Thursday 4 July 2013

Evolution of Search as Media is Hurting Hotel Marketing

Search Marketing for Small Hotels is Dead

Search has been sabotaged by Google (G) and does not exist as we know it anymore. It's now a G product offering entry to G services and soon will be exclusively a G media. It has been changing for 10 years and has gone through at least 6 steps in evolution so far, as outlined by Danny Sullivan on Moz (discussed below).

Big trouble for small hotels


see YouTube video how penguin is hurting hotel and tourism marketing

The evolution is insidious and worrying and is not ending with the knowledge graph. Unfortunately this is just the beginning of the new order where search is not an opportunity for local players, hotels and tourism operators, but a closed loop service of the largest conglomerate in the world.See the video below for details of exactly how this is a disaster for small and independent hotels, travel and tourism marketing..

The Trouble With Search

Right now we can see the implications of consolidation at international brand and OTA level. We once saw independent hotels showing up on the first page of search results; those days have gone. For the short term future it's the OTAs and big brands that are the winners.  But as the knowledge graph takes effect, search will more and more be geared to Google products, which will include bookings; Bookings via Google is the ultimate destination of this conglomeration.

We talked about this in 2009 with our blog on the new order of everything and followed it with our blog "the future of media," citing Clay Shirley then with several discussions on hotel finder, search as media (see below) and the knowledge graph . 

Big Brother Bid Data and the Age of Surveillance

The next step in the evolution is what Danny calls the Prism. "It's a spy program or an eavesdropping program or a data mining program, depending on who you want to talk to, that the US government is running."  In my view, the new search is about this Big Data thing, where we gather intelligence and inferences from all of the searches, browsing, profiles, choices and intelligence gather from people's actions, habits, searches and footprints. It's pervasive as more and more information is now put on the Internet and much more of this than anyone would care for can be accessed and used for intelligence in marketing and providing products and services.

The age of persuasion has moved to the age of  influence (Terry O'Reilly) but the next age is far more insidious and pulls the rug out from the idea of a social age of participation. What's next is the age of Big data/ Big brother and those who know how to use it will dominate marketing. The new age designation is not going to be fussy sounding like persuasion, influence or participation because it's not. The game is not equal and all the promise of social media being democratic and an equalizer may vanish. In its place is the age of surveillance, where everything we do, like, dislike and think is measured, analyzed and profiled, creating targets for suppliers and clients of the big data.

Worst Case Scenario

Market dominance centered in a few big data corporations like Amazon and Google-Commoditization of  brands

This seems to be the way we are heading. It does not bode well for the smaller independent brand.

Best Case Scenario

Ubiquitous access - Democratic distribution - Level Marketplace. This can happen, but it is not likely to be the preference of the Big Brothers who are determining the future of travel search, technology and media. We do have the opportunity to influence - this is still the age of influence, but do we have the passion?

More on Why search is failing small hotels and tourism

 see more on SEO for Hotels and Tourism failing  on Youtube


Danny Sullivan On Moz- The evolution of Search 

Trouble in search - SEO Google pulls the rug away
hotel and tourism marketing takes hit from penguin

  What is the knowledge graph - First Iteration

The Future of Media
Clay Shirley

Search as Media

Travel At a Crossroad

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