Whether through story or song, print or digital, words in language have the power to trigger human emotion. In fact, there are 27 distinct categories, according to a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
So, if the words in your trivago description (and on your hotel website) spark interest and excitement in travelers who share your native language, why not stir those same emotions in international travelers, too? After all, they’re essential to your business, as well.
As a leading global hotel metasearch, trivago is the starting point for millions of travelers to find their ideal hotel online. Which is why we always encourage hoteliers on trivago Business Studio to make their profile full and attractive to their potential guests in 190 countries across our 54 localized platforms. And that includes having a description on trivago available in more than one language.
Translation and localization play an integral role in an independent hotel’s online presence and must be figured into the marketing strategy.
As the British advertising tycoon David Ogilvy said: “If you’re trying to persuade people to do something or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language in which they think.”
That certainly holds true on a deeper level of language itself, and there’s data to support it.
Your guests are consumers
If you think it isn’t necessary to have your trivago description (and hotel website) translated because you only welcome guests from your home country, then you’ll want to reconsider. Here’s why:
In the CSA Research report Can’t Read, Won’t Buy, survey results show that 75% of consumers from 10 non-Anglophone countries in Europe, Asia, and South America prefer to buy products in their native language. 60% of the respondents said they rarely or never buy from English-only websites.
Moreover, an analytical report published by the European Union revealed that 44% of those surveyed say that they missed interesting information because websites weren’t available in a language they understood.
Does that mean your trivago description (and hotel website) should be translated into over 100 languages? Of course not. In your market’s key languages yes, especially if you see that you can profit from tapping into another segment of international travelers with high potential.
Yet, you don’t want to go into translation half-heartedly using a free online tool. As tempting as it is, the end result will be an easy loss of business rather than a nice win in revenue.
Human versus the machine
We’ve all seen mistranslations while traveling around the world and surfing online. Some make us cry from laughter, while others simply make us cry. The likely culprit is a machine translation.
One top selling point of machine translation is that it saves time and money. And, of course, it comes in handy to learn how to say basic greetings to international guests. But there’s a catch to this convenience. A machine translation still lacks the required human touch because it just can’t pick up all the nuances unique to every language (think grammar, sentence structure, context, idioms).
Let’s look at an example of how a website promotion could easily mislead guests:
The difference in date formatting between the US and many countries, including the UK, can have a big impact on travelers if it isn’t handled correctly.
If you advertise on your website that the final cancellation date of a packaged deal is 09/10 (September 10) and you fail to localize it to 10/09 for international guests, the end result is frustration for them and damage to your brand for unclear communication. A free online translation machine just isn’t smart enough to switch the numerals. Of course, the UK version of using numerical dates can also cause confusion for US travelers.
To avoid setting yourself up for catastrophe and creating misunderstandings about content that can send potential guests running to a competitor, it’s best to let professional translators work their magic—it’ll pay off for you in the long run.
With some quick research online, you’ll be able to find the right translation service and at reasonable prices that won’t break the bank.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Identify the types of global travelers you want to connect with.
- Look for translators who specialize in tourism and/or the hospitality industry. It isn’t a requisite, but it can be helpful.
- Hire experienced translators who are native speakers in the language of the market you want to target.
Once you find the translators who tick all the right boxes, you’ll receive the accurate and high-quality translations that will help you break down language barriers between you and your future international guests.
Promote your official direct rates to boost bookings.
Localization equals personalization
Let’s face it, the sheer amount of information and resources the traveler within us all has access to are both a blessing and a curse. Research carried out by Nielsen for Google discovered that travelers spend an average of 53 days booking their trip, and during that planning period they’ll have viewed 28 different websites over 76 online sessions.
This alone tells you that online search results are the first touch points where the guest experience actually begins. And that’s where you have to stand out. It’s all too easy to lose a potential guest to a competitor during that 53-day period.
The translation of your trivago description (and hotel website) is one aspect of connecting with those international travelers while they search online. Take it a step further with localization, and you’ll be speaking to those potential guests directly.
Think of localization as the personal touch to a translation. It captures the cultural tastes and flavors of the markets you want to reach, enables you to communicate your messaging effectively, and enhances your brand. And most importantly, it builds trust.
One point to keep in mind when you have your hotel website translated and localized: Figure in search engine optimization (SEO).
The localization of keywords, for example, can ensure that you appear to global travelers on their relevant search engine result pages. And with your meta description translated too, they’ll know exactly what the content of your hotel website is all about.
Need to refresh your memory on SEO basics? SEO for Hotels 101 – A Guide to Best Practices for Hotel Websites will break it down for you nicely.
Though the beauty of our language binds us, it’s the craft of translation that connects us. By having your description on trivago (and hotel website) professionally translated, you’ll be breaking down language barriers and reaching global travelers the right way.
A version of this article was originally published in November 2020.
Featured image by: Askar Abayev on Pexels