Setting the stage for hospitality

According to EY’s Global hospitality insights: Top thoughts for 2016, in most regional markets, hospitality is in a state of vibrant growth. As more consumers turn to the web to research and book travel, having a strong digital presence is no longer a commodity – it’s essential.

It’s no wonder, then, that hospitality leaders Hotel Evolution and IIG Hotels turned to Cardinal to help them maximize their digital reach.


In 2015 alone, Cardinal generated $12.5MM+ in web revenue for its hotel clients, while responding to more than 3,000 reviews and increasing our clients’ social media audience by 11,589,936 users.

Our results fell in line with what both Hotel Evolution and IIG Hotels were striving for with their marketing:

• Steal marketing share from competitors
• Drive direct bookings
• Increase sales
• Increase “brand” awareness of each of their properties
• Build customer loyalty
• Manage online reputations

Sure, the numbers might speak for themselves, but let’s delve deeper into how we helped Hotel Evolution and IIG Hotels meet their goals and solidify themselves as leaders in the hospitality industry.


Atlanta has the unique honor of being home to the busiest airport in the entire world. At last check, Atlanta’s largest airport sees more than 101,000,000 passengers each year (while it’s closest competitor, Beijing Capital International Airport, sees just under 90,000,000).

With this large number of passengers coming and going each day, we knew there was a huge, untapped potential for both Hotel Evolution and IIG Hotels to grow their market share.

However, we also knew it’d be particularly challenging to craft the type of content that not only reaches the airport’s diverse passenger population, but also conveyed our clients’ compelling stories.


Hilton includes more than 550 locations across 6 continents and is recognized as the place to stay for both business and leisure travelers. When making plans for a business trip, honeymoon, family vacation, or travel adventure, consumers know what to expect when they book a stay at Hilton.

This level of brand awareness has helped Hilton become a trailblazer in the hospitality industry. But with more competitors attempting to eat up market share, the hotel giant was in need of ways to maintain its top-dog status, specifically with overnight business travelers who make up a large portion of the traffic that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport sees on a daily basis.

Hilton turned to Cardinal for help.

To beat the competition,
you have to know the competition

It’s no secret that Hartsfield-Jackson is the world’s busiest airport. As such, we could expect that Hilton’s local competitors were hard at work actively targeting business travelers.

We conducted a thorough investigation into all of the hotels that surround Hartsfield-Jackson in order to assess their place in the market and to see where Hilton could make an immediate impact.

Once that data was gathered, we developed an SEO campaign with the specific goal of targeting qualified guests.

This distinction – to target qualified guests – ensured that our client wouldn’t be inundated with irrelevant traffic. This type of traffic not only bogs down resources and skews reports, but it could also be costly (specifically when conducting a PPC campaign).


Our SEO strategy for Hilton included:

• Compiling keywords to target (which helped to keep our messaging narrowed and focused)
• Developing ongoing press releases, articles, and link building strategies
• Reputation management within online travel agencies and online review sites

This type of broad approach to SEO requires a clear strategy and the support of an entire SEO team, from content creators to marketing specialists.

Because we offer full-service SEO solutions in-house, we were able to design and implement Hilton’s strategy quickly and effectively, so that our client would see results … fast.

From our partnership, Hilton saw:

• Page one Google rankings for its top 20 targeted keywords in 4 months
• 50+ page one Google rankings after just 7 months
• A 73% increase in monthly revenue
• A 100% response to OTA reviews within 48 hours

Hilton’s immediate success is one thing – but maintaining these types of results requires ongoing maintenance and adaptations in order to remain relevant in an industry that’s constantly evolving. We continue to work with Hilton Atlanta to ensure that they continue to reach – and convert – the millions of overnight business travelers who travel through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport each year.

The work Cardinal has done for the 12 hotel properties we manage has helped our clients increase their sales steadily, and organically.

Through our efforts, not only have our clients enjoyed immediate results, but, by building lasting relationships with current and potential guests, we’ve helped to ensure that the success our properties experienced over the past year will continue on for many years to come.

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