Entries tagged with “travel”.

You should add these to your hotel website. You should claim your hotel Google Plus Business Listing, You should create and or merge your page with that listing. You should add all the snippets you can, and verify your website URL. All this makes you stronger in Google Plus, and all of Google Plus makes you stronger in organic search. And it doesn’t end there….


Do these!
If you know any other ways to make your site friendlier with Google Plus and google, please comment!


People keep trying to crack the data to show how organic search rankings are effected by Google Plus, and how Google informs it’s search picture carousel and ranking of hotels in the new travel vertical part of search.


Hotel people like data, but sometimes a lovely, simple metaphor, and a simple picture, is all you need.


METAPHOR:  By looking at the attached pics, I think it’s easy to visualize Google Plus as the largest and most beautiful ad, that you control, and it’s totally free, as long as you maintain the Google Plus page.  I am doing that, but to create further relevance, we should optimize the site for Google. Those codes will help.


Basically, Google Plus is becoming far more important.  If you look at the Inn at the Presidio search pic- I didn’t even search the right search terms, and 50% of the page of the returned organic search results shows our hotel Google Plus page, with pictures, recent posts, reviews, links, etc.  People now are clicking that because it’s so obvious, and G+ has a booking engine in the business page, now, too. I am working with our team to find out how to add our direct booking engine, vs letting OTA’s run amock.  It’s like a glorious, beautiful ad that takes all the attention off the organic search results (that we populate, anyway).




But, with that image, it obviously means that all attention is on the right.  What’s more, if you are NOT active online and claiming this G+ listing, you become irrelevent. I think this is the scariest message I want to relate.  This is wholly by accident, but there’s another hotel with “Presidio” and “Inn” in the title, and they barely appear anywhere, anymore.  We’ve taken ownership of their brand name with our activity, and add that to their absence of presence, wholly by accident…. we’re probably digging into them a bit.


To make Google happy, you need to do these little header snippets, because it further verifies your website, makes it more valuable and relevant, therefore ranking higher, in organic search.


But the way the Google Plus page is displaying is just astonishing.  Think about organic search, Google’s travel vertical, and what is going on here. Then laugh at this article:


(Facebook says wooing travel industry will be key focus in 2014? NINE YEARS TOO LATE? I know, I gotta get my Facebook dig in… but when hoteliers realize what’s happening in Google, do you think they will ever listen to FB, who has burned us and ignored us, for NINE YEARS?!?!)


With the 2nd pic, it’s even more sobering.  I searched for Tide Inn, and the “Inn Above Tide” is what pops up.  The hotel populates 50% of the page… and at the very bottom, tiny, it reads: “see results about the Tides Inn”. I know the search term isn’t precise, but to think that our hotel could crowd that much organic search real estate is astonishing.  I also know these are personalized and non global searches, reaffirming my own confirmation bias and selective perception, as we all learned about in Eli Pariser’s BRILLIANT “Filter Bubble: What the PErsonalized web is not telling you.” Watch a TED Talk here.  Still… with this awareness of how the internet delivers tailored results, the obviousness of the succinct and somewhat elegant metaphor of your plus page as an ad should not ring hollow.  These photos should help you get on the bandwagon, and stop focusing on silly posts that don’t do anything for your hotel.


Get with it guys!  Let’s not let independent and hard working boutique operators get left behind because we don’t have the R&D, corporate communication structure, or marketing dollars that everyone else has!  The value here is gold! =)




Think about that – our activity on Google Plus has pushed the actual hotel that is the name of my exact search, BELOW THE FOLD. That is very important. We now own their hotel name, because of our footprint online.  We didn’t mean to do that…. we are just active online.  It shocked us as much as anyone, and in time I am sure it will balance.  But being at the forefront of this is amazing… the edge this is giving hoteliers who focus on Plus is astounding.


Important stuff.

Hope this helps.

If you aren’t paying attention to Google’s movement in the Travel arena, here’s an update. If you want to talk about the future of Travel, start with Google, because every consumer, guest, business, and everyone else already does.


1st: considering the below, there’s absolutely no way that Google Plus won’t pick up steam. The Google Local tied in with Zagat have started gaining momentum alongside review sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor (still no Facebook review component?). When people search Google, it is so natural to click on the map or what is in front of you. As it’s been said before – if you rely on Google Search for people to find you, or Google maps for people to get to you, you shouldn’t be ignoring google reviews, google local, etc.

Google “Now” which combines search w/ personal data, IE:


If I search a restaurant on my desktop, it automatically tells my phone to show me a map, and show me travel time from my current location.


If I have a “boarding pass” for a flight come to my email, my phone automatically suggests transit options, shows a map, shows traffic time to the airport, and shows departure time, and if it’s on time.


If I have a package being shipped to me, my phone knows to tell me when it should arrive, and whether I need to be at the address, where it is in transit, etc.


If there’s a concert on my calendar, it tells me when, where, and whether I have my tickets.


That’s just the beginning….


Here is a simple video:



Travopia mentions that “The revolution has begun” - how google will wrap all it’s products together. Google Flight search and Google Hotel Finder are the best in the biz, I think.
This is from the Travopia article, regarding how the intuitive nature of Google Now will capture travelers, guests, business people, and the like:”After yesterday’s product refresh, Google Now displays cards for below 21 scenarios:

  1. Appointment
  2. Weather
  3. Traffic
  4. Flight -Displays your flight schedules, gate changes, traffic information to airport
  5. Hotel -Shows directions to your hotel when you arrive in a new city, Google knows where you stay
  6. Restaurant -Reminders you when to leave to reach the restaurant with live estimated travel time
  7. Events – Reminders about your event tickets that you purchased for, pulls event details too
  8. Packages – Displays your product shipping status, allows you to track it
  9. Sports
  10. Movies
  11. Concerts
  12. Stocks
  13. Public Alerts
  14. Developing Stories & Breaking News
  15. Public Transit- Displays the next bus / train (with ETA) when you are at a bus / tube / train station
  16. Places -Depending on your location, it suggests nearby places of interest, bars and restaurants
  17. Nearby Attractions -Displays near by attractions to visit [pulled from Zagat]
  18. Nearby Photo spots -Displays the photo spots nearby with ETA
  19. Translations
  20. Currency
  21. Time At Home”
TNooz talks about it… Google Now pushes itineraries, translates, shows photo spots
TechCrunch raves - “Contextual Results w/ real time reminders and data”
Wired: Google Now delivers boarding passes, travel forecasts prior to search


(this was the first time I really got it, traveling over the holidays. It knew I was about to search for our rental car confirmation, it knew I was going to search for flight info, our hotel info, etc. It kept telling me before I searched)
(The search assistant like Apple’s Siri is smart, and funny… and can post directly to Google Plus, etc)


Here’s a guy walking through how it would help book something like Oktoberfest….
Google Now is an integral next step for Google’s entry into controlling travel. It’s fairly amazing. Let me know your experiences. When I got over the startling creepy vibe, it’s become a bit of a sentient friend (and I am ashamed to talk like that, but it’s true. I guess Jobs was right).


UGH – the word “engagement”, indeed, will make me rant. Pardon me. A TNooz article quotes Facebook Travel,  “a team lead for the travel vertical in Facebook said that the travel industry is lagging behind other industries in maximizing the power of the social networking site for marketing messages”. That’s disappointing they think that. But maybe it’s not me, it’s you….


Enjoy exploring this page, yourselves: https://www.facebook.com/deals/checkin/business/


See this is the disconnect with Facebook, and real business. Real business needs to make sense of real dollars, and don’t really get “engagement”. You can’t just say things and hope they mean something when your infrastructure is broken. I have drunk the social kool-aid 100%. Review sites have upended traditional marketing models, and how operations steers the ship. It’s more revolutionary than the printing press, in many ways. We have a networked superconsciousness now, and we all have almost ESP like access to each other’s information.

But for Facebook to talk about “engagement” as a currency, when it just, truly, does not exist on Facebook (yet?), is dense. It’s a bad move for them – I have talked about all their bad moves, ad naseoum, and am beginning to wrap it up. I imagine I am not the only industry person who will have this point of view. If you don’t, then explain why Facebook chastises our industry, where marketing features like Check-Ins that they claim they are “committed to” offer zero help, broken videos, and links to dead guides (especially funny as the “how to do facebook check-ins” guide links to a pitch black page, a literal black hole, if you will.<br/>
fb wrong

UPDATE: It now leads to a “This page doesn’t exist” link.

For Facebook, I think it’s too late. That spontaneous press conference to announce social graph search (unavailable but to .01% of users, and slow to roll out, taking years?) seemed a bit spontaneous in lieu of losing 1.4 million users in the US and 600,000 in the UK, last December alone.

It seems to be a desperate way to keep people’s attention.

But we all know how silent that world of Facebook has been recently. Updates, changes, settings confusion, privacy confusion, purges. That’s lost some people, for others – there’s only so much you can know about people you know. We all know how frustrated we are with the site. The unstable, complex architecture –  it’s exhausting to keep up with, for those that haven’t already given up.

“Engagement” hasn’t meant anything there, and now it’s just storytelling with pictures.  Building brand, slowly, with little cost, *is* valuable, but we shouldn’t overvalue it. Definitely not on this website. The fact is, it’s a closed system, so it may end up irrelevant. Twitter, alone, is concierge services, storytelling, a telephone, service recovery, a Q&A platform, and more. It’s far more useful. Google Plus is heading in that direction too, with the marketing capabilities of hangouts, it’s amazing.

However we end up measuring “engagement”, there’s almost none of it on Facebook for most smaller travel brands. If you crunch the numbers of likes and comments on most major brands, it’s approximately .00005% engagement of their “liked” fan base.

A huge issue, and a metric I am waiting for from Facebook, is how many people have liked your page, and subsequently hidden your page. I think that is really important. How much of our audience is even really there? How many hotels overposted or were too self absorbed early on in their Facebook page career, and were hidden by most of their “liked” users? (I wasn’t – I treated posting like an email database, and wanted to make sure not to overuse).

That surely should be known, though, as Facebook keeps talking about “engagement” as transaction. Engagement isn’t the same on Facebook, all the while it happens everywhere else: Tripadvisor, Yelp, Travel Forums, Twitter, Google+. Hotels are engaged ***everywhere***. It’s not that our industry isn’t doing it right, on Facebook. It’s …. just….. that …… it’s …… Facebook.

Something exciting (finally) at Hi-Tec via @Tnooz

My thoughts about big data in hospitality:

First, I read this tweet yesterday, after having titled this “Big Data”, and it gave me pause:

“As a technology descriptor, Big Data is about as caveman as it gets — so broad and ambigous that it is better grunted than spoken.”

This is true. But “Big Data” will still be used, and it’s a commentary on the stage we are it…. labeling things something ambiguous because we haven’t even begun to understand it. Yet vendors rush to monetize it, for a number of industries that don’t yet have the capacity to truly understand it.  I question whether those who peddle big data are truly understanding of it, themselves.  What’s more, I would love to ask each individual consumer data group that uses data to monetize end users one simple question: “Do you have a corporate standard of ethics in regards to how you leverage or extapolate datas?” (click for more) (more…)

I have been RACKING my brain over this -

How do you become accessible to emerging tourist markets? —->Brazil, China, and India?  That’s just the powerhouse economies, and we shouldn’t forget Mexico & South America or other parts of Asia, and Russia.  I have been watching China fairly close, and although money is there, it sounds like they are price sensitive and no frills. In exploring Emerging Markets, I have found some wonderful insight from the Economist and NPR.  I am including those links and info at the bottom. So the question is: How do Hotels, and the rest of Travel, connect with these massive economies and new travel markets?  I assume you could add Bebo, et al to your social initiative, but many places have censors and blocks, or others are hard to penetrate online or off.  Have fun thinking! GREAT info after the jump (more…)