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Business Information

Search Engines vs. Comparison Websites in the Hotel Industry

Search engines such as Google are failing on 2 fronts:

1. They are failing users because they struggle to deliver high quality search results for people looking to purchase goods and services.

2. They are failing businesses because the pay-per-click advertising model is outdated; as a consequence a large part of a company’s advertising budget is wasted.

A new generation of comparison websites are emerging that give users a level of sophistication to searches for goods and services. They also use the pay-per-sale advertising model which improves efficiency for businesses.

I will use the hotel industry to demonstrate these claims.


Google searches can be categorised into two types; information searches and business-related searches.

Information searches

Information searches don’t normally end in a sale. They will have very few or no sponsored links in the search results. The results obtained are of a good quality and the user will usually find what they want within the first few sites viewed. This aspect of Google will not change. Google will always be excellent for information searches.

Business-related searches

Business-related searches are ones that usually end with a sale. They will have a large number of sponsored links in the results. The user can be overwhelmed by the number of relevant sites returned and spend a long time viewing each site to see which one has the cheapest prices. The results may be distorted by unscrupulous webmasters who have used underhand tricks to manipulate their site to the top of the list.


There are 2 ways in which a commercial website owner can get their web pages into the Google search results. The first is by bidding for “search keywords” in Google AdWords and appearing as a “sponsored link”. The second is by performing search engine optimisation (SEO) on the website and hope that this will improve your position in the general search results.