There’s no question that the search bar continues to be one of the most important entry points for marketers hoping to get the attention of travel customers. But despite its best efforts, Google can’t seem to shake continued concerns that it is favoring its own content in search results, putting other marketers at a disadvantage.

Last August, Jeremy Stoppelman, the CEO of local search company Yelp, accused the search giant of burying his company’s reviews in mobile search results. TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer has also been critical of Google in the past, claiming his firm’s reviews are also getting listed beneath search results for Google-owned Zagat.

Now, on the heels of another new report that Google is favoring its own products in search results, the discussion is once again heating up. How should travel marketers develop their search strategy in this environment? Does it ultimately matter? Read on for more analysis, plus the rest of this week’s stories.

Is Google Favoring Its Own Products in Search Ads?
Considering the importance of search marketing to the travel space, there’s constant analysis and discussion about the best tactics to come out on top of search results. But a new report this week alleges Google may be favoring its own products and companies in results, edging out competitors. This comes on top of claims last year by TripAdvisor and Yelp that Google was favoring its own products over their own offerings. Read more

TripAdvisor and Airbnb Earn Top Spots in New Web Traffic Report
In the digital marketing era, the travel brands that ultimately end up winning the hearts (and wallets) of customers are those that can drive the most visitors to their websites. So which brands are coming out on top? According to a new annual report, companies like TripAdvisor, Southwest Airlines and Airbnb are winning the website traffic “battle” in the travel space. Read more

Airlines Experiment with Hackathons to Drive Innovation Efforts
As the digital channel continues to grow in importance for airlines, many aviation companies are looking for new opportunities to drive innovation. One of the newest tactics is the embrace of “hackathons” by several airlines, including AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and British Airways. Read more

Why Too Much Technology Can Create Problems for Travelers
The mantra of today’s marketers is that technology is the solution to every problem. But when marketers implement technology without thinking about its impact on guests, the results aren’t always pretty. This travel tale of woe by a journalist visiting the 2017 CES in Las Vegas offers a good cautionary tale. Read more

Seven Social Media Trends for Travel Marketers to Watch in 2017
Keeping up with the constant evolution of social media tools and trends can feel like a full-time job to most marketers. That’s why it’s helpful to have this list of social media trends for 2017, offering a cheat sheet of social concepts marketers will need to know in the year to come. Read more

Google Offers Five Tips for Destination Marketers
Destination marketers are always on the lookout for the next big trend to help promote their business. That’s why this round-up of marketing tips from Google is worth a look. While some of the ideas seem to skew toward Google focused products like video and VR, the thinking behind the trends is nonetheless solid. Read more

Photo Credit: A new report suggests Google may be favoring its own products and companies in search results, putting other marketers at a disadvantage. Matt Montagne / Flickr