Exclusive: Translated sites generate room sales

Hotel companies can increase their web traffic by launching web sites which support multi-language natural and paid search, according to translation firm Lingo24.

The Edinburgh-based business has released the results of its work with Apex Hotels, a privately-owned chain which owns and operates seven four-star contemporary properties in London, Edinburgh and Dundee.

Apex launched local language versions of its site in French, German, Spanish and Italian, and also worked with Occupancy Marketing to run multi-language search campaigns.

The results show 53% more growth in web visitor traffic year-on-year compared with a similarly-positioned hotel chain which worked only in English.

The biggest increase came from Italy, where Apex lifted traffic by 111% between October 2008 and September 2009 compared with 49% from the rival chain.

In France, Apex lifted traffic by 71% against 42%; Germany 54% against 41%: and Spain 83% against 51%.

Lingo24 and founder Christian Arno said that Apex saw a significant return on its investment in terms of actual bookings, although the numbers were not disclosed.

He explained that local language-based SEO and PPC can be more cost-effective than a similar volume spend in English because European markets are less mature than the UK and the search marketing is less developed.

“In France there is a large volume of internet users but the market is less developed, so the opportunities are there,” he said. 

“But if you look at Scandinavia, a lot of travel is already booked online – the population is small and there aren’t that many sites so again there is an opportunity to enter the market with a local language site.”

Arno also added that UK-based travel companies should be looking to Europe because of the exchange rate.

He estimated that 98% of travel companies use English as the most common language for marketing, despite that fact that 75% of the world’s population speak no English at all.

In the United States, for example, nearly three-quarters of the Hispanic population speak little or no English. In Europe, it is thought that only half of people have any knowledge of English.

Lingo 24’s own turnover has increased by 31% since October 2008.

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