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Google reducing the space allocated to natural search results.

August 8, 2013

TambourineNo, that’s not a typo. 

Google has slowly been reducing the amount of space it gives to natural search results in favor of products that require an investment of time or money to utilize.

Search for a hotel in NYC now and the initial results page is dominated by Google PPC, Google Carousel (Places), Google Maps and Zagat (owned by Google) results.

It’s even worse on a mobile phone… where no natural results come up on the initial screen.

Why are so many hotels spending so much time chasing page one rankings if Google keeps reducing the space allocated to those rankings?

And more importantly, what should smart hotels be doing to ensure they’re getting maximum traffic flow from the unavoidable, but ever-changing Google highway?

Here’s our recommendations:

  1. Get good at PPC: Google’s flagship paid product is expensive, but can still deliver spectacular ROI if piloted correctly.
  2. Optimize your Google Places account: make sure its accurate and current. (Be sure to encourage Google+ reviews on your website as well as TripAdvisor)
  3. Feed direct prices on Google Hotel Finder: OTAs are using your hotel’s name to drive bookings via Google’s new Hotel Finder. You can feed prices directly via partnerships with agencies like ours or others.

Striving for organic results can still yield lucrative traffic on longer-tail keywords, but smart hotel marketers need to be aware that more pragmatic methods are also now required to stay current with the reality of Google’s landscape and maintain a competitive edge.

About Tambourine

Tambourine drives revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide using advanced marketing technology. The firm is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. For more information, visit

2012 showed an increase in direct hotel website bookings.

June 7, 2013

NumbersforNinjas-2Good news: According to PhocusWright’s recent survey of US Travelers, consumer preference is growing for booking direct with your hotel vs an OTA or third party site! If your direct bookings are not growing in sync with this stat and your OTA revenues continue to outperform your direct online revenues, consider these three immediate steps:

  1. Rate parity: Make sure rates on your own hotel website are consistent with the rates you are publishing on the OTAs, then create value-added packages (free parking, free breakfast, etc) to incentivize shoppers to book direct and spare you the high cost of another OTA booking!
  2. Clean up your “store:” Website and ecommerce technology changes rapidly. If you want to increase your direct online sales, consider upgrading your site to ensure its compatible with the latest best practices. Take special care to ensure mobile/tablet compatibility. If users can’t easily navigate your site on their phone or tablet, they can’t book!
  3. Own your search results: OTAs often use Google’s pay-per-click platform to advertise your hotel name and siphon off bookings from searches on your hotel name. As the actual property owner, its much cheaper for you to advertise on branded keywords and capture your rightful bookings than allow an OTA to grab it and pay them 20% plus!

Consumers are showing a growing preference for booking direct. And the future is looking bright for smart hoteliers who take action now.

Fort Lauderdale
New York