40 – Google Search Trends Of The 2010s
In this episode of Suite Spot, Ryan Embree reflects on the past year and past decade, focusing on trending Google searches in the hotel industry. Ryan reviews which travel-related search terms have risen in popularity in the 2010s and which search terms have all but disappeared in the modern-day traveler’s search. He shares best practices and tips on how to capitalize on these popular search terms and how you can leverage these trends to improve your business. This episode is a great way to kick off the new decade and make sure that your hotel’s sales and marketing strategies are aligned with today’s traveler.
If you have any questions about 2020 travel trends or how Travel Media Group can help your hotel, reach out to us by either calling or texting us at 407-984-7455 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ryan Embree: Welcome to Suite Spot where hoteliers check in and we check out what’s trending in hotel marketing. I’m your host, Ryan Embree. Hello everyone, this is Ryan Embree, welcome to the first episode of the Suite Spot of 2020. Thank you all for listening. Hope everyone out there had a happy new year and we are getting geared up for an incredible 2020. So this is actually, hard to believe, episode 40 of the Suite Spot. So again, thank you to all of our listeners out there and all of the support that you’ve given us. We’ve got a really great episode today to kick off not only the new year, but the new decade. We are going to be taking a look at something called travel trends of the last decade. So this was a really cool article that we found at thetravelaisle.com. You can find this article in our show notes and what this article did was looked at some hospitality and hotel unique terms starting in 2010 all the way to the end of 2019 and kind of showed the trends of where those terms were headed in the case of Google searches. So when consumers would go to Google and they would type in a specific search or query these terms, either gained in popularity towards the end of the decade or we saw them that might not be that relevant and decrease in popularity in searches throughout the 2010’s. A common theme that we’re going to talk about today in this episode is the theme of how quickly things change in this industry and how staying on top of these hot travel trends are really going to impact your business. So let’s go ahead and start with the first term.
Ryan Embree: So the first term we’re going to talk about is actually the search of, “Instagram Spots.” Now Instagram became popular at the beginning of the decade around 2010 and the popularity since has peaked in July 2019, so this has been a term that has really, really taken off and increased and what travelers are searching for when they’re looking for places to potentially pick for their vacation. What are some ways that you can leverage travelers that are searching for, “Instagram spots” for your hotel? Well, one of the ways we’ve talked about in episodes past is really your hotel Instagram-able. Now I know that kind of sounds like a silly word there, but if you can find a place or create a space for your travelers that is creative, that is aesthetically pleasing, they’re going to start to take pictures in front of that place. Whether it’s a fountain, a faux wall, a nice view in your hotel lobby. Sometimes that’s enough to really get people to start taking pictures. So if you can make an Instagram-able moment or an Instagram-able space in your lobby, your hotel, your amenities, that’s going to create some popularity there on your social media platform and your social media accounts. So if we can create a unique hashtag specific to your hotel when travelers are searching for that hashtag, they’re going to find those Instagram-able spaces and Instagram-able moments at your hotel. We also, again, want to encourage travelers to post and ask for permission to repost and share those images that are representative as the top posts – and we’re going to talk about that a little bit later when we talk about influencers, which was also a really hot term of the last decade. Another great way to get engagement on Instagram, and we talked about this in a past episode, was pets. If we have a hotel pet in the lobby, even just something as small as a fish, we can name that pet, and again, we can create an Instagram-able moment there. Running social media contest on Instagram – everyone loves a good competition, especially if we have a prize at the end – that creates engagement, creates excitement at the hotel. So there’s a lot of ways to really take advantage of that search term, “Instagram spots.” And of course we want to also talk about these in our review response. If you’re near an attraction that you’re noticing on Instagram, where a lot of people are taking pictures, a location that’s really, really popular, you know, mention these in your review responses. If somebody mentions visiting a local museum or a local national park or state park, you can mention that in your review responses saying our hotel is “x” amount of miles from this state park or this attraction that’s really gonna help you, again, when travelers are potentially looking to visit that area, put you in the best position to be found and ultimately chosen.
Ryan Embree: The next term goes hand in hand with Instagram spots and that’s, “Travel Influencers.” In fact, the term “travel influencers” when Googled by travelers actually peaked just two months before “Instagram spots” did in May 2019. So these terms that we’re talking about today are really on the rise as we speak. When we talk about traveler influencers, a quick way to really potentially identify these travel influencers that that might have stayed at your property is on Instagram. You can actually search your hotel’s location and it will identify users that have posted at and tagged your location. From there, Instagram is going to go ahead and sort those posts by top post, most engaged, most commented, most liked. So once you find these posts, you can start to identify the types of users that might be beneficial and match your brand messaging or the voice that your hotel is trying to communicate and that would be a good time to reach out to them to see if there could be a working relationship and for them to advocate your hotel to the users. But travel influencers also could be more proactive than reactive. With influencing, it’s a lot more accessible to reach out to someone with a lot of followers than to do other types of PR. So these influencers have huge, huge impacts at your property and engagement with your audience. Also keep in mind, you know, these influencers are also now migrating to not just pictures but vlogs or video blogs, so they could do things like live streaming at your hotel, you know, doing a tour of the property. So there are very creative ways that you can utilize and leverage these influencers to help your business. It’s also going to be very interesting to see heading into the 2020’s – Instagram has been testing removing likes from their platform. So how are these influencers going to make an impact? If you are interested in learning more about Instagram potentially removing these likes. We have a blog in our show notes that you can reference, so definitely keep that in mind. We want to make sure when we’re able to, to identify these influencers because these reviews that they leave, whether it be over Instagram, whether it be on TripAdvisor or any other public facing site, are going to be a lot more valuable. You know, in the industry, we obviously want to treat everyone the same way, but these types of influencers can really, really have an impact on your hotel.
Ryan Embree: The next search term actually represents some competition to the hotel industry. We have seen over the last decade this disruptor come in and really change the ways that hotels are starting to market their brands to travelers. And that’s Airbnb, Airbnb in terms of search on Google from consumers and travelers has really had a steady growth since 2014 and we’ve seen the market share that it started to kind of eat away from hotels and that’s really, really started to make some hoteliers nervous and worried about the consumers that they’re losing to this competitor. So really in order for hotels to compete with Airbnb and other vacation rental sites, hoteliers really need to market and advertise that more local and personalized experience that Airbnb was really built on and offers. Through review response and reviews, you really need to have a value proposition of the benefits of staying at a hotel versus an Airbnb. For example, maybe the unique amenities that you provide in comparison to an Airbnb – 24/7 customer service, which as we know is very important in case any issues arrive. But you also want to really lean on that trust and peace of mind that hotels have provided consumers for years in comparisons to this startup. You know, we’ve heard in the industry, the recent news of stories of crazy house parties that have happened at Airbnbs, vacation rental scams, there’s always something talking about that. So you want to really utilize and leverage your brand name and your hotel’s reputation to give travelers peace of mind knowing that they don’t need to worry about these issues.
Ryan Embree: Another term that’s shown some really consistent growth into 2010’s was the term, “Staycation.” Travelers were searching for staycation prior to 2010 around the time of the great recession, when consumers really didn’t have the budget to take these long, expensive vacations that they were used to, they would get creative staying in their local area. Well, according to Google, this trend has stuck and it’s really had steady growth into the 2010’s and potentially is going to keep rising into the 2020’s – and one thing to note here, a trend that we’ve started to hear and become a lot more popular, especially just within 2019, is the proliferation of responsible and sustainable travel. This trend of sustainable travel will continue to climb the search term “staycation” as travelers get more and more cognizant of the impact that they’re having when they’re traveling. So how can we leverage the term, “staycation?” How can we reach out to these travelers that want to spend on vacation, but they don’t necessarily want to travel too far? We can target these staycationers through deals and packages. When we look at our ad spend, hoteliers tend to think that they really need to expand their reach as far out as possible, but get to know that your guest profile, how many people are staying with you that are locals and use some of that ad spend to maybe target some of those travelers that maybe just want to stay in town and want a different experience. And once you have those local stay at the property, ask them for a review. It’s really important to get those reviews online, on public sites from a locals perspective that’s going to help you promote and encourage other travelers looking for a staycation to choose your property.
Ryan Embree: The next trend has seen steady growth throughout the 2010’s and we do not foresee this having any sort of slow down as we go into the 2020s and that’s consumers searching for, “Solo Travel.” This is important to know when you’re posting content on social media, you want to post events that might be attractive to solo travelers, post content that promotes adventure, new experiences or inspirational quotes. These are the type of posts that really appeal to a traveler that’s willing to travel alone. You also want to make sure that your front desk is well equipped to answer any type of questions that a solo traveler might have – transportation, directions. Another important factor to think about with solo travel is in your review responses mentioning the different safety measures – like well lit exterior’s or property security cameras. This is very important to travelers that potentially are traveling alone in unfamiliar places.
Ryan Embree: For these last two terms that we’re going to take a look at today, we’re actually going to switch it up, as I mentioned at the beginning of this, we have seen some terms rise in popularity steadily or even spiked very suddenly, but we’ve also seen terms decrease that aren’t as popular now, that might’ve been 10 years ago, as you can imagine. The first term is “Internet cafe.” Now the term internet cafe is really an example of how quickly tech changes and advances. This term should act as a case study for hoteliers to be adaptable with technology used at the property. In 2010 it might’ve made sense to put on your website or promote on social media that you had an internet cafe, today we call those business centers and it’s also an example of how technology kinda changes those terms. Business centers and wifi – these are the amenities that guests are looking for now, not internet cafes.
Ryan Embree: The last term we’re going to talk about has also decreased in popularity since 2010 and that’s consumers searching for the term “Travel Agent.” Now this is an example of how tech changes the way that travelers are booking. We’ve seen the rise of mobile bookings over the past couple of years, but when we look at a decade as a whole, travelers still in 2010 were utilizing travel agents for information to make sure their bookings were confirmed. But today with the convenience of booking and accessibility of information that consumers have, they’re getting more and more confident in booking their trips independently, rather than relying on a travel agent. So this is important to note as a hotelier because we can’t just rely on that travel agent that we’ve had such a good relationship now to fill our rooms, we need to rely on the information that travelers are providing, that’s going to paint a picture for a consumer that’s looking to make a booking decision at the property.
Ryan Embree: So the article actually identifies a couple other terms that we really want to keep an eye on for 2020 and moving forward – terms like “babymoon,” “vegan travel,” “overtourism.” These were all terms that had significant spikes in the last couple of years and are going to continue to rise into 2020 it’s these terms that our team at Travel Media Group are keeping a close eye on because it switches the way that we market our hotel through social media and websites and it also changes the way we want to speak to our travelers through review response. So to wrap up, we really don’t know what the future holds for our industry, it’s so fast moving and ever changing. It’s almost impossible to know where we’re going to be in 2030, we could have terms out there that haven’t even been invented yet. That’s why it is so vital to stay in tune with these terms, to see and adapt to consumer preferences and trends out there.
Ryan Embree: So if you have any questions about some of the terms that we talked about or just looking to get more creative in 2020 in implementing some of these terms through your marketing or advertising, you can contact us here at Travel Media Group at (407) 984-7455. Thank you all for listening and we’ll talk to you next time. To join our loyalty program, be sure to subscribe and give us a five star rating on iTunes. Suite Spot is produced by Travel Media Group, our editor is Anne Sandoval with cover art by Bary Gordon. I’m your host, Ryan Embree, and we hope you enjoyed your stay.