Hotels Face Crucial March 2024 Google Update: Adapt or Perish

by | May 21, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) has become indispensable for hotels aiming to attract the modern traveler. With approximately 75% of travel bookings now conducted online, maintaining a prominent presence on Google is not just beneficial—it is essential for a hotel’s success. This necessity has been further underscored by Google’s recent March 2024 Core Update, a pivotal shift in search algorithms and policies that will significantly influence the hospitality sector.

The March 2024 Core Update is not a mere routine adjustment; it signifies a profound transformation in Google’s approach to indexing and ranking content. This update is a vigorous effort to cleanse the internet of low-quality material, reinforcing Google’s mission to enhance the digital ecosystem by prioritizing user experience and delivering trustworthy, high-quality search results. The crackdown on so-called “spammy” third-party content and the manipulation of expired domains to artificially boost rankings highlights Google’s commitment to quality over quantity.

For hotels, this shift necessitates a comprehensive overhaul in content strategy. The era of churning out generic, uninspired content is over. Instead, hotels must pivot towards generating high-quality, user-centric content that aligns with Google’s E-A-T principles: Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This strategy not only meets Google’s new criteria but also provides substantial value to potential guests, who increasingly seek reliable and engaging information to guide their travel decisions.

Another critical aspect of the update is the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in content creation. While AI can be a powerful tool for generating content, its misuse for producing low-quality material will incur penalties. Google’s guidelines emphasize that quality must supersede quantity, urging websites to adhere to best practices in content creation. This entails using AI to enhance content rather than replace the human touch that ensures relevance and authenticity.

So, how should hotels respond to these sweeping changes? The answer lies in a strategic overhaul of their content approach, focusing on user intent. Understanding what potential guests are searching for and providing valuable, relevant information is key to improving rankings and attracting more bookings. This involves a thorough audit of their digital presence and content strategy—a task where companies like Cendyn can offer invaluable assistance.

Cendyn, a global hospitality cloud-based technology firm, specializes in helping hotels find, book, and grow their business, ultimately driving revenue and maximizing profitability. With over 32,000 customers in more than 150 countries, including renowned brands like Outrigger Hospitality, Hyatt, and IHG, Cendyn’s expertise is well-established. Their marketing experts provide insights into hospitality SEO and guest satisfaction, generating over $20 billion in annual hotel revenue and supporting their extensive customer base with a global presence.

To align with Google’s new standards, hotels should adopt the following best practices for content creation:

1. Focus on User Intent: Create content that addresses the specific needs and queries of your audience. Tailor your content to meet the expectations and needs of potential guests.

2. Emphasize E-A-T Principles: Ensure your content reflects expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Building credibility and trust with both users and search engines is paramount.

3. Avoid Thin Content: Refrain from publishing generic, low-value content. Each piece of content should offer genuine value and insights to the reader.

4. Combat AI Abuse: Use AI to assist in content creation but avoid over-reliance that leads to generic, impersonal content. Strive for a balance where AI enhances but does not dominate your content strategy.

5. Continuous Auditing and Adaptation: Regularly audit your digital presence and content strategy to ensure compliance with Google’s evolving guidelines. Utilizing tools and services from companies like Cendyn can be invaluable in maintaining alignment with these standards.

The March 2024 Core Update underscores Google’s dedication to providing a superior online experience by eliminating spam and low-quality pages. For hotels, this means a renewed focus on crafting quality content that informs and engages travel shoppers. Adapting to these changes is not just about compliance; it’s about embracing a strategy that prioritizes user value.

Apollos Gause, SEO & Growth Innovator, emphasizes that the hospitality sector must pivot towards creating content that resonates with and serves the needs of its audience. By doing so, hotels can not only survive but thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape. For those seeking further insights, Apollos Gause is available on LinkedIn.

In this new era of SEO, the mantra for hotels should be clear: quality content is king. By focusing on user intent, adhering to E-A-T principles, and leveraging expert assistance, hotels can navigate the challenges of the latest Google Core Update and emerge stronger. This strategic approach will not only help hotels comply with Google’s new guidelines but will also enhance their digital presence, attract more bookings, and ultimately drive greater revenue and profitability. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying ahead of these changes will be crucial for long-term success in the competitive hospitality industry.