By Margaret Mastrogiacomo, EVP Strategy

This month, the latest digital innovations include Facebook allowing Page owners to participate in Groups, new video advertising opportunities through Amazon, and asymmetrical layouts making a splash in website design. From SEO to design, discover the top five things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing.

SEO: Google+ is officially shutting down and all web integrations should be removed.

Google+ will officially shut down on April 2, 2019 and Google+ social sharing buttons will stop working. Google sent notifications to publishers that have Google+ buttons or any web integrations with Google+ recommending they remove those integrations by March 7.

Do a quick audit of your web presence to ensure that no Google+ buttons or links to the platform remain throughout the user experience.

SEM: Keywords are evolving due to the popularity of voice search.

It’s no secret that voice search is gaining more and more traction. Internet users are increasingly shifting from typing their queries into Google to asking voice search providers like Siri and OK Google. This trend will significantly change the type of keywords you need to target, as users begin asking more complete questions and long-tail queries.

Bidding on long-tail keywords and question-phrased keywords (even though they have a lower search volume) is an extremely cost-effective way to drive voice conversions for search queries such as “luxury hotel with rooftop pool in SoHo New York.”

As the shift to voice search picks up speed, context, in addition to keywords, will be integral to the success of Google Ads.

Display: Amazon is launching new video advertising opportunities.

Amazon is estimated to be the third largest digital ad seller in the United States. With only Google and Facebook ahead of them, Amazon is now making a stronger play in the video advertising space. IMDb, the Amazon-owned database of TV and movie titles, has launched an ad-supported video-on-demand service called Freedive. It’s available in the United States on the IMDb website, Amazon Fire TV devices, Amazon’s Roku channel, and on mobile devices via the IMDb app.

Amazon IMDb has more than 250 million unique monthly users worldwide. It offers more than 130 feature movie titles and 29 TV shows available for free. Now advertisers can stream video ads against premium content that aligns with their brand.

If your hotel has compelling video content, consider advertising alongside popular shows and movies that align with your target demographics as a brand awareness initiative.

Social: Facebook recently announced that Facebook Page owners will soon be able to participate in Groups.

At the recent Communities Summit, Facebook announced new posting and comment management tools for Facebook Group admins, including the ability for Facebook Page accounts to participate on Group Pages.

Facebook is also rolling out new Group management tools, including new post formatting and a new way to alert members who have violated page rules. Group admins will also be able to filter activity logs by date range and search through membership requests by name.

This is a great opportunity for hotel marketers to build a community around the hotel brand on Facebook and further engage past, current, and potential guests.

Page owners can create a Group Page around the loyalty program and activations on property, as well as join existing Group Pages surrounding the destination to offer valuable information such as recommendations of things to do and local hidden gems.

Design: Asymmetrical layouts.

As template design tools like Squarespace and Canva become more and more popular, designers and brands are looking to create web experiences that feel more bespoke.

Asymmetrical design elements create visually engaging layouts that move with the flow of content to guide the user throughout the website experience. Consider asymmetrical layouts for images, backgrounds, and content.