Our favorite day of the week is finally here! Before you spend the rest of the afternoon procrastination *cough* I mean working hard before the weekend, catch up on the latest travel & tech industry news with our Friday Fuel roundup:
You Can’t Ignore Google Forever, Guys
Hoteliers are slowly realizing the inevitable: they can’t ignore Google forever. Recent changes to hotel related search queries are dominating SERPs and changing the way searchers flow through the booking funnel. Google Hotel Ads, a new metasearch feature released by the search engine beast itself, is the latest addition to the booking channel and is forcing hoteliers to reevaluate their online strategy. Is participation in this program right for your property? Managers will have to weigh the pros and cons of both options, but in order to “keep up with the Joneses” and fight for direct bookings, participation seems necessary.
Schema, mehhh. Who needs all that code stuff anyway? Well, welcome to 2015, the age of technology. Search engines continue to become savvier about the content that websites provide and the latest Google update is just another example. Google recently announced that they are going to begin replacing URL structure within search result snippets with a breadcrumb path. No, Hansel and Gretel aren’t responsible for this one; rather, Google will utilize the breadcrumb snippet provided by your site to provide a cleaner layout for search results. If you don’t have this implemented for you site – don’t panic. It might not be necessary for every website on the web (yet) but should be considered for a “best practice” moving forward if it does make sense. From a hotel perspective, it might not make sense to have this on your branded website but would make sense for an overall brand website or portal site.
Moar Millennial News
Are you as tired of hearing news on “millennials” as we are? Well, get used to it, because whether we like it or not, this up and coming demographic is quickly replacing “baby boomers” as the next big generation that is shaping our industry. In order to become one with this coveted target, Big Hospitality created a handy infographic to breakdown important target metrics. Did you know that 57% of millennials value a good (and free) wifi connection over good food? Priorities might seem out of whack here, but it is what it is. Get other interesting stats with the full millennial travel infographic.
Test, Test, Test…. And Then Test Some More!
Think user testing is a waste of time? Thing again. With user interfaces evolving and user behavior ever changing, user testing is almost mandatory in present times. Hilton and Booking.com recently released data from user tests that revealed valuable information about how people are using their websites and what they can do to provide a better overall experience. Highlights from these tests include that users appreciate flexibility within the travel space and enjoy features that allow “flexible travel dates” which ultimately provide more results answers and that hotels and booking sites need to think outside of the box when it comes to search suggestions by including things like nearby attractions. Be sure to watch the full User Testing for Travel experience and consider using this valuable tool for your website optimization strategies.
Connecting The Dots Isn’t Childs Play Anymore
Raise your hand if you can say with 100% confidence that you understand your audience’s buyer’s journey from start to finish. If you put your hand up then put it right back down because you, my friend, are a liar. In the age of apps, devices, and incognito windows, it’s almost impossible to connect every single dot of the customer conversion funnel from brand awareness to purchase. If you openly admit that this is a pain point for your hotel or agency, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Results from a recent Econsultancy survey reveal just how drastic these numbers are. A great majority of marketers fail to integrate all sources of data to paint a clear picture – online analytics, email data, call center data, customer survey data, mobile app analytics… the list goes on and on. How do you think we can better utilize all of these data sources to understand the customer conversion funnel?
More Facebook Updates…. Again.
I know what you are thinking… “FACEBOOK UPDATES, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, THE DEATH OF ORGANIC REACH, WAHHHH TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW.” We get it. Don’t shoot the messenger. Facebook is once again re-evaluating the place that (free) business posts play in the overall content mix on organic newsfeeds and have announced that they are making “several updates”… which is pretty much code for “less organic reach”. These updates typically force pages to spend more on paid content while Facebook masks their true intent behind the age-old “user experience” excuse. Rants aside, what can your hotel really do about this? From a general Facebook marketing perspective, providing quality content over quantity and encouraging engagement seems to be the secret sauce for remaining competitive. What do you think about all of the Facebook reach updates for businesses?
Check out this short video series where Brian Solis discusses the future of travel and hospitality, he’s got some interesting points!