Adam Wicks was there when Gold was discovered in California.
He remembered how the initial discovery didn’t set off a frenzy among the people that knew that gold had been discovered in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
But when word spread, there was complete mayhem. Prospectors from all over descended, looking to make their own fortune.
Rather than pick through all the gravel with their hands, prospectors quickly learned that a more effective method was to use a gold pan. This tool was simple in that it let all the gravel go through while holding back the gold, making it easier for prospectors to find the little shiny nuggets.
Much like the prospectors, we have a similar tool in our arsenal when we search for group business in wedding forums. And yet, many of us don’t ever use this tool to find business for our hotels.
What tool are we talking about?
The search box in any wedding forum should be your best friend. Used correctly, you’ll find brides that are looking for hotels in your city right now. But you can’t just do a regular search for a term like hotels.
A generic term like “hotels nj” will result in too many discussions that are irrelevant and old. As an example, here are the results if we use “hotels NJ” in the forums section of weddingwire.com.
See how the results are a bit of a mish mash. You’ll see hundreds of discussions about hotels in NJ but they are all over the place in terms of time. Some of these discussions were started last month and others were are three years ago. In fact, some of these brides might now be hunting for baby clothes at consignment sales. With a search like the one above, we are a bit closer to where we want to be, but not quite there,
What we are looking for are brides in our city that are looking for hotels right now.
How can we do that?
By being more specific when we use the search feature
Here are three things we need to have in our search term that will make it easier to find brides looking for hotels.
This is the one that most of us are familiar with. The keyword can be anything like hotel, room block, courtesy block, open block, gift bags, shuttle, venue, reception. Don’t use plurals in search (e.g. hotels vs. hotel). Always use the singular because the search function will return both. But if you use the plural, the singular words will be excluded making your search less effective.
Month and year
Forums are run by dates. Each post is timestamped. If you want brides looking in your area now, then you need to add the date of the post. So if the month is October of 2013, then you need to have “oct 2013” as part of the search results. This will return discussions that were started in the month we are presently in. The last thing you want to do is answer questions from brides that asked the question three years ago.
For those of in larger cities, we should use our city name. Cities like philadelphia, New York etc have a lot of brides on these forums so you can get a lot of results. If you are in a smaller lesser known city then search for larger cities nearby or better yet, just use the state name. Your results will be less focused but you’ll have to cast a wider net in order to see who is looking for hotels or room blocks.
As an example, let’s do the same search we did above, but this time we will use the three components mentioned above.
Here is what shows up when we search for the term “hotel NJ 2013 sep”:
As you can see, the results are focused and actionable. You can go straight down the list and answer questions. Not only will the brides be happy that you answered, but so will the hundreds of other brides that are reading these discussions afterward.
But before you try using this little trick, here is some more advice.
Make sure to substitute keywords
Not everyone uses the word hotel or room block. Be creative and think what other words people use. Some brides might use the word “accommodations”, “lodging”, “inn” while others might use the term “motel”. Some might even use your competitor names. (Hint: If you want a good resource to find alternate keywords that brides might use, try using Thesaurus.com)
While you can’t search for every term, figure out the best keywords for your hotel and use them along with the location, and dates.
In summary, wedding forums are a ripe source of business
But you can’t book any wedding blocks unless you know how to find the brides that are looking for hotels.
Searching on forums with the right keyword, location, and month/year will help you sift through all the irrelevant stuff so you can find the brides that want to book your hotel.
There is gold in them thar hills.
What should you do next?
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