February 28, 2018

Google AMP: Why Hoteliers Should Care, and How to Implement It

By Max Starkov

Background

Introduced in 2016 as Google’s response to other mobile publishing platforms like Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) is an open-source initiative enabling the mobile website visitors of publishers like The New York Times to quickly access content such as articles and opinion postings with fast download speeds.

AMPs are characterized with stripped-down, mostly textual content and simple, no-clutter page layouts, and are hosted by Google, which in theory ensures fast downloads. Google has restrictions on what type of content can be included on AMPs, utilizes special HTML and coding, and allows only very basic styling (read: design) of the page.

AMP pages are built with three core components:

  • AMP HTML is regular HTML with some HTML tags replaced with AMP-specific tags, called AMP HTML components, to enable common patterns that are easy to implement and provide reliable performance.
  • The AMP JS library ensures the fast rendering of AMP HTML pages via asynchronous optimizations of external resources, so nothing in the page can block anything from rendering.
  • The Google AMP Cache is a proxy-based content delivery network (CDN) for delivering AMPs by caching AMP documents and improving page performance automatically.

Google AMP content is featured as news and info “teasers” in the Google AMP carousels of mobile search engine results pages (SERPs), with a link to the source of the news or info (e.g., the hotel website).

 

Why Should Hoteliers Care About Google AMP?

Today’s hotel planning and booking customer journey is becoming increasingly complex as we operate in a multi-device, multi-channel, and multi-touchpoint environment. On average, the travel consumer goes through 18 different touchpoints before making a booking (Google Research). Each of these touchpoints presents an opportunity for the hotel to build a brand connection, influence intent and booking decision, and be there for the travel consumer every step of the way.

Nine out of ten people are “cross-device” Internet browsers and researchers, using multiple devices sequentially and moving from one device to another at different times. By enhancing the mobile experience with Google AMP, it becomes an even greater contributor as a touchpoint that allows hoteliers to engage potential guests and bring them to the hotel website to learn more and (hopefully) to book.

Overall, the benefits of Google AMP include:

  • Positioning your property ahead of the competition by being an early adopter of Google AMP as part of all other initiatives in the Google Ecosystem
  • Increasing visibility on mobile devices to boost visits and bookings initiated
  • Promoting news-worthy content and promotional pages about hotel amenities and services

 

 

How Should Hoteliers Go About Implementing Google AMP?

Google AMP should be thought of as an additional “tentacle” of the hotel website in the AMP carousels on Google’s mobile SERPs. Travel consumers still need the fully responsive hotel website featuring in-depth visual, textual, promotional information about the property in order to make an informed decision and complete a booking.

The industry’s best practices require launching the property’s Google AMP presence as part of the existing property website, and not as a separate AMP website. This structure of ongoing AMP enablement of website content and landing pages allows more AMP pages to be created, indexed, and featured on Google’s mobile SERPs.

For example, HEBS Digital’s Google AMP Enabler module, part of the award-winning smartCMS website technology platform and its 30+ modules, allows for unlimited pages from the website to be pushed to the Google AMP platform and featured as Google AMP pages in the mobile SERPs. The module also features the following capabilities:

  • Provides full integration of the hotel website with the Google AMP Platform
  • Allows ongoing Google AMP enablement of new content pages as they become available on the property site
  • Offers full management of Google AMP Enabler module through the smartCMS® Website Technology Platform

One thing that hoteliers should not do when it comes to Google AMP is turn all pages into AMP, as this would defeat the purpose of a responsive site. At the end of the day, AMP was specifically built for publishers (i.e., The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc.), so hoteliers should focus on top-read and heavy content pages, such as the FAQ.

To make the most of Google AMP, hoteliers should review analytics and strategy to determine which pages they want to have Google AMP enabled. These pages are typically those with the highest page views on a mobile device.

 

Conclusion:

Google AMP and its simple page layout with stripped-down content is not meant to replace the mobile-first fully responsive hotel website, rather it is meant to provide an additional “tentacle” of the hotel website in the AMP carousels section on Google’s mobile SERPs.

Google AMP is one of the touchpoints with growing importance, giving hoteliers the opportunity to engage today’s multi-device and multi-touchpoint travel consumers, and bring them to the property website and hopefully convince them to book. Google AMP is yet another tool that hoteliers can use to increase direct bookings, lower distribution costs, and improve profitability.

With constant innovations to Google AMP, such as AMP Stories and Emails—as featured in February’s Top 5 Things You Need To Know Now— hoteliers should keep close tabs on this hot topic.

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About HEBS Digital:

Founded in 2001, the firm is headquartered in New York City and has global offices in Las Vegas, Tallinn, Munich, and Asia-Pacific. Through its Smart Guest Acquisition Suite, including the smartCMS®, Smart Personalization Engine, Smart Data Marketing, and full-service digital consulting and marketing solutions, HEBS Digital helps hoteliers drastically boost direct bookings, lower distribution costs, and increase the lifetime value of guests. Its diverse client portfolio consists of top-tier luxury and boutique hotel chains, independent hotels, resorts and casinos, franchised properties and hotel management companies, convention centers, spas, restaurants, DMO and tourist offices.

Part of NextGuest Technologies, HEBS Digital and Serenata CRM, the most comprehensive Hotel CRM Suite today, are the creators of the hospitality industry’s first Fully-Integrated Guest Engagement & Acquisition Platform.

Contact HEBS Digital’s consultants at 1 (800) 649-5076 (North America), +64 (0) 9 889 8489 (Asia Pacific) or success@hebsdigital.com.

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Editorial Contact:

Garrick Lee
Marketing Manager, HEBS Digital
Phone: (212) 752-9425
Email: garrick@hebsdigital.com