When registering your business domain often occurs a question whether to choose .com domain or your local domain extensions (i.e. .lv in Latvia or .ee in Estonia).
For hotels who are targeting the international market, we are suggesting to use .com domain extension. No need to repeat that would be ideal if your hotel domain includes also your hotel town name and a word “hotel” for a better presence in Search Engines.
Why to use .com domain name?
1. According to Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief, approximately half of the worldwide domains registered are with the .com domain name, web users are used with that as a most familiar extension and always using first the brand name with .com extension when making their searches.
2. But most important is that .com domain is by default targeted to a worldwide audience while .lv is by default targeted to Latvian audience, .de for German audience etc. So when making a search in Search Engines in Latvian territory or in Germany then firstly all .lv and .de domains are displayed because you are being a local customer.
But when I am making a search outside from Latvia, but still looking for a hotel inside the Latvian territory, then first search results end up with .com domain.
The trick is that when you make a .com domain then you can change the “International Targeting” settings in Google Webmaster Tool and you can still target your page for example for Latvian Market.
But when you have www.hotelname.lv domain then it is automatically targeted for Latvian market and you are unable to change the “International Targeting” settings in Google Webmaster Tools.
So when you are making a new domain for your hotel, we recommend using .com extension that is not associated with any country or region but if you want, it is possible to target also to your local audience.
More about International Targeting in Google Suport page.