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A hotel’s guide to using Schema markup

Schema markup, also known as Structured Data, is code used to help search engines understand and interpret specific pieces of data from your website. Schema markup exists for a wide variety of businesses, but in this case we’re going to be looking at Schema markup from the perspective of a hotel.

Probably the easiest way to understand what Schema markup is, or what it does, is by showing some screenshots from Google’s search results for a variety of queries, some hotel-related, and some restaurant related.

Schema markup restaurant example
Screenshot showing Schema markup tags for a hotel restaurant menu on OpenTable.com

 

Hotel schema markup
Screenshot showing Schema markup tags for a “new York hotel prices in February” search query. This screenshot was modified to remove the adverts (5) shown above the search results.

Schema markup code is responsible for a variety of these top-level displays on the Google page, including star ratings on a product or hotel, or recipe photos and instructions from a food website.

The main advantage of using Schema is that it helps your website to stand out from the rest on a Google search engine results page (SERP). As a result of your data snippets being displayed in this manner, you’ll likely see more clicks through to your page.

There are other ways to add Schema markup to your hotel website code, such as indicating which social media platforms belong to a hotel, or marking the hotel’s all-important NAP (name, address, and phone number).

Schema markup is still a relatively new concept, and although the Schema protocol is an open-source initiative, it’s already being implemented by major sites like Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Pinterest, to name just a few.

Schema markup hotel address
Screenshot showing the display of a hotel’s physical address, based on the above search query.

Technically speaking, Schema’s vocabulary can be implemented in a number of ways, including RDFa, Microdata and JSON-LD. In this article we’re going to be focusing on the use of Microdata, and how it can enable hotels to display their information better within search engines.

How do I add Schema code to my website?

Although it’s a relatively straightforward job to create Schema code for your hotel, you’re going to need the help of your web developer to get it installed on your website. Schema code normally belongs in the <head> section of your website, but you might have occasions where individual pieces of data are marked up where they sit on the website page.

If you’re struggling with the concept of Schema markup, then you’ll likely love this feature within Google Search Console, the suitably-named Structured Data Markup Helper. The tool allows you to first choose the type of data you’d like to markup (in this case we’re choosing a local business), and then enter in the URL of the hotel website.

Next a window will load containing your site, and you can simply highlight the data you’d like to markup, going through the handy list of fields included on the right-side of the page. Google will then give you the code to use.

Structured Data Markup Helper
Screenshot showing Google’s Structured Data tool within Search Console being used to generate Schema markup on the Waldorf Astoria New York website.

Not only is this tool easy to use, but it even shows you visually the exact place to include your Schema markup in relation to your current HTML code.

Once you’ve got your code ready to go live you should make use of Google’s own Structured Data Testing Tool which allows you to check it for errors.

Google Structured Data Tool
Screenshot showing the Google Structured Data Testing Tool, with some example code pasted.

Once the test brings back positive results with no errors, then you’re ready to add it to all pages of your website. To make things a bit easier for you, and thanks to various templates available directly from Schema.org specifically for Hotels, we’ve put together the following Schema code template for your own reference.

Schema code template for hotels

You can make use of the following template to help your hotel to make the transition to Schema markup. Don’t forget to change any highlighted text to match that of your own hotel, or just cut and paste the relevant tags to fit your current on-page content.

This is the microdata for the Hotel Schema markup. There are of course many more Schema codes that might be useful for your hotel, such as opening hours, whether the hotel is pet friendly, and many more. Take a look at this link if you want to see the full range.

[php]
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Hotel">

<h1><span itemprop="name">Waldorf Astoria New York</span></h1>

  <span itemprop="description">Discover luxury, grandeur and unrivaled service at the internationally
renowned Waldorf Astoria New York, located on Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.</span>
 
<div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
    <span itemprop="streetAddress">301 Park Avenue</span>
    <span itemprop="postalCode">10022-6897</span>
    <span itemprop="addressLocality">New York</span>
    <span itemprop="addressRegion">New York</span>,
    <span itemprop="addressCountry">America</span>
  </div>

  Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">212-355-3000</span>
  <img itemprop="photo" src="../media/hotel_front.png" alt="Front view of the hotel" />
  Star rating: <span itemprop="starRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating">
    <meta itemprop="ratingValue" content="5">*****</span>
  Room rates: <span itemprop="priceRange">$200 – $440</span>
</div>

[/php]

What is the future of Schema markup for hotels?

Google (and to a lesser extent Bing and Yandex) is constantly trying out new ways of displaying their search results, whether it’s advert placements, styling of the adverts, number of ads shown on the page, number of organic results displayed, organic (and paid) map placements, the knowledge graph, and so on. They do this for two key reasons: 1) to improve user experience and 2) to increase their revenues.

If Schema markup can be used to provider a better user experience, or to somehow increase the likelihood of clicks on search ads, then we’re going to be seeing a lot more of it in the future. We might even see a bigger push towards it as more advanced technologies like voice search integrate it into their functionality.

For hotels, it’s important to talk to your web development and SEO teams to ensure that your website code contains the required Schema markup. Some key elements: marking up the reviews so that your star rating shows up on the Google SERP, and tagging your basic NAP info, as well as any events taking place at your hotel.

As part of your hotel’s digital marketing strategy and search engine marketing, we’re confident that Schema and Structured Data in general is going to become increasingly important to hotels as they battle against OTAs and metasearch engines for prime exposure in already crowded search results pages.

Nancy Huang

Nancy Huang

Nancy is the Senior Marketing Director at Pegasus and expert in strategic communication, brand development, and content marketing. She is an admitted travel junkie and loves finding amazing hotel deals when booking direct. Contact her at nancy.huang@pegs.com.

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