Wednesday, 12 October 2011

How Small Hotels & Tourism Co's can Compete in the New Media Landscape

Our last blog showed how search results are favoring advertisers, and how Google is offering eCommerce services, embedded in search results.

Advertising will be a necessity
We are going to see more advertisers and more Google results versus Organic. It’s going to become more important to advertise, more important to be a preferred supplier and more important to get Google’s attention so that you get into their Maps and get into their supply lists.

Shopping Services will be ubiquitous
There is going to be more eCommerce driving business to suppliers. I don’t think that Google is going to go into the transaction business; they’d be crazy to do that. There are enough eCommerce systems and services and those are their customers.,But it appears that Google might be very selective in who they choose as preferred supplies. Clearly Google will be offering more shopping services; this is to be expected as travelers want to know price and availability.

Enabling Participation

You’re going to see a lot more enabling processes like hangouts, chat, video sharing and GoToMeeting-type services. All of this is going to be there to help search users participate and help us find the right suppliers. But the question is: who are the right suppliers? That’s where we have to be very careful. Be aware also that these processes, social interaction and engagement will present a new layer of application and engagement at the point of decision and will affect where travelers go and which sites they visit. If you are not in the process, you are not in the game.

A single correct answer
Remember that Google is trying to deliver a single result to a single person for a single inquiry. What that means is that the result going to YOU will not necessarily be the result coming to ME for the same question. That means that everyone may have a very personal result based on their personal profile and current interest.

That means Social Media is really going to be increasingly important. This is why Google has made such an effort to develop and push Google Plus. Social Media is the source of who we are. Your reputation on sites like TripAdvisor and others are all going to play into Google's selection of who and what the authority for a particular result is.

The question is: What do we do about it?

We need to create our own authority status. Here is how you can do that:
  1. Get Links from top sites. Sites with PR 6 and up; the higher the better. Linking from is a good example. It’s a highly relevant site and is considered an authority site. We have seen that people that link from that site will automatically get pulled up in the rank and pulled up in the Google results.
  2. We need to publish. We can’t rely on other people to carry our message, because that’s going to undermine us totally. We can’t rely on Expedia carrying our brand - they won’t. We have to do more to brand ourselves in the travel industry. We must do that by publishing: comment on other sites, engage with social media, blog, create informative, educational and entertaining videos that are not totally self-serving messages. There are all sorts of ideas for video and YouTube is now the second largest search engine. Make sure you have a YouTube channel and add videos to it.
  3. And finally, we will use Google Plus. I think that this is going to be very important because Google is looking at its Plus activity to gauge who we are. Google accounts for 70% of search now. If you are not on Google results you will miss out big time. The objective is to be on Page 1 for key phrases. You cannot do this on your own, but you can use services like and you will have to.

Need to Take Charge of Brand Marketing
It's important that we see the implications of what is happening here and why it’s becoming so essential for you to take charge of your own marketing and your own brand. The market will not take care of this for you. The OTAs can bring you business but they do not build sustainable brands for hotels. You cannot abdicate this job.

Managing marketing, social media, publishing and content marketing is a lot of work. Hotels will increasingly have to subcontract the job out because they do not have the time or the inclination. And they should not; running a hotel and managing staff, looking after guests and maintaining the property, standards and service is a full-time job. Hotel managers do not have the skill sets or the understanding of the new media landscape.

AXSES can help. We have an arsenal of unique technology built to do the job. We have a team who understands the market and the resources and we are teaming with the very best Internet Marketers and Social Media professionals in the world. We answer the questions, like what you need to do and we can show you success.

If you would like to find out more, please visit and fill in the "get more info" form.

Previous article: Is search hurting independent hotels 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Is Search Depreciating Organic Search & Hurting Small Hotels?

There are big changes in the wind that are going to shake up travel shopping and eCommerce. This article is a must-read to understanding what is happening.

In a previous blog (Is search the new media), we talked about how Search is changing and become more like Media. We suggested that Search is the perfect example of the sort of platform and function we can expect in the new media of the future.

We saw that Google is upping the ante for organic search and featuring its own properties, as well as preferred suppliers and advertisers, in preference to organic search.

To illustrate the point, we have created a video here. You will notice Google advertisers are on top on the right and its own places now above organic results. Organic is way down the list on many result pages. Ads on the right, sponsors on the top, Places under that, leave organic off the screen and much depreciated.

Notice also that Google Search is now in the eCommerce business, offering rates by date and links to booking options. And Google is providing its own places' websites in several cases. It lists seven properties on top of the map; these are 7 they think are the most appropriate search results. The mechanics of choosing the top 7 is not clear at all.

The fact is that Google is becoming a full-service platform providing websites, hosting, technology and fulfillment. But it is not necessarily working with YOU! 

We note that Expedia is well represented in Google Places' results and we know that Expedia is a big advertiser. But we also notice that a small hotel who does not advertise (Dover Beach in Barbados) is on Places and when you click on the link, it takes you directly to Dover Beach Hotel's official website. This is encouraging, as we were instrumental in getting Dover Beach Placed. It shows that big advertisers do not necessarily dominate. They do things right, they are authority sites, and they get listed. But as a small hotel owner, You too can be listed and linked directly. And it is not always the big OTAs that are the preferred suppliers. In the case of Coconut Court Hotel a small OTA is listed, and that is likely a result of their work in listing the Place and marketing it.

When you examine the Map-Website that Google creates for properties, you will notice that it is getting its photos from Panorama. So Panorama is a good place to put your images. It's an authority site respected by Google. Be there and you increase your chances of the largest search engine in the world listing you.


Its clear that search is transforming into a much more encompassing media. It is becoming a full service solution, offering e-commerce and fulfillment. Its methods to evaluate ranking are favoring large companies who are the major advertisers and depreciating organic search results. It is already very difficult for small hotel and tourism operators to gain first page ranking for their target searches. Small companies do not have the collateral of the big companies, they don’t have the content, and are not woven into the web in the same way as the big companies. They don’t have the know how or the time and resources to compete.

The new changes appear to make it almost impossible for small travel companies to get into the first page of search results for generic terms other that their own name.

Coming Next

In our next Blog we will look at these issue in detail and suggest what  a small tourism company can do to market its brand and sustain its niche against these odds.

Be sure to read and watch the next video.

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