Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 237 – Everything A Hotelier Needs To Know About Google SERP Updates and Magi Release

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Hello fellow hoteliers and welcome to episode 237 of the Hotel Marketing Podcast and thank you for taking the time out of your busy commute, workout, lunch break, or whenever you decide to listen.  I’m your host Pete DiMaio with TravelBoom and let’s start this episode!

It’s a bit cliche how often I say it, but “we’ve got a special episode for you today!”  We have both Ken Reig, president, and Rob Langenback, COO, of Eight Oh Two Marketing.  Eight Oh Two is a powerhouse in the search marketing world with over 15 years of helping major brands like Orvis, Geneverse, RBX, and others succeed through forward-thinking search optimization and search marketing strategies.  

To set the stage, we have all heard and experienced ChatGPT and Microsoft’s integration of an AI-based question and answer system into the Bing search engine.  The first mover advantage has definitely been on full display and Microsoft has garnered a lot of attention and a significant uptick in the share of the search market.  

But never underestimate the power of Google, who has been working on their own platform with Bard (  That’s the topic for today where we will learn more about Google’s Magi project as well as significant changes to how the search algorithm will have a major impact on hoteliers and marketers in general.

What is Project Magi?

Project Magi is Google’s name for their AI integration programs in search.  This includes both the capabilities of Bard, but also a suite of changes to how the user interacts with the search engine as well as the results pages.

How will Project Magi be rolled into the search experience?

To be clear – it is impossible for us to interpret and predict how these changes might impact SEO and SEM strategies. Although there is a lot of “expert” commentary already, it is 100% speculation until we see a new SERP and analyze where clients and competitors come out. We go through this process regularly with the bigger algorithm updates, and we will do it again to protect the interests of our partners, as should any good marketer.  While we can only speculate at this time some things you can expect are:

  • A more integrated approach to search and chat responses
  • Google will likely rely more on building query intent via follow up questions to a search.  An example might be a search for “place to stay in Destin, FL” would include a follow up “are you looking for a hotel or a vacation rental”
  • Expect to see more types of content results beyond the existing paid ads, organic results, Metasearch results, knowledge boxes and others.  Google is already integrating more photos, videos, reels, and other types of content into the SERP and you can expect that to continue to grow.
  • Google is not known to make massive shifts in the SERP appearance.  Approximately 90% of Googles revenue comes through advertising and they are going to be cautious with updates.

How will Google’s AI tools change the search algorithms behind the scenes?

This is the major point of debate and the only safe thing to say now is no one knows definitively what changes google is making in the algorithm.  What we do know is they want to achieve two primary goals: increase ad revenue, and provide valuable results based on search intent.  Don’t expect many technical changes related to site coding, markup, and so forth since these have all been largely addressed in past algo updates.  You can expect content, of multiple types, to continue to become more and more relevant.  The saying, “content is king,” is more true than ever.

What can hoteliers do to take advantage of the changes?

  • SEM:
    • Possible opp to target broader match terms and allow pre-qual to narrow down results
    • Focus on pmax 
    • Potential more rewarding to pay more attention to google recommendations 
    • It’s okay to be scared, but adaptation is key to success on the paid SERP
  • SEO:
    • A potentially more level playing field for independent hoteliers.
    • Growing authority is going to be critical moving forward
    • Be helpful with excellent content, thin content will not be helpful
    • Expand 

The most important tip for developing content in the new AI-based world is simple. DON’T Write robot content.  Add your brand’s voice and expertise to a topic.  AI can’t beat that and is your main opportunity to succeed in search.

Learn more about Eight Oh Two at ​​ or at



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