Google’s Core Web Vitals Update And What It Means For A Luxury, Independent Hotel's Book Direct Strategy

Although the luxury hotel industry is still dependent on high levels of personal service provided by a well-trained team, it is also reliant on high occupancy rates and these are delivered in the main via web technologies. 

Over 65% of hotel bookings are made on the internet with a mobile device.

Just as guests in a 5-star hotel wouldn’t expect or tolerate bad customer service, there is no reason why web browsers should put up with a bad experience online. 

One of the key planks of Aró Digital’s book direct strategy is the journey a prospective booker undertakes in making their online booking. 

It should be quick, easy and involve the minimum number of steps required before they click ‘Book Now’.

In the same way as the background efforts which go into great hotel service are largely hidden from guests, web browsing is underpinned by a massive infrastructure which is invisible to users.

Google are not only the World’s largest search engine – it also plays a critical role in how the web works. 

Earlier this year they started to roll out a major update to the way in which websites are ranked in terms of user experience – UX. 

This update is called Core Web Vitals (CWV) and it is likely to have a significant impact on organic (unpaid) search results for luxury hotels.
Ao booking engine for luxury hotels

What is the Core Web Vitals update?

There are three pillars to the update and they all relate to what happens when you land on a page on a website and wait to engage with it

  1. Loading – is something happening? Are you seeing what you want to see?
  2. Interactivity – is it responsive? And in a timely manner?
  3. Visual stability – is it pleasant to view the page or are there disruptions?

In order to quantify these pillars, Google have come up with three metrics:

  1. LCP – Largest Contentful Paint
  2. FID – First Input Delay
  3. CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift
Core Web Vitals for luxury hotels

There are many articles on the web which go into great detail about these KPIs and how they are measured. 

This one is from Google and there is a good third-party explanation here

To highlight how these metrics affect browsers in the real world, let’s take a quick look at LCP.  

This measures how quickly the largest element on the page loads. 

It could be a banner, a piece of text or an image and it is likely to be the item the user is most interested in. 

It is designed to measure the page loading experience but from a user’s perspective not just as a technical point. 

If LCP is under 2.5 seconds for over 75% of people who access a given page, then that page is rated as good. 

This is a key difference in the CWV update – the data comes from real browsers, not laboratory tests.

So even the least tech-savvy among us can understand that seeing the most important element in less that 2.5 seconds is a good thing. 

No more waiting around!

Aro direct booking service for luxury hotels

WHY is it important that your hotel website passes the Core Web Vitals tests?

CWV has now joined several other metrics, such as safe browsing and mobile friendly, and together they form the search signals for page experience. 

And page experience is what is known as a Google ranking signal.
luxury hotels' Core Web Vitals

When a browser types ‘5 star hotel in New York’ as a Google search, there are likely to be thousands of results which could be displayed. 

Google decides which ten are placed on the first page of the results pages (and subsequent pages) using ranking signals. (These ten are the organic listings and will always come after the paid listings).

There are over 200 ranking signals and their relative importance is unknown. 

However Google are pushing CWV so it seems reasonable to assume that page experience is an important signal. 

As such we consider it vital that our clients’ hotel websites pass the CWV tests – a key plank of having the best book direct strategy is that both a hotel’s organic and paid listings are optimised.

** We also have a podcast on this subject - listen here.

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