July 26, 2018

Google Hotel Price Insights: New SERP test and how to respond


If it becomes a fully fledged SERP element, Price Insights presents significant implications for branded keywords in the hospitality industry SEO.

Branded keywords, keyword phrases that include your brand’s name or other proprietary terms, are often seen as a layup play for SEOs. Typically, few competitors will target each other’s branded terms in Organic. (Paid, however, can often be a different story). In addition to the relative lack of competition, users searching for a keyword phrase that includes the name of your brand and/or one of your products can be assumed to be further down the marketing funnel. For example, someone searching for “Marriott hotels near me” will likely be close to an I-Want-to-Buy moment, whereas “hotels near me” will be closer to I-Want-to-Know and less likely to be ready to make a booking right there and then.

Recent data from Hitwise showed that while the majority of hotel bookings in the U.S. are made online, only 30.56% of those are hotel-direct bookings, with the remaining 69.44% made via online travel agency (OTA) sites like Expedia, Priceline, and Travelgenio, where users can stack hotel rates against one another based on whatever filters and thresholds they want. By surfacing competitors’ rates, Price Insights effectively replicates OTA behavior within the Knowledge Graph universal listing.

The Google Price Insights feature is a potential disruption to branded keywords. If your hotel is located in a competitive location with an abundance of local competitors, you may have to pay closer attention to the SERPs for your core branded keywords to make sure that insurgent competitors aren’t undercutting you on price.

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