Your Top 7 Hotel Digital Marketing Updates For September 2019


The hotel digital marketing industry changes fast. If you blink, you could miss something. Luckily your hotel digital marketing experts at GCommerce are here to monitor and round up the latest changes happening each month in this easy to follow guide that includes actionable insights. Here’s your top 7 list for September 2019:

1. Google’s Removal & Changes to Hotel Categories in Google My Business

Google has removed specific hotel categories within Google My Business including airport hotel, boutique hotel, budget hotel, and family hotel. What are we left to choose from? Limited options include Capsule Hotel, Extended Stay Hotel, Hot Spring Hotel, Love Hotel, and Wellness Hotel. Online Ownership’s article states that Google removed many hotel categories due to lack of use, which is hard to believe based on search volume.

The question is, what should you do now to ensure your hotel is best positioned and optimized within Google My Business?

  • Log into your Google My Business and check your categories.
  • If you find any duplicates from the removal of specific categories, remove them and replace them with the next best option.

2. Google Ads Launches Seasonality Adjustments for Smart Bidding

Machine learning tools such as bid optimization strategies are only as good as the data and information it has to make adjustments to help hit performance objectives. That’s why we were excited to hear about the launch of seasonality adjustments within Google Ads’ smart bidding strategies. It allows you to tell the platform predicted changes in metrics, such as conversion rate adjustment, that can occur during anomaly events such as flash sales or seasonal events. The platform will then take that into account as it applies adjustments to optimize bids.

3. Update to Google’s Review Rich Snippet Rules

Google has changed the rules regarding how they show review rich snippets in the search results. Now businesses can’t self promote their own reviews through their website with markup and have them displayed in the search results. If you’re using a third-party tool to embed reviews about your hotel on your website and mark them up, the stars will no longer be shown within the Google results. Google’s reasoning behind this is to ensure genuine, non-gated review ratings are being shown in results. It’s unfortunate because it means individual hotels can’t stand out with review stars in the SERP while sites like TripAdvisor, & Expedia can continue to display review stars for hotels and stand out more in the SERP to attract more traffic and capture the booking.

4. Bing Responsive Search Ads Beta Is Now Open

Response Search Ads were first introduced by Google last year, and like many Google features, they are now launching within Bing Ads. Responsive search ads allow advertisers to include up to 15 headlines (30 characters max) and 4 description lines (90 characters max). The platform will then automatically combines the different headlines and descriptions to serve many different ad versions.

This takes a/b testing within ads to an automated process and allows you to try out many different callouts, messages, etc. to see which ones are the most successful. Our Google rep has hinted that responsive search ads may soon become the standard with expanded text ads, possibly being phased out just like standard text ads did. GCommerce recommends having one responsive search ad type live in every ad group.

5. You Can Now Utilize Google Ads’ Smart Bidding With Search Ads 360 Bid Strategies

This is big news for advertisers, such as GCommerce, who utilize Search Ads 360 to manage paid search campaigns. The platform now allows you to combine your advanced Search Ads 360 bid strategies with Google Ads auction-time bidding to further enhance performance. Google Ads Smart Bidding uses different contextual signals (such as device, browser type, location and more) than Search Ads 360’s floodlight signals. Advertisers are reporting an uptick in performance of 10-15% after implementing the option. 

6. Facebook transition to Campaign level budget optimization

September 2019 marked the official transition from ad set level budgets to campaign-level budget optimization within the Facebook Ads platform. The new structure means you set budgets at the campaign level and all ad sets under that campaign share the same budget. Facebook will then automatically shift and distribute the budget between the ad sets based on performance towards the marketing objective set at the campaign level. You can still control spending at the ad set level by setting ad set budget minimums or maximums. Based on how you previously structured campaigns and ad sets in your accounts this may change your approach. 

7. New Tools Rolling out in Facebook Messenger

  • Lead Generation Tools in Facebook Ads Messenger

A new tool is starting to roll out within Facebook Ads manager that allows businesses to set up automated experiences (think chatbot) to qualify leads automatically and then pass them along to your sales team.

  • Improved Reporting

According to Hootsuite’s post on their AdSpresso blog, Facebook has also reported that they will be making it easier for businesses using the messenger platform to report and track events within Messenger. This will hopefully be available later this year.

  • Revised Rules

Facebook has revised rules in messenger including updating the standard messaging window to 24 hours after receiving a bot message. After 24 hours you can only send out a sponsored message or message tags that are preloaded. This should be kept in mind when developing your hotel’s Facebook messenger marketing campaigns.