If there’s one thing that can complicate and disrupt the booking journey for hotels, it’s the ever-changing search landscape.
With Google constantly updating its algorithms and strategy, traffic coming in from multiple devices, and inconsistent SEO practices from travel websites, it’s hard for hotels to get a clear picture of what is working and what needs to be done to increase traffic and conversions in the future.
Analysis by Net Affinity has shown organic traffic is being rerouted to paid search results, social media, and even offline channels.
With the prominent rise of mobile devices, social media, and other forms of travel inspiration, guests are changing the way they search for and book their trips. Hotels need to understand the extent of these changes so they can maintain a profitable conversion rate.
While the times are changing, it doesn’t mean hotels will suffer from a lack of organic search.
Engagement and conversion rates seem to be rising so there are opportunities for hotels to take advantage of, if they’re willing to acknowledge the greater need for spend in their marketing budget.
Here are the 8 most important search changes hotels should be aware of…
#1: Ad positioning
Google has removed its previously right-aligned ads on desktop and now display four text ads at the top of search results, pushing organic pages further down the search rankings. This has seen a 10% increase in traffic from paid listings. Google is also endeavouring to make paid ads look less obtrusive, gaining more clicks from the average viewer.
#2: The knowledge panel
In a positive for some hotels the knowledge panel, which house paid and organic material in the form of maps, reviews, images, and Google hotel ads, is more prominent in some cases. This means the hotel ads in which a direct booking link can be displayed will occupy territory previously held by online travel agents.