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People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 

By now, everyone is aware that hotel giant Marriott International announced on Friday a massive data breach that goes back more than four years and may have affected up to 500 million customers worldwide. 

After two years of preparation, the FlyZoo Hotel — a futuristic property that uses interactive technologies to do everything from greet guests to deliver room service — is ready for business. 

Mobile technology is fast becoming central to the entire travel experience. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research trips, book accommodation, check in at the airport, and access their hotel room. But one of the next big roles mobile has to play in the travel process is mobile payment. The idea of an entirely cashless society might still seem some way off, but mobile payment is gaining popularity. As it becomes more widely used, its fast and frictionless nature will bring benefits before, during and after a trip. 

Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing, plays a significant role to boost hotel website traffic and online bookings. Recently, many big announcements were made in the digital industry, for example when Facebook introduced a new video format for marketers, or when Google announced a board core algorithm. If you are a new hotelier and want to stay ahead in the industry, then you should know what’s going on in the hotel digital marketing industry. 

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Mobile & Social Search Relevancy, A POV on Google's Hummingbird Google’s latest release codenamed “Hummingbird” drives specific implications for SEO, marketing, technology and content efforts. In th

Google’s latest release codenamed “Hummingbird” drives specific implications for SEO, marketing, technology and content efforts. In the next print edition of Hospitality Upgrade, we will delve deeper.
In this post, you will find a summary of key concepts. Hummingbird is an extension of recommendations we’ve made to readers of Hospitality Upgrade for several years – the need for travel and hospitality businesses to focus on developing content that is local, mobile and socially-relevant with a emphasis on visual. The impact of Hummingbird is too soon to forecast. Google is still testing and improving the algorithms behind it.
There are three early insights readers can take advantage of:
  1. It appears to reshuffle traditional SEO signals to favor sites that host and distribute high quality pictures and videos, post and link to user reviews, and engage with users in multi-directional conversations
  2. There appears to be extra weight applied to sites that build these types of experiences and user interactions on or within Google’s own products (i.e.: Google+, Google Hotel Finder, Google Now, etc.), especially when users are in mobile and/or a socially-active context.
  3. It includes improvements for Natural Language Search to help mobile and social users quickly find desired information
To understand this third insight, think about how mobile users search using Siri on the iPhone and Google Now on Android devices:
“Google, where can I find an inexpensive hotel within 10 miles of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?”
“Google, which hotels have rooms available for the Super Bowl?”
What this may mean for you if you have SEO optimization programs is that if your or property site designs are not highly visual or do not address the concerns of mobile and social users, it is going to be more difficult to rank highly on Google.  Also, in order for Google to best leverage your content, it will be important to find incremental ways to source and distribute pictures, videos and to answer common questions about your properties and the local attractions that bring visitors to your front doors.
When Hummingbird is viewed in combination with Google’s investments in travel sector, such as its’ inclusion of Google Maps, Google Hotel Finder and the Beta Google Carousel on the first page of Search results, SEM and SEO strategies must be reexamined to insure alignment with Google’s new User Experience.  For instance, a consequence of the Carousel atop the SERPs is that it physically displaces traditional, organic Search results from the first page, which lowers the visibility and click-through of text-based SERPs. The Carousel’s high value Search page real estate gives Google a new tool to command travel suppliers invest in visually-compelling property and locally-relevant content, integrate user ratings and build on Google’s platforms in order to be featured in the Carousel.
In the upcoming print edition, we will expand on this post and invite your thoughts and input to grow understanding and the conversation.
About The Author
David and John Atkins

Digital DNA Infusion, LLC

David Atkins has worked in leadership positions on the client side for Microsoft, Expedia, and IAC. David has a deep passion and knowledge base for all things digital. Complex challenges and new ideas inspire David. He believes that a solid relationship with the customer is essential to the success of any business. David served as the Chairman of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association’s (HSMAI) America’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011. He writes columns for Hospitality Upgrade on digital strategy and is a frequent speaker on digital trends and online consumer behavior. He serves as an advisor to many corporations. David has run and advised companies on more than $100M in global marketing spend via agencies, vendors and directly with various publishers.

John Atkins has broad experience with consumer and business-to-business digital marketing, cloud-based applications and services, back-end technology platforms and enterprise-scale digital media publishing. John currently serves on HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Council. Since 2006, John has provided investors, enterprises, start-ups and non-profit organizations with global digital and strategic marketing consulting services that include: strategic, business and product plans; vendor selection and technology implementation; competitive, market, field and user research across many market verticals and industry segments. Prior to consulting, John worked at several start-ups and at Microsoft in product management.

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