Amidst changes to Google’s algorithms, travel search results continue to be a more competitive touchpoint along the path to purchase. Hotel brands are jockeying to keep pace by dominating search results and driving customers directly to their sites to book.
Online travel consumers are known to conduct in-depth research, evidenced by the fact that they visited more than 17 travel sites and employed more than four travel searches on average before booking a hotel, according to Google and Compete’s “Key Travel Themes, Q4 2012” study of US consumers.
Along this winding path to purchase, organic search is most often the last exposure before a conversion, according to a report on the US and Europe by IgnitionOne, “Attribution and Conversion Path Insights: Travel and Retail 2012.” As a result, hotel companies place special emphasis on owning their brand keywords.
According to L2 Think Tank and SapientNitro’s 2013 “Digital IQ Index: Hotels,” nearly half (46%) of first-page organic search results for worldwide upscale hotel brand keywords belonged to brands themselves, as opposed to OTA sites or TripAdvisor links, among others.
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