How Hotels React to Google Travel and Intent Based Search
By Nate Lane Senior Director Business Development, Pegasus | December 08, 2019
Google's continually-evolving ecosystem presents both a challenge and an opportunity to business owners looking to maximize their impact and increase visualization across the internet. The algorithms behind the scenes at Google are shifting to make recommendations based on a user's intent rather than direct keyword matches and a number of secondary and tertiary factors.
As a result, hotels will be forced to pivot their search-engine optimization priorities from providing proof of relevance and authenticity through content saturation to focus on aligning with user intent, rewarding observant businesses with informative and intuitive websites and penalizing those who unable to adapt.
First, it is important to understand why Google is choosing to once again alter its search parameter. At the highest level, Google has a commitment to deliver search results that provide the best user experience by providing information and answers that align with their queries. As it applies to the hotel vertical, the company has made forays into the travel market multiple times in the past through ventures such as Google Trips and Google Flights, and currently through a multi-faceted, consolidated experience within Google Travel.
Google is the first source used by the majority of travelers when they begin their booking journey, and because of this, the company owns the ability to direct these guests however they choose. This manifests through the combination of top paid advertising spots on Google's SERP (search engine results page) followed by organic results that require an investment of time, money, and strategy to optimize for.
In the past, being included in the results on a SERP was more straight-forward as Google's algorithms were less dynamic, but with the inclusion of machine-learning, these algorithms are constantly learning and evolving. This process helped Google identify if the business in question was legitimate, and if it was relevant to a Google user's interests. For years, the SEO (search engine optimization) strategies used to get a website to rank were fairly predictable and many "gamed" the algorithms through black-hat and white-hat tactics. Now, user intent is king.
The User Perspective