As many hotels have noticed over the last 12 months, the traffic landscape for hotel traffic is changing. In a time when digital activity is increasing, online bookings are growing and many hotels are becoming more sophisticated in their approach to digital channels, a drop in traffic from any channel may come as a surprise.
However, changes to Google’s search engine page, shifts in device traffic and other factors all add up to one thing. Organic traffic is being rerouted to paid search, social, and even offline channels. It’s not necessarily a negative, though. While traffic is shifting, engagement and conversion rates are growing.
We think it’s essential to hotels’ future digital presence to be aware of the different causes that have led to this traffic shift, and to be aware of which channels are rising and falling in popularity among travelers.
Our Marketing Director Hollie Faulkner has created an analysis of 8 recent changes which are contributing to this shift. Being aware of these changes and their impact is key to getting on top of this trend. Make sure your hotel is aware and ready to move with the times.
Who is causing these changes?
Google’s own changes, combined with alterations in the ways guests search and book, are responsible for shifts in traffic.
Guests are changing how they research, engage, click and book with hotels. It’s vital that hotels understand these changes and what to do about them.
Google is focusing more heavily on paid aspects of their product, and optimizing for mobile. So, for instance, their new mobile call extensions have led to a drop in organic traffic coming from mobile, but an increase in calls coming into the hotel.
Google is always evolving, and many of their most recent evolutions have been pushed by mobile. We’ll look into the specific changes below, but the takeaway from this is that Google is making it more important for businesses to pay to play. Their ongoing redesign of Google AdWords is just one of the many indicators that paid search is getting more attention than ever from Google. Hotels will need to step up spend to keep traffic growing.
We’ve seen an average increase of 10% traffic from paid listings, as of Q2 2016. This is a direct result of the fact that spend is becoming more integral to hotel’s marketing mixes, and that must be reflected in budgets in order to continue growing.
Here’s a look at 8 of the biggest reasons for these industry-wide traffic shifts: