Travel and hospitality marketing: Do you know how internet users are searching for your restaurant?

October 14, 2011

Every month people do millions of searches for the perfect restaurant.

Information  about your location, quality and type of food you serve will drive customers to your website. And restaurant.

As an expert in travel and hospitality marketing, it’s my job to understand how people choose one brand over another.

Today many of those decisions are now being made with the help of search engines.

Take restaurants, for instance.

According to SEO expert Mark Sprague,  in one recent month alone Google reported 23 million searches for specific information on restaurants.

The top three categories after general informational searches? Location, quality and type. As in “Where are the best Italian restaurants in Denver?”

Together, those three categories account for 3 out of every 10 searches. The first keyword, “location”, alone accounted for 13.5 million or over 50% of those searches.

When searching for quality, people put the word “best” in their query 1.2 million times, and the word “top” 345,000 times.

If they’re searching for a type of restaurant, people search by nationality (Chinese, Italian, etc), food (seafood, burgers,etc), style (family, romantic, buffet, etc…) or delivery.

When searching for content, the top 3 requests are for reviews, guides and menus.

Recommendations on how to optimize your website for search engines:

1.  Weave the themes of location, quality and type into your website copy.

2. By a 3-1 margin, consumers are more interested in quality than value. So stress quality over value in your website.

3. When consumers search by brand, they already know you. But if they’re searching for new restaurants, they focus on quality and look for positive reviews. So make sure you are encouraging happy customers to review your concept in Yelp and other online directories.

4. Since  location is so important, add your business to the local search service databases of Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Top 10 types of searches people are doing for restaurants:

  1. Informational – 65,650,450 searches
  2. Location based – 13,577,700 searches
  3. Type of restaurant – 4,261,540 searches
  4. Quality of restaurant – 1,835,520 searches
  5. Restaurant business – 1,299,270 searches
  6. Restaurant by brand – 1,236,530 searches
  7. Request for content – 850,020 searches
  8. Value – 500,660 searches
  9. Industry events – 376,600 searches
  10. Restaurant directory – 218,000 searches

If you’d like to go deeper into this subject, Mark Sprague wrote an excellent post that recently appeared on Search Engine Land on restaurant searches.


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