How to Use the Google Ecosystem to Get Your Hotel’s Digital Strategy on Point
By Kerryn Gower - Marketing Coordinator at HEBS Digital
17 May 2018
With over 4 billion searches happening every day, the Google ecosystem continues to be one of the best suites of products available for hotels to drive online users to their website, and then convert those users into guests. With ongoing optimizations and new products being released regularly, it can be easy for hoteliers to fall behind on trends and miss opportunities to get the most out of their digital strategy through the entire Google ecosystem.
Below, we've outlined some of the latest developments from Google, including new products and enhancements to existing products, which can greatly impact the digital marketing results for hotels. We'll also take a closer look at how each product can be utilized and share success stories from clients that have taken advantage of the full Google suite.
The Top 5 Google Trends of the Moment
Keeping up with current trends can be challenging, but the below will jumpstart your knowledge of what you need to know now about the Google ecosystem. The latest developments from Google, which can assist in producing incremental revenue and aiding in digital marketing efforts, include the following:
Google AMP Stories add a visual layer to search engine results pages.
- Google AMP Stories are making waves on search engine results pages (SERPs) by allowing users to view a quick snippet of content. Similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, hoteliers will be able to feature content within AMP Stories, which are going to be found across Google SERPs on both mobile and desktop. Though this hasn't been rolled out yet, Stories will have their advantages, including appearing via keyword search rather than a social network following, and being script-based which presents the opportunity for semi-automation.
Progressive Web Apps create an app-like user experience.
- Users expect an app-like experience when they're on your mobile site. One of the newest Google products is its Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Through the implementation of this product, hotel websites will have the ability to serve fast-loading, app-like experiences. With instant loading speeds, the user experience is immersive, even in poor network conditions. Why is this so important? As mobile page load time increases from one second to five seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 90% (Google).
Updates to Google My Business allow more control over listings.
- As a recent focus for Google, there are two updates to this product that can help hotels reach more guests with relevant information:
- Google My Business now allows businesses to post directly to Google Maps. While this feature is not yet available for hotel Google My Business listings, restaurants, spas, and other businesses will be able to publish timely content such as events, products, and offers.
- Google will soon be adding a feature to Google My Business that allows business owners to add a description that will show up in Google's local knowledge panel. These descriptions can be used to highlight key differentiators which will enhance the listing.
Push notifications on Chrome can help deliver relevant content to audiences.
- While not directly tied to the Google ecosystem, the browser-based technology called Push Notifications will begin to be more and more important for marketers to incorporate into their overall digital strategy. Companies like Trivago are using Push and are reporting that Push Notification subscriptions have eclipsed email subscriptions. Hoteliers should look into implementing Push to allow followers to receive desktop and/or mobile notifications for timely content such as new offers and new blog content. Hoteliers can even use the technology to facilitate booking engine abandonment, and for sending messages to specific loyalty members. The possibilities are endless.
Optimize your website for voice search.
- Termed "the next billion" by the Wall Street Journal, marketers should be proactively optimizing their websites for voice search. Voice search optimization is a combination of traditional SEO strategies and the study of patterns inherent in voice search. There are many limitations to voice search when it comes to a hotel website, like making a booking, but hotel websites with rich destination content, unique amenities and F&B outlets have the opportunity to benefit. For example, a hotel could optimize for, "What is the best hotel in Bali with an infinity pool?" Finding the balance between optimizing for keywords that users type into a search bar, compared to what people actually speak to their device, is a delicate one that marketers will have to watch closely.
Which Google products should hotels utilize?
Tried-and-true initiatives from the Google Ecosystem can help hotels get in front of potential guests across devices at meaningful moments.
So exactly which products should hotels utilize?
- Display Ads
- Google Hotel Ads
- Google My Business
- Google AMP
- Gmail Ads
- YouTube TrueView
How can hotels leverage each product to get maximum revenues?
While it's important to reach potential guests who are lower in the purchase funnel, it's equally important to focus on marketing efforts that reach them at every stage of the travel planning journey in order to influence and shape decisions that will ultimately lead to a booking. Leveraging each Google product, often times in tandem with another, can help hoteliers be there for every step of the travel planning journey.
SEO + SEM
- SEO is a crucial part of any hotel digital marketing strategy. However, when combined with a multi-channel strategy that includes SEM, they can generate even greater revenue. By utilizing destination content on the website, hotels can increase visibility on search engine results pages. After a website visitor lands on your hotel website, they can then be retargeted with an SEM campaign, which ultimately leads to more website traffic and more direct bookings.
Google Hotel Ads + Google My Business
- Participation in Google Hotel Ads has seen hotels generate three times higher conversions than traditional paid search. Google displays the room rate, room tax, and availability via a real-time inventory feed from the hotel CRS and directs traffic back to the hotel website. Information is pulled directly from your Google My Business page, ensuring that the ad is updated with the correct details and images, which is crucial to reaching more qualified leads.
Gmail Ads + Display Ads
- As two highly visual ad platforms, Gmail Ads and Display Ads can capture the attention of users online. For hotels looking to increase engagement on mobile devices, implementing Gmail Ads can be highly effective since 50% of emails are opened on mobile devices. It's been found that consumers exposed to a display ad show an average lift of 49% in site visitation and 40% in brand-name searches. After a user lands on your website or engages with search ads for your property, retargeting on the Google Display Network or through Gmail helps ensure more users will come back to the website to complete a booking.
- As a way to get in front of mobile users at faster speeds, hotels can utilize Google AMP and create content and promotional pages which advertise hotel amenities and services including dining options, spa services, maps and destination information which all appear in the Google AMP Teaser Section on the mobile SERPS. These pages load at faster speeds making the mobile user experience better than ever before.
Creative examples and use cases.
Penn's View Increased Organic Revenue by 120% with Ongoing SEO: Looking for a way to stand out in the crowded search engine results pages for Philadelphia hotels, Penn's View applied optimizations on their website including updating schema and implementing redirects to mobile site links. In addition, they focused on keywords surrounding legendary attractions like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and more. In addition to seeing increases in organic revenue (120%) and organic bookings (111%) year-over-year, the property also saw increases in month-over-month organic metrics including an 85% increase in conversion rate.
Tilden Hotel Follows Design Trends for GDN Banners: As users get hit with over 38,000 micro-moments over the course of two months (Google), hotels need to make sure that their creative stands out. Updating banners on an ongoing basis is important to make sure that the hotel's ads stay up to date with design trends.
Google Hotel Ads
Hotel 48LEX Increased Revenue and Bookings with Google Hotel Ads: Hotel 48LEX was looking for a way to stand out in the crowded search engine results pages of New York City hotels. With both hotels and OTAs competing for placement, the hotel launched Google Hotel Ads which garnered over 800 clicks to the website and resulted in 101 nights booked.
Google AMP Improves a Denver Hotel's Mobile-First Strategy: The Maven, a new hotel brand in Denver's Dairy Block, needed greater visibility on the search engines and to keep users engaged on their site. After enabling Google AMP, there was a 36.8% increase in bookings initiated, a 17.3% increase in unique visitors, and a 1.4% decrease in bounce rate from mobile device natural search.
For any questions or to learn more about how HEBS Digital can help your hotel's digital marketing strategy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.