How Google’s new mobile layout will affect hospitality brands

Thursday 23rd May 2019


A new Google mobile layout dropped this week in the USA. Next stop: the UK and the rest of the world.

What are the changes?

Here are the updates we can expect to see in this new mobile layout:

  • Black Ad symbol replacing the little green box
  • Display URL first on both paid and organic listings
  • Favicons added to organic listings
  • Organic listings given individual cards in listings to separate them out

What does this mean for hospitality brands?

At first glance, these changes to the interface may not seem like much, but they could have a huge impact on the hospitality industry:

  • There are now only subtle differences between paid and organic listings, which means that even more users who were sceptical in the past may click on ads.
  • The changes could result in more paid visitors and less organic visitors, placing an even higher significance on Google Ads.
  • With an increased possibility of users clicking on paid ads, hoteliers may need to be prepared to see a drop in organic traffic.
  • With an increase in clicks, paid advertising budgets may be used more quickly.

So what’s the reason behind these changes?

Yes, the new layout is much cleaner and more user friendly. But there’s a little more to it than that.

Google is using its power of search engine dominance to acquire more business through paid search advertising. Plus, we don’t need reminding by now that Google is mobile first, so this update is just the latest in a series of changes emphasising the importance of mobile within the online space.

How can I ensure my digital strategy is mobile first?

Here at Journey, we’ve seen a massive uplift in mobile traffic and conversions in the last 12-18 months. On average, the percentage of traffic to a site driven from mobile and tablet devices has risen from 40% to 60%. What’s more, the percentage of bookings made via a mobile device has risen across the board from an average of 5-10% to 20%+.

More often than not, users will initially engage with your brand on a mobile. They will also encounter several touchpoints, usually across multiple devices, before making a purchase:

With this in mind, here are five things you can do to maximise your mobile strategy:

  1. First and foremost, make sure your site is mobile responsive
  2. Ensure your site speed is meeting Google guidelines on mobile devices
  3. Get a new booking engine! Don’t let it be a barrier to booking
  4. Appreciate every paid media touch point that eventually results in a booking
  5. And lastly, appreciate the impact that first look mobile interaction has on your business – the role it will play in generating bookings, and revenue, for your hotel will only become more significant in years to come.

If you’d like to discuss in more detail any of the points above, give us a call on 01242 682050.