There are many opportunities available for travel website owners to use rich snippets or schema mark-up on their site. In fact the travel sector lends itself more than most sectors to the use of rich snippets, as users want to see other people’s reviews and ratings of locations and specific hotels and other types of accommodation.
As studies have shown schema mark-up is very much underused across all industry sectors and there is a big opportunity for travel website owners to implement rich snippets on their site, to get ahead of their competitors. This will also help smaller website owners to compete in search results with larger, more established sites.
Types Of Rich Snippets for the Travel Sector
There are a wide range of rich snippet types that can be used in the travel sector including:
- Product/Price Mark-up
Reviews and ratings are probably the most widely used schema mark-up in the travel sector. All of the big travel aggregator websites such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com and Expedia use ratings and reviews on their sites, a large part of their content is user generated from reviews and ratings.
Having so many ratings and reviews displayed in search results is part of the reason why these sites rank above other sites that do not have ratings schema in place.
Price and product mark-up is widely used on eCommerce sites. However, this schema seems to be less used in the travel sector. Nonetheless, there are some sites within the travel sector that use product and price mark-up with the HTML. TripAdvisor and G Adventures are two of these:
There is a lot of scope for travel companies and hotel operators to make more use of price schema mark-up on their sites to encourage users to click through their site. The schema can be used to display a single price or a price range if there are different pricing options depending upon the packages available.
Having the price displayed in search results can help to pre-qualify customers, as they are already aware of the pricing options available.
There is also a schema mark-up for events which can be displayed below a search result, which can encourage users to click through to specific pages on a site. Here is an example of a site using event schema mark-up:
There are two different date ranges for when the site is offering cruises in the Mediterranean. The first is from the 31st of May and the second is from 15th August. Having the ability to display specific date ranges for a tour or a cruise is a great way to get more space for your site in search results.
Users will also be more encouraged to click through to a search result that stands out from the other nine results, thereby increasing click through rates. Furthermore, a user that clicks through already knows the dates available and is probably more qualified and less likely to bounce off your site.
This schema can also be used for other event listings such as flights and concerts.
Authorship can be used for blog posts, city guides and most types of information content. Having authorship displayed in search results can help increase click through rates and boost search engine rankings for specific keywords. Here is an example from cheapflights.co.uk of a page that has authorship mark-up in place:
Travel websites can utilise video mark-up to help increase search engine rankings and help their search results standout. Here is an example of a search result that is using video mark-up; this displays an embedded video in the search result:
Rich Snippets In Action
The benefits and results of implementing rich snippets on a travel site are clear.
Take for example this search result:
The number one site is ranking ahead of well-known sites such TripAdvisor and HomeAway.co.uk as a result of having a star rating in place. Despite the higher authority of the sites below, the #1 site is able to outrank them because the site has rich snippets implemented, which is helping to boost its search engine ranking for a specific keyword.
Travel aggregators are currently utilising schema mark-up and rich snippets the most. There is a lot of scope for hotel owners, tour operators and airline companies to make more use of schema mark-up on their sites to help increase their visibility on search engines. In particular, if hotel owners were to implement reviews and ratings more on their sites, this would give them a better chance to compete with higher authority sites such as booking.com and hotels.com.
There are many different types of content that on travel sites that can utilise schema mark-up to help increase click through rates, reduce bounce rates and boost search engine rankings. Here is a full guide to the types of rich snippets available https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/99170?hl=en