It comes as no surprise that whenever Google acquires a new channel, their algorithm changes. Case in point – YouTube. Once that acquisition was complete, the algorithm then accounted for well optimized videos capabilities. And hotels who optimized YouTube well were now able to saturate organic listings even more so.
Going forward, hoteliers should expect that with any acquisition, Google will most likely then require hotels to be fully optimized on that new channel. With that said, here are recent acquisitions.
- Meebo (https://www.meebo.com/)
- What is it? – In the beginning of the month, Google acquired this consumer software. Meebo users create their own profiles, and upload a Meeebo bar. That bar filters all the information on the Internet and within their social networks to provide a custom list of results that is most important to that Meebo user based on the preferences listed in that profile.(source: http://www.meebo.com/about/)
- Why is it important – This Meebo bar provides the user a personal and consolidated experience of surfing, shopping, entertainment, and research. Part of Meebo’s algorithm included content that is Liked or somehow approved by the user’s social network.
- What it could mean for your hotel – Hotel guests are not only looking for great rates and amenities, but they want to stay at a hotel that is recommended. In order to get to these guests who aren’t easily persuaded by affordable rates, hoteliers need to put content that would be +1, Liked, or shared. Therefore, content needs to be entertaining, unique, or engaging.
- Quick Office (http://www.quickoffice.com/)
- What is it? – Also in the beginning of the month, Google acquired this software specialized in office productivity. It’s a platform that makes viewing, organizing and sharing documents easier and more accessible.
- Why is it important – Users can open and create documents in a large variety of formats, making them more accessible on larger variety of mobile devices via a cloud service. From an investment standpoint, this is another push to make the iCloud service more attractive.
- What it could mean to you – This is yet another sign that hotel guests are mobile dependent. There may come to a point where mobile devices will be the primary mode of online usage (opposed to desktops). With that said, there’s no excuse for hoteliers to not have a mobile website – and a mobile booking engine – as the steadfast rate of mobile users will to continue to rise with no slowing down.
- Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/)
- What is it? – This photosharing website allows users to “pin” website images they like another their own “boards”. Each image is attributed back to the source. Each “board” is viewed publicly, not necessarily just limited to their own social network. Although it is not acquired yet, the latest rumors are that Google is interested in Pinterest for its unique approach in making images go viral. Rumor also has it that Google feels that Pinterest could be a threat to Google Images. So, like how Facebook felt threatened by Instagram, Google could absolve the threat by buying it out.
- Why is it important – Because of its social media nature, experts believe that there would be an immediate integration into Google+. Let’s say that a user is logged into Google+. Search results already display results that have a +1. Now, let’s say the same user searches for something on Google Images. The images that would be displayed would have a mention of being “pinned” by someone within their Pinterest network. That way, the “pin” would be Google Images’ version of a +1.
- What it could mean to you – Image optimization not only depends on keyword tags. Rather, it depends on the artistic value of the image itself. Hoteliers shouldn’t be taking pictures of empty guest suites and dining spaces no one is sitting in. Rather, take pictures of guests relaxing at the hotel. Take images of a smiling employee, local attractions, nightlife or even something beautiful on the property. The images that get “pinned” and shared are images that are one-of-a-kind, thought-provoking, and tell a story. It could be any story – and a picture of an empty lobby isn’t the story that hoteliers want to tell.
Always be on the lookout for the next big thing in Google. Chances are that whatever tool is the latest buzz, Google is probably considering acquiring it. Their ultimate goal is to always be on the leading edge of providing the best, most pertinent and most valuable information for their users. What that means for hoteliers – Long gone are the days hoteliers to simply put up a “competitive” rate. Rates aren’t the only factor that persuades guests to book. It’s your reputation, how much of your content is shared, and what the guests imagines they will experience at your hotel.
Contributed by Nelson Toriano, Sr. eStrategist