The mid to late 2000s saw hotels capitalize on search in an effort to get in front of potential customers, moving them to supplier direct forms of transacting both online and offline. As illustrated in many different studies, search plays a critical role during the research phase for consumers with approximately 85% of consumers performing some form of search before booking with the hotel directing online, according to a Cornell Center For Hospitality Research study, “Search, OTAs and Online Booking: An Expanded Analysis of the Billboard Effect.” While search (and search engines) continue to evolve, it has the potential to become a more expensive venue for customer acquisition as the dominant search engines further monetize their search landscape with an increasing portion on the landscape (especially that above the fold or top half of the page) becoming paid versus organic. In efforts to combat these increasing costs, we see many new developments by advertisers. Get the full story at