Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive

Has Your Hotel Ever Asked, “What Would Google Do?”

Recap of Jeff Jarvis presentation at SES Chicago

December 2009 - Jeff Jarvis, author of ‘What Would Google Do?’ kicked off the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Chicago last Monday.  He spoke about Google bigotry and how some traditional news corporations view Google as a monster, or Godzilla, and Google views itself as Snuffleupagus, who is harmless and just wants to help. He also addressed media as a process, not a product, and outlined some traits that make Google so successful. We took a look at how hotels can apply these same philosophies to build a better brand.
‘Vampires, Google Parasites, Content Kleptomaniacs,’ are terms that media baron Rupert Murdoch used to describe online news aggregation sites. Google’s defense is that Google is a great source of promotion, and they send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News, and more than 3 billion extra visits from their other services such as Web Search & iGoogle. That is 100,000 clicks every minute.
Jarvis states that there is a fundamental shift happening in the media economy today in regards to website content and distribution. He stressed that content by itself is nothing, and it is the links to the content that bring it value. He identified the imperatives as follows; content must be searchable to be found, online content forces specialization (do what you do best, and link to the rest), it forces efficiency when you specialize in a subject you are an expert in, and the recipient of links monetizes links.
structural change in media process v. product
There is also a structural change in media process verses product. In media we usually think of content as a product, there is a start and a finish, and in the end we put it up. When content is considered a process it changes the structure. Jarvis thinks that Google Wave1 will allow an opportunity to create content as a process. He believes that Google may have made a mistake by introducing Wave as a new e-mail. He sees that it also has potential to be a news distributor where people can constantly update content that can be presented on one page.
The problem with ‘the article,’ he says, is that it’s imperishable. However, news changes quickly, and the value of the article goes away. The idea of a news stream is more real-time, and tools such as Twitter and RSS feeds allow for more current information. Content should be thought of as more of a process. The idea of the beginning and the end is over.
distributed v. centralized
Jarvis states that the audience and developers have becomes the new news distributors. ‘The Guardian’ launched Open Platform2 last March, which is a feature that allows content to be repurposed in different ways. There is an API (Application Programming Interface) available that will allow third party developers to access their articles in formats that are geared towards integration with other internet applications. 
Today the Guardian announced they are launching an Open 100 competition where you can nominate your top open/organizations in the world. As stated on a Guardian blog post,3 the competition celebrates the power of openness and mass collaboration. While there is no clear-cut definition of ‘openness’ there is undeniably a trend to democratize and de-centralize previously closed business processes. Some are formed from the start around communities, while others are opening up their intellectual property to share with others. This promises better, faster and more efficient innovation.
Google understands that collaboration from users, and input from developers, are necessary elements. Many applications and tools are in a ‘beta’ status where tests are being performed on the product, and users and developers can give their feedback.  As a Google spokesperson explained, “On the web, you don’t have to wait for the next version to be on the shelf or an update to become available, improvements are rolled out as they are developed.”4
Jarvis states that Google sees the world differently and that is what makes them so successful. He referred to his book, ‘What would Google Do?’ and said it isn’t just about Google, it’s about the profound changes taking place today and how you and your company should approach them. He highlighted some traits that have allowed Google to excel.

New Relationships
  • give the people control, we will use it
  • do what you do best and link to the rest
  • join a network
New Public-ness
  • if your not searchable, you won’t be found
  • everybody needs a little SEO
  • life is public, so is business
  • your customers are your ad agency
New Economy
  • Small is the new big
  • Manage abundance
New Business Reality
  • atoms
  • new ethic
  • make mistakes well
  • life is a beta
  • be honest
  • be transparent
  • collaborate
  • don’t be evil
These philosophies apply to different fields in different ways. As a hotel marketing manager, digital media has opened up a whole realm of possibilities and your approach and attitude of how to work with your online audience will come through in every point of contact. Look at the four points listed above; new relationships, new public-ness, new economy, and new business reality. These should certainly resonate with the hotel industry.
Hotels now have the ability to create relationships with their customers. This can be done through many different channels such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Put some effort into developing these relationships with your guests, and you will be creating evangelists for your hotel who will speak highly about you to their own personal networks.
New public-ness, for better or for worse, is here to stay, and it has had a huge impact on hotels. It is now common practice for guests to write reviews and post their own photos and videos of your hotel online. Hotels have to embrace this public-ness and view it as an opportunity to learn how they can improve their hotel.
The new economy has affected hotels, but even small things you can do through internet marketing, such as posting images on a flickr account, can go a long way in helping create your brand image and direct traffic to your site.
Finally, the old ideas of how to market and brand your hotel need to change to fit the new business reality. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, be honest, be transparent, collaborate, and your guests will recognize this and feel a greater brand loyalty. When in doubt, ask yourself, “What would Google do?”

If you would like to learn more about Internet Marketing, call us at 978-465-5955 or send an e-mail to


1 About Google Wave

2 Open Platform

3 The Open 100 Competition

4 Google defends its definition of ‘beta’


O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing
44 Merrimac Street
MA 01950

Also See: Install Analytics on Your Hotel Website / December 2009

Attract Guests to Your Hotel by Producing Video Content Related to Travel; O’Rourke Interview with Tubemogul Co-Founder Brett Wilson / December 2009

Prepare Your Hotel for Google Sidewiki Comments! Tips on What your Hotel Should Do, and How to Monitor Reviews with RSS Feed / November 2009

Innovative Hotel Website Ideas for 2010; O’Rourke Interview with Chris Brogan / November 2009

InterContinental Hotels Online Videos Prove More Effective / November 2009

How can Social Search Impact my Hotel? / November 2009

Sir Martin Sorrell’s Forecast for 2010, Is Your Hotel Looking Ahead? / November 2009

Chris Brogan Interview - Hotels that Listen to Social Media Generate Business / October 2009

Create Videos about Your Hotel - Your Guests Already Are! / October 2009

Thought, Reason, and Emotion Affect Consumer Decision / October 2009

Southwest Airlines is Riding the Blogosphere Like a Wild Horse! / October 2009

Don’t be Invisible Online - Learn which Websites Travelers Use to find Hotels and be Seen! / September 2009

What can a Blog do for my Hotel? The General Manager from Hawthorne Hotel Shares Insight! / September 2009

How to Edit, Export, & Upload Your Hotel Videos – Easy Technical Tips / September 2009

How Hotels Can Build Links by Leveraging their USP, PR, and Organic Growth; an O’Rourke Video Interview / September 2009

Will Google Caffeine Affect my Hotel SEO? / August 2009

Don’t Hide From Trip Advisor Reviews! / August 2009

5 Ways Hotels can Improve and Track Return on Investment from Twitter – Oh wait, there is no investment! / August 2009

Leverage Blended Search and Boost your Hotel’s Search Ranking Position / August 2009

How to Optimize Your Hotel Website for Natural Search / August 2009

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch
Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| Industry Resources | Press Releases
Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.