with it, character limits in PPC ads can directly impact how your hotel name is displayed.
Golden Rules for Naming a Hotel
This list is not exhaustive, but it’s based on our experience managing digital marketing campaigns for thousands of hotels.
- Don’t use the street name/number as a hotel name – this falls into the Geographical location issue and in most cases drives up your PPC costs.
- Pick a unique name – don’t be too abstract, but try to pick something that hasn’t been used before and consider all the points mentioned above in this article.
- The perfect SEO name may not be the perfect PPC name – this is where the geographical argument hits rocky waters. Adding these terms may help your SEO, but will likely drive your PPC costs up and decrease your ROAS.
- Consider your Compset names – analyzing your compset names against the above online principles may offer an opportunity if they do not follow some of these principles. It may also make your own costs even worse if you are both breaching these considerations.
Research: The Master Key to choosing your hotel name
When finalizing your hotel’s name, thorough research is invaluable. The time and energy spent finding the perfect name for your property are always worth it. However, if you need any advice or assistance, the team at three&six are always on hand to help. We’ve researched naming options for hotels on multiple continents and can generate a report for your next venture.
- 03 Aug 2023 By Ellie Care