The hospitality business has seen explosive growth in the last 10 years and has now become one of the fastest-growing industries. Due to the increasing popularity of traveling, businesses need to do their best to deliver their products and services to a broader audience in a more comfortable and frictionless manner.
Localization is known to be a very high-return investment. Furthermore, it allows you to gain an advantage over your competition, strengthen online presence, and mitigate cultural sensitivity. All of these factors being of great benefit in a global environment. The World Tourism Organization has stated that they’re expecting a yearly 3.3% growth between 2010 and 2030, which makes localization an absolutely essential asset to a successful business in the long run.
1. Localization improves UX
While English does seem to be the lingua franca adopted almost all over the world, localization appears to do a better job at comforting and stimulating to localize your online presence to the market you’re advertising for.
Given the fact that now most of the bookings made in the hospitality industry are made online, optimizing a customer’s booking experience to their cultural peculiarities will considerably remove friction from the booking process.
User experience is the aspect that the hospitality business needs to look into, as their customers gradually become more tech-savvy and more digitally demanding. While millennials and the Gen Z are known to spend considerably more than boomers, according to Travelport’s recent study, it takes a well-optimized customer experience to persuade them to use your services.
2. Localized content ranks better internationally
Adjusting your site content to the cultural peculiarities of a said market has significant benefits when it comes to ranking high in the search results on Google and other engines abroad.
According to a paper published by PhoCusWright, hotels spend 52% of their marketing budget for their online marketing efforts. Moreover, it’s an ongoing trend, according to their research, offline spending allocation will start diminishing considerably in the years to come. With this strong penchant for online presence, businesses need to invest a considerable amount of time and money in ranking well on search engines, since most of the business online is on Google’s first search result page.
A thoroughly localized website will ensure that it ranks considerably better in the target market. Respectively, localization has a genuinely holistic effect on a company’s online presence, since it optimizes the way both humans and algorithms interact with a business’s content.
3. Traveling increasingly popular in the East
The World Bank’s data on international tourism, Asian countries have seen considerable growth in tourism in the last five years, of which China has been especially prominent. It’s essential to underline that the internet hosts nearly the same number of native-Chinese users as English-speaking natives. Moreover, Chinese as a language has seen an incredibly powerful growth from 2000 to 2010, increasing by 1277.4% and its growth hasn’t really stagnated considerably ever since. Similarly, China is now second in the “online spending race,” competing with the US. The former has clocked in at $967 billion in 2016, while the States spent a whopping $1.1 trillion in the same year. So, why are these numbers important?
There is an essential principle that localization addresses — If they can’t read, they won’t buy. Most people choose to purchase products that are advertised in their own language. In a recent study, 74% Chinese-Speaking nationals either agree or strongly agree with the statement “When faced with the choice of buying two similar products, I am more likely to purchase the one that has product information in my own language.”
This brings us to the importance of localization, especially in the current business climate. While hospitality businesses are in considerably more significant demand today in China, foreign businesses need to invest extra time and effort to adjust to the cultural and linguistic standards of the Chinese and Asian buyers in general. So whatever medium a business decides to reach out to its potential customers, it has to talk the talk not just at the language level, but also take culture into account.
4. Localization is loyalty
A hotel, a booking service, a transportation company, and all other essential elements of the hospitality business must aim to persuade their customers to use their services by understanding their needs. To understand their needs, a business needs to prove that it understands the customer first. Culture and religion are a great place to start.
By using cultural content in your online presence, you’re showing your potential customer that your business is aware of their cultural peculiarities and that you respect their identity.
How to localize your online presence to cater to a different culture or geographical region? Start off by growing your relevance on the country’s search engine of choice. We can often get caught up in the idea that Google is the only engine worthy of attention, but that’s far from true. For example, Baidu — China’s most popular engine, South Korea’s Naver, Eniro in Sweden, Yandex in Russia, Seznam in the Czech Republic, and so forth.
Secondly, use cultural content that aligns with the country’s national or religious holidays. Similarly, it’s also a good idea to make use of local idioms and expressions, to underline how well your brand has blended in with the local culture. In effect, this approach will make customers more loyal to your brand, due to a sense of familiarity you’ve established with the country’s customs.
The hospitality industry has now embarked on a high tide. People all over the world will only travel more and more over time, which makes it evident that businesses need to adapt to their needs linguistically. However, when it comes to an obvious competitive advantage, localization clearly offers one by helping the business align with a market’s cultural and religious standards.
In effect, it allows us to improve the overall customer experience, rank better on Google and other local search engines, and gain your customer’s loyalty, wherever they are.