#AskDJV – Episode 39: How Google OTA hurts Hotels

Google Travel

This week, DJ Vallauri tackles the question of, “What is going on with Google Search Results and what has changed?” Watch Episode 39 of #AskDJV for the answer to this and other questions.

Google OTA

Google recently introduced their new booking engine in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This newest update is different from past updates for hotels and you need to know how this will affect your overall bookings and your bottom line.

Learn more about:

  • Commission Structure
  • SEO traffic being pulled from your website
  • How this change affects independent and brand hotels alike
  • What you can do to help your hotel navigate this new channel.

The below image is an example of how the Google booking engine will appear in Search Engine Results:
Google Booking Engine Results


We hope you enjoy this week’s episode of #AskDJV. It’s easy to be confused by the newest technology and it isn’t always clear how it can affect your business. DJ explains all of this to you in an easy to follow format. Watch the video today.

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Google’s New Commission Program Is “Cannibalizing” The Direct To Hotel Booking Channel

Google rolled out a beta Google Hotel Ads Commission Program in June 2015 as mentioned in a previously published Lodging Interactive blog. On September 22nd 2015 Google announced a few more changes to this program, making it available to a broader range of hotels and added, what we believe are, serious business implications for hoteliers to consider.

According to the new Google commission program, hotels receive bookings from Google searches and pay Google a commission instead of pay-per-click. It’s very similar to the OTA-type programs charging commissions where users book through Trip Advisor or Booking.com. Hoteliers must understand that the entire booking process is handled through Google’s widget and not the hotel’s own website. In our opinion this presents increased OTA type dependencies and is counter productive in driving more direct to hotel website booking opportunities. Direct to hotel website booking opportunities are being “cannibalized” and redirected through Google’s booking widget.

In September Google announced key changes to this program, which include

  • Availability of the program to more hotels
  • Expanding “Book on Google” by bringing it to desktop and tablet devices
  • Inclusion of more amenity information within Google search
  • Retiring the dedicated site Hotel Finder
  • Availability for all Hotel Ads partners
  • Availability in the U.S. (for now)

So how Google’s new commission program negatively affect hoteliers?

  • It is not a direct booking with the hotel
  • Commissions paid (typically 15%) cut into profits by increasing costs
  • Increased reliance on an OTA for revenue
  • Decrease in generating leads independently
  • Loss in hotel’s independent competitive edge in the digital world

Hotel operators, especially independent and smaller boutique properties, should consider adjusting their digital marketing strategies to receive more of a fair share of the direct to website market and make themselves less dependent on OTAs. Instead of feeding yet another OTA like model, properties should take advantage of proven digital marketing strategies to drive direct to hotel website booking opportunities. The industry has already witnessed the power and the revenue losses attributed to OTA’s and have worked hard to become less dependent on the OTA’s; as an industry it cannot go backwards. Doing otherwise would result in a greater reliance on the OTA’s rather than building a self-sustaining digital marketing eco-system.

Lodging Interactive Wins 10 Website Design Awards

awards 2015

Lodging Interactive Wins 10 Website Design Awards


PARSIPPANY, NJ – October 6, 2015   Lodging Interactive, the digital marketing and social media engagement firm exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced it has won multiple Web Marketing Association Awards and Travel Weekly Silver Magellan Awards outstanding website design and development.


The Web Marketing Association was founded in 1997 to help set a high standard for Internet marketing and development of the best websites on the World Wide Web. Lodging Interactive 2015 awards were won for the following websites:



“We are thrilled once again to receive recognition from The Web Marketing Association, and proudly add these awards to the recent industry acknowledgements Lodging Interactive websites have earned,” said DJ Vallauri, Founder and CEO of Lodging Interactive. “We are grateful to The Web Marketing Association for recognizing our website designs as the ‘best’ in the industry and share this honor with our team of highly skilled web experts.”


In addition, the company added two Travel Weekly 2015 Silver Magellan Awards for design and development of the following websites:



Also the company added four W3 2015 Awards for design and development of the following websites



The W3 Awards honors creative excellence on the Web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning Websites, Web Video and Online Marketing programs. Simply put, the W3 is the first major Web competition to be accessible to the biggest agencies, the smallest firms, and everyone in between. Small firms are as likely to win as Fortune 500 companies and international agencies.


The W3 Awards is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms.


The New Jersey based digital marketing agency, has provided customized website design, reputation management and social media marketing services to over 650 properties in 45 countries for nearly 15 years. To take your hotel website to the next level visit:



About Lodging Interactive:


Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas. The company also offers Social Voices, the hospitality industry’s first 24/7/365 social customer care service as well as HotelSiteXPRESS, which designs affordable, responsive websites that properties own.


The International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader. Lodging Interactive is a proud supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and DJ Vallauri is the Social Media Director and on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter.  Lodging Interactive is also a preferred Vendor for Best Western International, and is a member of the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA). For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.