Make Sure Your Hotel is the Answer to Your Target Market’s Questions
The new-look hotel search tool on Google delivers benefits to travellers and opportunities to businesses
In years gone by, the role of a search engine was to provide a list of sites that would provide the best answer to a search query. Google has reinvented the concept, and now seeks, through a range of tools, to deliver the answers themselves. You see it with simple questions such as sports results or a weather forecast – ask the question, and Google will simply tell you who won last night’s football match or whether it is going to rain tomorrow, without you having to click on another page.
This concept is gradually expanding to other areas of search, and businesses need to stay focused on the latest innovations. Hotel marketing in the online age typically involves a blend of both general and industry specific SEO strategies. For example, hotel PPC involves selecting the right keywords that will send your site to the top of the Google hotel ads at the top of the SERP, while online advertising for hotels might also mean getting sponsored listings on sites like TripAdvisor and Expedia. However, Google Hotel Search is set to change the landscape.
What is Google Hotel Search?
As the name suggests, Google Hotel Search is a tool that allows users to search for hotels according to a range of metrics and filters. This in itself is nothing remarkable, but the major change is that users now have the opportunity to book their hotel directly through the Google results page – just like checking the weather or the football scores.
Key in the location, dates, price range and any other factors such as size of room, smoking or non smoking, flexible check in facilities and so on, and Google will provide a list of options. Users will also have the ability to book the room then and there. Where prepayment or a deposit is needed, this can be done at a single click through Google Pay.
How to get listed with Google hotel search
If there’s one thing the general public likes, it is a one stop shop, and Google’s foray into what is essentially the role of a travel agent will have the likes of Travelocity and Booking.com looking over their shoulders. From a hotel’s perspective, ranking well in Google hotel search is clearly going to be a vital objective within its digital marketing strategy.
The first step is to ensure the hotel is listed on Google My Business and that all the fields are completed as comprehensively as possible. This will give your hotel the best chance of appearing in the knowledge panel when potential guests search for a hotel in your area.
From there, those with a working knowledge of SEO are on more familiar ground. Rankings are decided according to the usual Google algorithm rules, so the advice that your SEO consultants keep providing relating to a great user experience, a mobile friendly site and content that is regularly updated and boosts your authority will all stand you in good stead.