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The Year Ahead For Optimizing Travel And Tourism


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#1 glyn

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 08:35 AM

I am looking ahead at the 2017 calander thinking about the best ways to deliver revenue in an un-seoable organic traffic marketplace. SEO in this context is for me about finding the right combinations of keywords for the pages of the website. It used to be that you could pretty much rank any page based on links, Now due to the way Google informs itelf on the destination page relevancy to the keyword it this type of optmization will pretty much de-index itself over the longer term unless you keep up the assualt on links.

 

What's more it's no like if you optmize a website with relevant keywords that you go from 10 visits to 100. What I see, and it's not really empirical but more of a sensation is that websites have a traffic value of 100, irresepective of the SEO that is performed on it (sure there will be some architectural changes an SEO can make which will give a lift, but this has more to do with increasing user satisfaction by serving mobile versions or pages quickly, which in the google ranking landscape will increase the search position where the keyword is properly relevant to the page), and that when you changes keyword focus your traffic stays the same but you get a different set of visitors, which should hopefully convert more.

 

Initially though the changes that you make to a website will result in a drop which, over the course of what I've seen between a couple of weeks and a month, will then stabilize in it's new position. I've been using SEM rush which I've found a nice too to bring information together in a clearly interesting way.

 

In my own area of the web, what I will be battling with is Attribution war - the thing where everyone wants to own the traffic. Whether this is by writing over cookies as view-through conversions or simply botched tracking by providers that then provide no customer support to help with any checking.  Facebook launched a new product catalogue option for travel which basically works like a google merchant shopping experience which you can then assign to demographics in detail. This is interesting. This technology was not available as a self-serve option in 2015, but there's a company stateside that has been providing some similar type of tech to the Online Travel Agents.

 

Meanwhile I expect that Amazon will also begin offering something for the travel sectors considering the size of their market audience.

 

There has been quite a lot of talk of chat bots and some great fails. Lots of hotels have a lot of low-hanging fruit that they do not properly optimise, and sometimes people just need a little nudget with the right type of reminder to take action. With conversion optmization I've seen some hotels increase their loyalty programmes by over 200% and that isn't from 1 to 3 members. Equally you can transform 2ndary businesess areas like weddings in to revenue by automating follow ups. This is quite fun to do. I've always enjoyed using technology in this way.

 

I'm also looking forward to helping launch a new 5* hotel online with five and a half thousand miles between offices. This is something that frankly would have been much more difficult to do pre-internet.

 

 

Enjoy it!

 

Glyn.

 



#2 earlpearl

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 11:05 AM

Glyn:

 

When I look at the serps for hotel type phrases I'm stumped.  On an old fashioned SEO perspective one is dead in the water.  You really have to stay ahead of the game to tackle this niche.   Good luck.  Keep us informed.

 

Need to add one thing that has only a tangential relationship:   Optimizing for local and in trying to get into the 3 pac of visibility has changed from something that was free if not labor intensive to something that requires payment.  Even with that goog has changed the game so that the 3 pac visibility is significantly minimized for those that get in. 

 

The SEO/search engine/google platform is on an endless path of requiring more monetization.  Less and less a search engine more and more a paid platform.


Edited by earlpearl, 06 January 2017 - 11:34 AM.


#3 iamlost

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 08:38 PM

Yes, the travel/accommodation business is a mess on web search. And not just for the individual businesses who struggle (1) to be found and (2) to differentiate themselves, potential customers have to wade through that same swamp (and he galloped off in every direction...) to find something palatable.

Way back, shortly after joining Cre8, I mentioned a B&B I helped (minimally):

I have a friend who needed to differentiate one luxourious B&B on acreage on the seashore from all the others in the neighbourhood. All quite comparable, all with competent websites. She decided to tell stories. She made both static page and multimedia versions: baking breads/pastries in the outdoor oven as the sun comes up; creating a picnic basket and following a couple to a secluded beach where they partake of it and each other - definitely NSFW; a couple wandering through local markets and studios interacting with merchants and artists; a couple gliding in kayaks past various islets and sealife...you get the picture. So did potential customers - I believe they have a vacancy in 2012.

They went basic responsive layout back in 2013 but have decided to (1) totally revamp the site and (2) totally review their marketing. What I find fascinating, and extremely telling, is that they have decided that general web search, i.e. Google, isn't worth bothering about.

By that I mean is they (without my input) have looked at all their marketing and search has by far the worst ROI. Of course they are very niche rather high end but still... On their own they have come to the conclusion that actively chasing search isn't worth the effort. They will take what comes but not worry about either ppc or organic. I wonder if/how many other boutique operations will decide to simply ignore the SEs, not block them but not worry about them either in the coming years. So many other venues in which to fish for better converting traffic than in years past.

Note: and I stand by what I said 2-years ago in Travel & Tourism, 2014 A Year In Review

There are two major ways to market every niche:
1. price.
2. experience.
Note: location is a subset of both.
I prefer '2' as it foregoes the competitive dive to the bottom, gets compliments and returns, plus a much healthier bottom line.

 



#4 earlpearl

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:45 PM

A certain question got me to look at some hotel serps for searches such as "hotels london", "hotels DC" etc.   In this one instance I turned on the moz tool for a quick down and dirty analysis.

 

OKAY OKAY I KNOW moz DA and PA are NOT GOOGLE.  But for quick down and dirty looks they add to perspective.  I then compared searches in that vertical to some others.

 

So, yeah....google, but also bing has dramatically changed the serps so that individual hotel units are knocked out of the serps with the OTA's and news sites scrounging all the top serps.  Call me suspicious  :D    but google doesn't earn a dime if a searcher books directly with a hotel off of a visit to the organic result!!!!   Interestingly I then looked at just a couple of Marriott pages for sites.  Criminy Christmas.  Marriott has some tremendously high DA and PA's...for pages for hotel and city.... and they cannot crack google's higher serps. (I don't know if that is for a majority of cities, but on a DA/PA analysis Marriott is pounding out the links, etc.   I'd simply say that Google DOES NOT WANT Marriott and other hotels to get traffic for "discovery searches". 

 

Then I checked two other verticals.  Its not that drastic, but its not a LOT Worse.  Very VERY disturbing.  

 

Clearly as Glyn and IamLost have described elsewhere and directly above its critical to diversify outside of organic serps if google is determined to NOT allow you to be seen.  Lastly, with regard to IamLost's reference above:  

 

Two ways to market every niche (actually all types of products/services including mainstream products)

1. price

2. experience

 

That is a very old and wise truism.  I originally had it described as   1. price;  2. features     experience is a richer word!!!!



#5 glyn

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 02:10 PM

Google doesnt show hotels because they prefer to earn cpc off meta-search instead. Also with query/intent mapping the only end game scenario I see for every vertical is more of the same mass inventory shi* that has made t&t what it is today. The length of time this becomes fruition in any niche is simply a ticking clock.
G

#6 earlpearl

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 02:41 PM

Google doesnt show hotels because they prefer to earn cpc off meta-search instead. Also with query/intent mapping the only end game scenario I see for every vertical is more of the same mass inventory shi* that has made t&t what it is today. The length of time this becomes fruition in any niche is simply a ticking clock.
G

I agree.  Google is all about paid clicks.   BTW:   the OTA's have very high DA's and high PA's.  Then I looked at some other verticals and the non businesses that push down the actual business pages don't have nearly the DA and PA that the OTA's have.  AND...there isn't the money in it for them and for google.   YET.   but I agree its a changing environment and a ticking clock.

 

(caveat repeated---Moz is NOT google)



#7 earlpearl

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 09:02 AM

I was re reading about your b&b friends/clients IamLost. They are unusual; per the description I gather they have a creme de la creme B&B, they seem to be meticulous, and they pay attention to detail and they are analytical. I find that to be an unusual mix. Nice to know they are doing well.

The hotel and restaurant worlds do have plenty of visibility options outside of search. Penetrating them all well is not easy. And we can see via their revenues and values that the OTA's do recognize how valuable and humongous search is



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