Hotel Industry Blog

The 4 Pillars of Digital Marketing Success. Part 2 - Paid Advertising

By Jason Kelly | On Tue, August 28, 2018

In this, the second of a four part series The 4 Pillars of Digital Marketing Success we take a look at pillar 2, Paid Advertising.

Pillar 2 | Paid Advertising

By Jason Kelly

It’s easy to be cynical about paid advertising on search engines, which today is almost like a visibility tax that you have no option but to pay. We’ve already seen how Google is monetising the SERP more and more, but the bottom line is that paid advertising still works.Aggregated data from Bookassist indicates that traffic from paid sources accounts for 35% of hotels’ website revenue. What’s more is that when used together with SEO, paid advertising can actually help SEO[1].

Paid Advertising and SEO - The best of friends

There is a common misconception that paid advertising, particularly on brand search terms, can cannibalise organic traffic. Bing published a study for the travel sector in 2015 on the value of running search ads on brand name terms[2]. The key findings from this study were:

  • An increase of 27% in overall clicks (paid and organic combined) when a brand ad was present.
  • Competitors received almost 40% of clicks when no brand ad was present.
  • Competitors received just 12% of clicks when a brand was present.

Clearly, you need to be present for brand paid advertising.

Paid advertising, particularly search campaigns, also works as an excellent keyword research tool for SEO. The data you receive from search campaigns is invaluable for your SEO strategy. We can get a very clear idea of what phrases people are using to search for hotels, the size of the market for particular niche search terms and more importantly, what search phrases are leading to conversions. This data can then be used to optimise content on your website for terms with high conversion potential, i.e. focus your content on answering the questions people tend to be actually asking.

First things first. Where to start with Paid Advertising?

With an ever increasing number of paid channels, it may be difficult to know where to spend your digital marketing budget. At its most basic level, paid advertising should be used to convert users who have shown strong intent to book a room at your hotel; for example they have searched for your hotel’s name on Google or viewed your listing on Trivago or TripAdvisor. This is where you need to start – your brand name.

Running paid campaigns on your brand name should be the cornerstone of your paid advertising strategy. OTAs, used correctly, can be used to create awareness but if you do not have a presence in the final stages of the customer’s journey, you will lose out on direct bookings, no question.

Expanding your reach. Creating awareness of your brand and acquiring new users
Paid channels should not merely be considered as a tool for converting people who have already made their decision about where they want to stay. Campaigns on search engines and metasearch platforms allow hotels to be present in any and all stages of the customer journey and can, over time, help to reduce hotels’ dependence on OTAs for creating awareness.

The amount of money you invest in each stage of the customer journey is dependent on your goals and the extent to which you have mastered the basic essential elements of a direct booking strategy - an attractive, responsive and fast website, optimisation for desktop and mobile, pricing and channel distribution. There’s little point in investing in brand awareness through display campaigns for example if you have severe rate parity issues. But if you have mastered these essential steps, paid advertising, particularly at the stage where there is commercial intent, can bring a new audience to your website that may have only discovered you on an OTA website.

Jason Kelly, Digital Marketing Specialist at Bookassist (www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide.

Bookassist is The Direct Booking Expert™ and is a Google Premium Partner.

[1] on search engines and on metasearch platforms

[2] https://www.slideshare.net/bingads/brand-term-bidding-an-offensive-defensive-strategy-travel-edition


The 4 Pillars of Digital Marketing Success. Part 1 - SEO

By Editor | On Mon, August 20, 2018

Pillar 1 | Search Engine Optimisation

By Rumenigo Fernandes

In this the first of a series of four articles on The 4 Pillars of Digital Marketing Success we take a look at the critical area of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is one of the main foundations for website success as it drives bookings at the lowest CPA[1] (Cost Per Acquisition) and therefore helps maintain profitability.

Over time, we have seen how Google has made changes to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) with the intent to monetise it as much as possible. Increased number of ads placed above organic search results, greater integration of Google Hotel Ads within the SERP, and demotion of organic search results show that pay per click (PPC) is their priority. However don’t think SEO is dead – it remains equally relevant, if not more so. A study conducted in 2018 found that 70% of link clicks from search still go to organic listings[2] (see figure 1a)

Our own figures in Bookassist support this research finding. Based on data from our partner hotels, organic drives 38% of overall website traffic and accounts for approximately 45% of all bookings and revenue we handle for our clients (see figure 1b). SEO is most definitely alive and thriving.

Figure 1: (a) Data on SEO adapted from http://www.searchenginejournal.com/24-eye-popping-se-statistics/42665/ , (b) data from Bookassist partner hotels.

Getting SEO Right – The SEO Pyramid For a hotel website to gain a high volume of SEO traffic, the site needs to be listed on page one of the search engine results page (SERP), as most users don’t look beyond first page results (especially on mobile). Unlike PPC where you can pay to be seen on page one, with SEO search engines will only list organic website links if the website is seen as an authoritative site. To be regarded as an authoritative site takes considerable time and effort.

Understanding the SEO Pyramid[3] is the key to building an authoritative site (see figure 2). Good SEO begins with a website that is designed so that it can be easily read by both potential customers and search engines. It’s important to keep both these audiences in mind as the ease with which they reach and navigate your site, combined with the frequency and length of their interactions, are what define an authoritative website.

Figure 2: The SEO Pyramid (adapted from https://seocustomer.com/how-to-use-the-seo-pyramid-strategy/)

Second, you need to focus on keyword research and on-page optimisation. Keywords for a hotel can be broken into two main categories: brand and non-brand terms. Non-brand terms can be further broken down into key hotel selling points such facilities, local attractions etc. These segmented terms should form the basis of page content that can be further optimised to ensure that your site ranks organically on search engines.

Third is link building, which involves getting a backlink from another relevant website with a key term or phrase related to your brand, e.g. “hotels near Dublin airport”. Every backlink you get is like a vote for your site on that specific term. The more backlinks you have, the more votes you have, the more recognition your site gets for that term. The more backlinks your site has, the higher a search engine will rank your site[4].

Google does not rank every backlink in the same way. You will be penalised if you get a backlink from a site with low quality content, a site that is not relevant to your users, or for buying links. So build relevant links from high authority websites and target those that add value to your customers.

Fourth and finally, the use of social media builds social authority. Social media does not directly impact your organic ranking on Google or other search engines but it does give a boost to your ranking[5].

Follow the principles of the SEO Pyramid for a structured and long-term SEO strategy. With 70% of clicks still coming via organic channels, a focus on SEO will lower your direct CPA significantly. It’s a no-brainer for digital marketeers.

_

Rumenigo Fernandes, Digital Marketing Specialist at Bookassist (www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide.

Bookassist is The Direct Booking Expert™ and is a Google Premium Partner.

[1] https://www.searchenginejournal.com/why-seo-is-important-for-business/248101/
[2] https://neilpatel.com/blog/seo-dead/
[3] https://seocustomer.com/how-to-use-the-seo-pyramid-strategy/
[4] https://searchengineland.com/how-to-use-the-marketing-funnel-for-seo-inbound-marketing-173663
[5] https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-seo-experiment/


The 4 Pillars of Digital Marketing Success

By Editor | On Mon, August 20, 2018

The Four Pillars of Digital Marketing Success
The Four Pillars of Digital Marketing Success

We know that getting the basics right for search engine optimisation directly enhances your efforts in email marketing, social media and paid advertising by providing users from these channels with a better website experience. And we know that delving into the data from your paid advertising and email marketing campaigns will provide excellent insights into what content brings users to your website and the type of content users engage with on your website on your social media channels.

An effective and successful digital marketing strategy for your hotel is therefore built on four separate yet intrinsically-linked digital marketing pillars: search engine optimisation (SEO), paid advertising, social media and email marketing. Each one of these four pillars has an important part to play in the quest for direct business but the real magic happens when they all work together.

While OTAs continue to assist in generating overall hotel revenue, they are only a segment of the diverse digital ecosystem that customers now explore and engage with. Establishing and strengthening all four digital marketing pillars gives hotel brands the opportunity to connect with customers at multiple stages of their online journey and reinforce the brand from the moment they research their destination to the time that they book their stay.

The Bottom Line

No area in digital marketing operates in a vacuum. Paid advertising and organic traffic will bring new users to your website but social media and email marketing will allow you to develop relationships with these new users and create a genuine conversation. The performance of your business online is dependent on the strength of each of these digital marketing pillars. Strengthening one of these areas will help strengthen the others but strengthening them all so that they work in unison is where the magic really happens.

In this 4 part series we take a look at pillar 1 - Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) pillar 2 - Paid Advertising pillar 3 - Social Media, and pillar 4 - Email Marketing.


Mobile traffic continues to grow, but desktop retains revenue dominance for now

By Des O'Mahony | On Thu, July 12, 2018

Though mobile phone traffic continues to grow in 2018, people still prefer to transact on desktop (for now)

Bookassist continues to analyse the changing behaviour of mobile users on over 1000 European hotel websites. Previously, in full year 2017, we saw significant year on year user pattern change in mobile device versus desktop behaviour, both in sessions and revenue generation. Overall traffic on mobile devices exceeded desktop traffic in some regions and was rapidly moving that way in all others. Here we present the same analysis for the first half of 2018.

Mobile Traffic Continues Growth

In terms of traffic (measured as sessions), the switch to mobile has continued though the pace of change has obviously slowed. Desktop traffic is now just 40% of sessions for hotels in Ireland and the UK, and mobile device traffic is approaching par with desktop in Spain and Portugal.

In all cases mobile phone traffic in particular continues to increase, though growth has now slowed to single figures in percentage terms. Interestingly, tablet traffic seems to be dropping rapidly in percentage terms in the majority of cases at the expense of mobile phones.

Sessions on mobile versus desktop for hotels in the first half of 2018
Figure 1: Visitor sessions by device on Bookassist client hotel websites in Europe from January to June 2018, together with the relative change (in brackets) compared to the same period in 2017. Mobile traffic continues to grow but growth is flattening out.

Mobile Revenue Has A Long Way To Go

In terms of revenue being generated through bookings on hotel websites, we see very significant improvement in mobile and tablet revenue generation. Growth in mobile revenue is universally in double digits year on year, though this is still coming off a low base versus desktop.( Despite the number of mobile phone sessions being significantly higher than tablet sessions, the actual level of revenue generated on each platform is similar in most cases.)

Even though mobile revenue is growing in double digits in most cases, desktop still clearly dominates transactions for hotels.

Revenue generated on mobile versus desktop for hotels in the first half of 2018
Figure 2: Revenue share by device on Bookassist client hotel websites in Europe from January to June 2018, together with the relative change (in brackets) compared to the same period in 2017. Mobile-generated revenue continues to grow universally but for now doesn’t reach the same impressive slice overall that mobile traffic does.

Targeting Mobile

When you look at the broader online picture, mobile currently accounts for half of all global web pages served (source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/241462/global-mobile-phone-website-traffic-share/ ). By February 2017 this figure had already reached 65% in Asia.

But clearly, there are usage differences that inhibit actual transactions on mobile, be they habit, usage mode and/or technical barriers. Bookassist has focused strongly on eliminating technical barriers with the release of the new V10 Mobile booking engine in order to help drive mobile booking revenue up. The ongoing roll-out of V10 Mobile, our most advanced booking platform yet, is undoubtedly accounting for some of the growth figures seen in mobile phone transaction revenue here. However the number of hotels that have been transitioned to V10 Mobile since its April release is still too low to show V10’s real impact on the first six-month figures here.

Given the increasingly dominant number of mobile sessions in all regions compared to the relatively low transaction level, mobile is underexploited. We see most providers’ mobile efforts to be poor in terms of quality, speed and usability, which is why we have directly tackled these areas with our ultra-modern and responsive Smart Web system and our new V10 Mobile booking technology.

Targeting mobile transactions in every possible way is the single best thing that any hotel can do to improve its direct booking potential. That includes using the best mobile web and booking technology, built for speed and usability, and adopting a strategy of providing mobile-only incentives. Treating mobile guests as second-class citizens today will cost you dearly.


Dr Des O’Mahony is CEO and Founder at Bookassist (http://www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide, and is a HSMAI “Top 20 Extraordinary Minds” recipient.


GDS – An Often Misunderstood Direct Opportunity

By Editor | On Mon, June 11, 2018

By Pawel Debakowski, Claire Sawier and Des O’Mahony

GDS business can be a significant source of incremental bookings and increased margin. When optimised, cost per acquisition is significantly better than OTAs. Use a managed GDS service like Bookassist’s to get true benefit.

Open For Business Sign

The Options For Direct

Every hotelier knows the advantage of direct online bookings to their hotel. But there is more to direct than just bookings on your website booking engine. In recent years, for example, meta search has become a strong option to capture traffic via online marketplaces but fulfil the booking directly with your hotel online. At Bookassist our metasearch management team has delivered metasearch bookings growth of 130% in the first quarter of 2018 versus the last quarter of 2017 (see https://bookassist.org/company/testimonials/en/). While there is an additional commission for that traffic versus on-website bookings, it is not at punitive OTA levels, and the customer data is the hotel’s and there to be taken advantage of pre-, during and post-stay.

Is there anything else that can be done to improve hotel margins, other than playing the game of moving bookings between B2C channels, direct and various OTAs? What if you could be getting additional bookings at a cost much lower than the cost of OTA bookings without cannibalising your direct business? An often overlooked and misunderstood service that can deliver just that is the global distribution system, or GDS. When managed properly as an additional distribution channel, GDS bookings can generate increased margins that can be very attractive indeed.

The Global Distribution System

The GDS is a large computer network that represents a single point of entry to travel agents and travel sites worldwide. (It also deals with airline, car rental and bus and rail services, but we won’t consider those here.) The main players in GDS, who compete with each other, are Sabre, Amadeus and Travelport (which comprises Galileo, Apollo and Worldspan). GDS services may be provided to hotels by a “provider”, such as Bookassist, who acts as the first point of contact for GDS with the hotel. The main players may also be providers in some cases.

The GDS is particularly important when it comes to business travel and corporate travel accounts. Many large companies continue to use travel agents or even internally-based travel desks to manage their travel expenses.

A Source of Incremental Bookings

A 2017 study of more than 900 travel agents located throughout 52 countries revealed that travel agents are continuing to report a record use of the GDS for hotel reservations. The study predicted that GDS hotel booking growth would surpass 68 million reservations in 2017 – an increase of over 2 million hotel bookings generated in 2016. Their business intelligence data also demonstrated that GDS hotel bookings and average daily rates (ADR) generated through travel agents are on the rise.

The GDS in particular provides corporate business bookings and agency bookings that in most cases cannot be obtained in any other way. In other words, if a GDS agent/booker is not finding your hotel in the GDS, they will not look for it on other channels - they will instead stay within the GDS environment and will book a different hotel that is available there instead.

It’s important to note also that GDS corporate business typically delivers a quality customer that usually augments hotel F&B/C&B revenue using his employer expenses to wine and dine in the hotel, in contrast to leisure travellers who tend to spend outside the hotel.

GDS Fee Elements

Commissionable and Non-Commissionable GDS Bookings

Fees for GDS bookings can often appear complex compared to the “simple” model of OTAs. With GDS, there is firstly a fee per booking for the use of the GDS systems, often called a transaction or pass-through fee, which is fixed. There may then be additional commissions due to the GDS provider company, and commissions due to the travel agent making the booking. There are two types of GDS booking that can occur, called commissionable and non-commissionable, which refer to whether the travel agent is due commission or not.

In discussions with Bookassist, one of the largest networks of TMCs (travel management companies), indicated that over 80% of bookings they now manage are non-commissionable. For the hotel, there are only two costs associated with acquiring a non-commissionable booking - the GDS transaction fee and the provider’s commission.

For commissionable bookings, you need to add typically 8-10% agency commission on the top of the GDS transaction fee and the provider’s commission. But even at that, you are getting the best available rate (BAR) for the booking, and typically that quality business customer that generates additional spend.

GDS Cost Per Acquisition

So where does the GDS stand in terms of all-important cost per acquisition (CPA)? Because of the fixed transaction fee element, calculation of the CPA of a GDS booking will depend on the hotel sale rate achieved and the length of stay. In other words, it depends on the booking value. For example a transaction fee of €9 could account for 10% or more for a single night BAR booking, while in other cases the transaction fee can be less than 1% when a booking is made for multiple nights and/or the rate achieved is high. In those cases, such bookings often cost as little as 5 or 6% with certain GDS providers.

At Bookassist, our GDS team is now achieving CPA averages across all hotels of approximately 14% on the combination of commissionable and non-commissionable GDS bookings, down from 15% in 2017. Our highly-optimised hotels are achieving 12% or less on the mix, with many non-commissionable bookings at 7% or less.

GDS CPA of 12%

Working the GDS

There are also other opportunities within the GDS environment that can be availed of, such as the commonly talked about ‘consortia’, GDS marketing, GDS preferred listings and more. These services all cost extra and can be effective – but they do not work equally well for all properties.

For the individual hotelier, the requirements for applying to consortia or account managing their property on the GDS can be onerous. This is where a managed service such as Bookassist’s comes in, leaving the hotelier free from the day-to-day GDS management but assured that optimised GDS bookings simply flow through. Very few providers offer a truly managed service, but availing of it where possible has a clear positive impact on performance and is definitely recommended.

Camden Court Testimonial

RFP Management - Open For Business

Similar to how one uses digital marketing to promote the use of the direct sales channel, we can use marketing techniques in the GDS to enhance return. Primary among those techniques is RFP Management. RFP is “request for proposal”, where companies make the market aware of the volume of bednights they expect to need for the upcoming year.

Hotels can already greatly benefit from positioning the commissionable, GDS BAR bookings within their online business mix, but it is the proper management of GDS RFPs and corporate sales relationships that really let you to show off your revenue management skills.

Once a year, hotels have the opportunity to bid for corporate GDS business depending on their location, amenities and the standards set by particular company requirements. RFP management tools and related market intelligence can be of great help in securing the right business. For example, corporate room-night requirements per location worldwide as well as corporate office/production plant locations are available to hotels during RFP season. When managed appropriately, the information can be used to secure valuable incremental business at good margins.

While the initial work involved in RFPs can be onerous, providers such as Bookassist can manage the task for the hotelier and deliver the business. The RFP “season” is now underway in relation to corporate room-night requirements for 2019 and represents a real opportunity for hotels near key companies and industries.

Bottom Line

GDS business can be a significant source of incremental bookings and increased margin. Hoteliers have a great opportunity to generate incremental revenue and maximise revenue per available room (RevPAR) through the power of the GDS. When optimised, cost per acquisition is significantly better than OTAs, and the guest spend per stay is likely far higher. The RFP season is now underway for 2019 and represents a real opportunity for hotels to tap into that incremental direct business.

It’s time to make sure that you are open for business on the GDS.


Pawel Debakowski is Head of Product for GDS, Claire Sawier is Head of Marketing, and Des O’Mahony is CEO & Founder at Bookassist (http://www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide. Bookassist is The Direct Booking Expert™ and is a Google Premium Partner.


Owning Your Hotel’s Online Real Estate

By Editor | On Mon, May 21, 2018

The Continuing Importance Of Search

Your hotel’s online traffic and online bookings come from a broad variety of sources today, and none of those sources is more important than search. Aggregated data from hundreds of Bookassist partner hotels across Ireland and Europe over the past 12 months show that Google was responsible for 72.5% of overall traffic to those clients when you add Google pay per click (PPC), Google organic search and Google meta search (see Figure 1).

Bookassist data showing Google services delivering 72.5% of overall traffic to hotels in the past 12 months
Figure 1: Bookassist data showing Google services delivering 72.5% of overall traffic to hotels in the past 12 months


Google continues to rank far ahead of all other search engines in market share terms. This is particularly true when it comes to mobile where its dominance of search volume currently exceeds 90% due to its ownership of the Android platform and its status as default search on Apple’s iOS. With Google processing over 40,000 search queries every second on average, it’s virtually impossible for your business to succeed online without prioritising Google in your online strategy.

Just think of what could be achieved if you could own your very own real estate on Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Well actually you already do have a foothold - although there is a massive performance gap between brands that dominate the whole SERP area and those who just own a small corner. In a perfect online world, when someone searches for your brand on Google, the results page would be heavily dominated by you, the brand owner, with perfect messaging that reels in the customers. It’s not that easy to do, but those that do get it right reap large economic benefits. The continuing cost of tackling the issue can well be outweighed by the ongoing benefits if you get this right.

The Successful Multi-pronged Approach

Presence on the first page of Google’s SERP is the holy grail for brand owners and marketeers. However it is not enough - you need to be present and strong across all areas of the first page. Search engine optimisation (SEO), PPC, Google My Business and metasearch are all separate areas that must be continually optimised to present an enticing storefront for potential customers. And just like any store front, the windows need to be appropriately dressed and targeting to the customer.

Hoteliers actually have a lot of control over the presentation of their brand on the SERP but disappointingly many allow the weeds to grow and the page goes unnurtured and overgrown by unwanted competitors. So what can you do to win at the online equivalent of the Chelsea Flower Show?

Knowing The SERP #1 - PPC Advertising For Your Brand Name

Firstly it is important to understand the key areas of the Google SERP to see why and how they can be influenced for maximum visibility. It is interesting to note that 34% of searches on Google do not result in a click – this is because Google has either answered the query directly on the page, or because the user was not satisfied with the results and so entered another query.

Starting at the top of the page, the easiest area to control is the section with PPC or paid ads, which can be identified by the small green text box which says ‘Ad’ (see Figure 2).

Google Pay Per Click Ads are indicated by the “Ad” label. Rich ad extensions and site links can be created to maximise impact
Figure 2: Google Pay Per Click Ads are indicated by the “Ad” label. Rich ad extensions and site links can be created to maximise impact

In order to maximize visibility in this area it is strongly advised to use a Google Premier Partner like Bookassist that has experience in creating and optimizing campaigns for hotels. Your agency should ensure that the full complement of ad extensions and sitelinks are used to maximize the footprint on the page and provide rich information, and to ensure the best position to get maximum click-through. The devil is in the detail here and significant skill is needed for research and optimisation.

Many hoteliers query the value of running brand name ads at all. But there are significant implications of not doing so. In conjunction with one of our partner hotels we ran an experiment to see what impact turning off brand ads would have on other areas of Google search. As is demonstrated in Figure 3 below, there was a significant drop in OVERALL Google traffic when the brand ads stopped, with a recovery as soon as the ads were switched back on. Our conclusion was that while PPC ads will divert some users away for clicking on organic listings, removing the ads will result in an overall traffic drop as users click on alternative ads.

Bookassist data shows that not running brand advertising campaigns can also damage your non-campaign traffic as users engage with and focus more on competitor ads
Figure 3: Bookassist data shows that not running brand advertising campaigns can also damage your non-campaign traffic as users engage with and focus more on competitor ads

Knowing The SERP #2 - Organic Listings

Continuing down the SERP to the organic results listing beneath the PPC ads, it is important that this area too is managed by an agency experienced in SEO. Technical areas such as meta tags and descriptions need to be expertly crafted to send the best possible message to Google but also to attract users and encourage them to click through to your site. And of course you need to consider multilingual approaches also for your target markets which may differ in approach and not be simply translations of the main language.

Data for Google organic traffic in March from Advanced Web Ranking shows that, internationally, the first listing in the organic results page receives a 36% click through rate (CTR) on desktop and 28.5% CTR on mobile with a rapid drop off as we move down the SERP (see Figure 4). So it is critical to focus on how to rank first for your brand name.

Advanced Web Ranking data shows the importance of owning the first position in organic search
Figure 4: Advanced Web Ranking data shows the importance of owning the first position in organic search

Knowing The SERP #3 - The Knowledge Graph

The third key area of the results page appears on the right hand side and is referred to as the Knowledge Graph by Google. The objective of this section is to answer as many queries as possible in one area and to encourage the user to click through to a booking facility powered by Google Hotel ads – Google’s metasearch advertising platform.

Looking at a well-structured example in Figure 5, we see the various areas that can mostly be optimized directly by the property owner. If you don’t already own the information being displayed about your property, the first step is to claim the business using Google My Business at the address business.google.com. The Google My Business interface allows you to manage photos, reviews, description, questions and much more.

A well-structured Knowledge Graph can bring significant click throughs and additional business
Figure 5: A well-structured Knowledge Graph can bring significant click throughs and additional business


When logged in to your Google My Business account, you can upload official property photos and review user photos in order to flag any that are unsuitable. It is important to note that the knowledge graph will appear for searchers whether you engage with it or not, and in the absence of owner-supplied information, Google will rely on general users and third party websites for content.

The next key area to check is the map, to ensure that the location is correct, and following that, to check that the name, address and phone number match exactly with the details on your website.

The Book a Room button and Check Availability facility are powered by Google Hotel Ads. Google’s metasearch service that operates on a cost per click model. Again if you are not there, the user will likely click on a third party to check rates and complete a booking. Use of this area requires partnership with a metasearch provider such as Bookassist that has a certified connection to the Google Hotel Ads platform.

The Hotels details section allows you to create a well written and informative description of your property but unfortunately Google frequently ignores this description and pulls one together from various sources across the web. Despite this drawback it is well worthwhile managing your description and taking the time to regularly update your amenities to ensure that they are 100% accurate, as having incorrect facilities listed can lead to customer dissatisfaction on arrival or possibly mean missing out on a booking when customers don’t see a facility that they require.

The final two sections require regular monitoring and feedback – firstly the customer reviews should be treated in the same way as other important review sites, with frequent responses from the owner or other responsible for both good and bad reviews. Finally the questions and answers section is a good opportunity to engage with customers. These questions are typically answered by Google users, so it is important that the official response is given for accuracy, but also to start a conversation with customers.

Bottom Line

You may not know it, but you already have a SERP for your hotel. The question is who really owns that real estate, you or your competitors? It’s time to move your page’s real estate from a side alleyway to the main street and tap into customer demand.

Ciarán Rowe is Head of Digital Marketing Operations, Claire Sawier is Head of Marketing, and Des O’Mahony is CEO & Founder at Bookassist (http://www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide.

Bookassist is The Direct Booking Expert™ and is a Google Premium Partner.


It’s Official - Desktop Is A Minority Access Point In Ireland/UK

By Des O'Mahony | On Thu, January 04, 2018

​Mobile continues to gain usage over desktop and at the expense of tablet also. Recently we published data from mid year 2017 showing the impact of mobile on hotel website traffic - https://bookassist.org/blog/post/mobile-marches-forward/en/

For full 2017 figures across hundreds of hotel websites that we manage or monitor, we see that desktop sessions were in a minority for hotels monitored in Bookassist’s markets in Ireland/UK and in Spain/Portugal. As with other studies, we continue to see mobile revenue lagging the traffic figures significantly, though the growth rates are substantial. Let’s see what 2018 brings as customers become ever-more comfortable with mobile as their primary access point.

mobile traffic versus desktop 2017

mobile revenue versus desktop 2017

« Previous page      Next page »
bookassist - technology & online strategy for hotels

Address: 1st Floor South Block, Rockfield Central, Dublin D16 R6V0, Ireland
Phone: +353 1 676 2913 Fax: +353 1 676 2916
Email:
Web: https://bookassist.org/en