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#AskDJV Show – Special Episode – Are Vanity Hotel Websites Doorway Pages?

In March, Google announced that they are taking the initiative to shut down “doorway pages”. While this is great news in the world of search results, it is causing confusion among hoteliers, specifically franchisees of branded properties.

Many brands are taking Google’s recent focus on “doorway pages” and confusing property owners by saying that their vanity websites fall into this category. We’ve produced a special episode of the #AskDJV Show to let property owners and franchisees know that this is absolutely not the case. Your vanity website is not, by Google’s own definition, a “doorway page”.

Doorway pages are sites that are set up to game the system. Doorway pages provide no real value to users and utilize unethical practices like “keyword stuffing” in order to achieve search engine rankings and take visitors to another website. Google says “[t]hey are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination.”

A property’s own proprietary vanity site offers a wealth of information to site visitors — from hotel policies to nearby attractions and everything in between. Watch the special edition of the #AskDJV Show for more information as well as how you as property owners can respond if your brand tell you that you are required to shut down your vanity site because it is a “doorway site”.

What hoteliers need to know about “doorway pages”:

– They are spam pages that have zero content or value for users and acts as a gateway to another page.
– They are landing pages that act as a funnel, offering little to no new web content for site visitors.
– They use “spam” techniques to gain high search rankings like keyword stuffing and black hat SEO.
– Vanity sites offer relevant content that site visitors find useful, thus they are not considered “doorway pages”.

Push back against your brand’s attempt to classify your vanity site as a “doorway page”. Explain that you are spending your own money, outside of the franchise fees, to promote your property and drive more business to the brand website. After vanity site visitors select your property, they are taking to the brand website to book their reservation, not some other OTA.

Continue to evolve and market your property against your competitive set. You need to differentiate your hotel from not only other brands, but sister brands under your own brand’s umbrella. Property owners, you should still utilize vanity sites to differentiate yourself and share what is unique about your guest experience. This is particularly important given that your property’s page on your brand’s site is built from database driven content and looks exactly the same as every other branded property listed there.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I’m happy to help any branded property better understand the truth about “doorway pages” as well as why your propriety vanity site is essential to your business and the furthest thing from one.

– DJ Vallauri
Founder & President, Lodging Interactive