Google’s New Search Algorithm and How it Affects Hotels

Google launched a new search engine algorithm update this August, further fine-tuning relevant high-quality content search results.

The new ranking improvements filter out unoriginal content and push the more credible content to the top.

You need to make sure you’re mastering best practices for your content marketing and optimizing for SEO.

For hotels, content marketing includes original descriptions about your property, and creative content about your amenities, services, calendar of events, destination, and local activities and attractions. 

You cannot cut and paste generic descriptions, amenities, or features as Google’s new algorithms will weed these out and lower your ranking.

How does this new Google Update affect hoteliers?

Start with your hotel/property website, your specific property section on a major chain website, or your small/midsize hotel brand site. Shallow, formulaic, bullet point-type content will fall to the bottom of the heap with the Google algorithm update, while sites with editorial-level storytelling, engaging and relevant property descriptions, visuals, and infographics will rise to the top.

Consider unique content angles such as advice or recommendations by the property experts from your spa expert, your golf pro, tennis instructor, wedding coordinator, and recipes from your chef or bartender. 

Include B2B marketing initiatives to engage corporate group planners, and business travelers including details on upcoming conference speakerships, panel participants, white papers, etc.

Typically you are not promoting prices, packages, or discounts, but stimulating interest with enticing, credible, and site-specific stories and information.


Travel consumers generally judge the credibility of website content with three top criteria:

User-Generated Content:  What did other travelers say about your property in reviews or on social media?

Professional Content: How do professional travel media describe your property? This includes travel writers, bloggers, TV or print. 

The property’s official content – How professionally do you present yourself and describe your services, amenities, and location on your own website and in all your related media?

And make sure these types of content consistently align. For example, if your guests describe you on Google Reviews or Trip Advisor as ‘affordable, family and pet -friendly’ use these descriptions in your professional content as well.

Content marketing is not new or free.

You need to budget for professional marketing support from an expert who has experience in creating and managing campaigns, monitoring analytics, setting goals, measuring successes, and adapting future content to the data. Very rarely will successful content marketing–requiring experienced copywriting and marketing specialization–be conducted by internal hotel staff teams or brands. 

“In my 25-plus years of hotel digital marketing experience, I have rarely – if ever – seen successful content marketing conducted by an internal team at a property or hotel brand. Content marketing is simply not in the hotelier’s DNA”. *

Partner with a digital marketing agency, marketing consultant or PR firm that understands SEO, Google Algorithms, and editorial-level content and best practices. 

When done right, content marketing is cheaper than performance marketing like paid search and display advertising.

Also, don’t forget the technicalities including optimizing your page loading speeds, current and functional backlinks, and user-friendly information design.



*Max Starkov, Adjunct Professor NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality and Hospitality & Online Travel Tech

Google’s New Search Algorithm and How it Affects HotelsGoogle’s New Search Algorithm and How it Affects Hotels

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