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Dublin City Rooms - The Castle Hotel Group

If you are a hotel in Dublin, getting to the top of search engine rankings is no easy matter. Travel and tourism is the largest online market globally and the competition for ranking is high; 13 million web pages are returned for the Google search ‘hotel Dublin’.

When the Castle Hotel Group for help, the answer was a short audit methodology developed by 2020 Strategies in collaboration with the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association - the ISME WebCheck. The experience with this audit and the benchmarks developed have informed development of the UNWTO Web Watch Website Audit.

The Group were concerned about the low number of online bookings and the performance of the site on key search engines like Google and Yahoo from their group website www.dublincityrooms.com.

The Website Audit identified three key search engine needs:

  • To be able to update the site more frequently
  • To optimise the text and hidden ‘meta data’ that search engines use to help rank sites
  • To develop relevant links from other high ranking websites to the group site

Their new SitesToGo updatable and accessible websites, www.dublincityrooms.com and www.latchfords.ie also enabled them to improve usability and to install a new online booking engine through a strategic partnership with Gulliver, the leading Irish accommodation booking system.

Keeping their existing graphic design helped keep the total project cost for two websites below €5,000 and resources were put into search engine optimisation (SEO) and online distribution rather than graphic design.

Their own online bespoke reservations system was replaced by a new group inventory based system provided by Gulliver Infores, (the Irish Destination Management System) that enabled their own discrete engine on their website while using their Gulliver allocation. This eliminated duplication of inventory updating and, coupled with improving their inventory and pricing management skills, ensured availability through a wide range of online channels, including Ireland's leading commercial tourism portal www.goireland.com.

A SEO expert worked with the Group to identify target search terms that were achievable and then optimised the site, then trained key staff to update the site and maintain a much more dynamic web presence.

A copywriter incorporated the key search terms in his ‘killer’ home page copy – about as different as you can get from the run of the mill hotel description.

The result:

Six months after the new site went live Dublin City Rooms came in the top three results for 9 of the 12 search terms targeted and the value of online bookings have increased. Now the challenge is to maintain the ranking by ensuring that the sites are regularly updated with timely information

Kevin Fingleton, Castle Hotel Group Financial Controller, says:

“SitesToGo helped us focus on what really mattered, capturing the 80% of Internet traffic that starts on search engines. They suggested using the Gulliver group booking engine, which meant that busy staff had one inventory to maintain, not two as before, and saved us the high maintenance costs of having our own inventory and booking engine). The site is easy to update and there is always help at hand when we need it.
But what really counts is the effect on revenues, being found means more direct online bookings, cutting out the agencies and increasing yield per booking”

Date: 2003

Website Audit

The initial non-sector specific Website Audit, including a full accessibility (WAI) evaluation and search engine performance assessment. webdesign image

Strategic Website Evaluation

In depth Strategic Website Evaluation includes the Website Audit and a further in-depth Strategic Evaluation. webdesign image

Online User Survey

Learn more about the visitors to your site. Online surveys offer a fast, low cost method of asking detailed questions of specific target groups. webdesign image

Newsletter Audit

Email Newsletter Audit, developed to assist DMOs in making correct and effective use of the electronic newsletter. webdesign image

Laboratory Testing

Laboratory Testing is a thorough assessment of decision-making processes of consumers when navigating your site. webdesign image