Google now has a search site dedicated to hotel reservations, rivaling fan-favorite competitors like Hotels.com and Airbnb.
What Does Google’s Hotel Booking Site Offer?
Alongside Google’s handy flight tool, consumers can now make hotel reservations right through Google Hotel Search. The new hotel booking tool allows consumers to adjust available hotel options based on location, dates, number of guests, amenities and price range. Consumers are able to view hotels’ highlights – complete with photos and reviews – to help them decide on reservations.
When consumers use the “Deals” filter on Google Hotel Search, Google’s machine learning can help them find Google partner hotels that offer lower rates than others in the area.
Consumers can also track hotel prices, monitoring when rates increase and decrease, just as they can their flight prices, before they book. Plus, if consumers haven’t yet decided on destinations, they can view flights and hotels for multiple different locations based on price and departing city.
How Does Google Hotels Differ From Google Hotel Ads?
Introduced in 2018, Google Hotel Ads appear in search results and help individual hotels highlight their properties. Google Hotel Ads appear within searches for cities and travel accommodations with payment by advertisers only accrued when ads are clicked or bookings are secured.
Unlike Google Hotel Ads, Google Hotel Search is separated from other Google search results. Explained by Google as a way to “find a place to stay quickly and easily,” Google Hotel Search strictly provides hotel listings with reviews and rates. Hotels are listed in both card and map views. Clicking on a hotel listing brings users to a hotel-specific landing page, and the “book a room” button drives searchers to a page with a long list of booking options, including online travel agencies (OTAs) and the official hotel website.
What Does Google Hotel Search Mean For The Industry And Marketers?
As Google gains more of a monopoly on the search world and wades deeper into the travel industry, some hotel distribution experts, like Chetan Patel, Vice President of Strategic Marketing and eCommerce for Onyx Hospitality Group, think Google’s entry to booking will rattle the market.
Patel commented, “There is a wealth of data that we are [currently] able to see, like how many visitors clicked on our website listing, how many calls were initiated from the listing, how many guests asked for directions to our property and what keywords led the users to our listing.” From a marketing perspective, hotel brands can now view deeper, more accurate insights to better understand their audiences, which makes targeting ideal consumers easier than ever. But the longer Google keeps prospective vacationers on Google properties, the more data will stay with Google too. Google will in all likelihood use this data, along with machine learning, to help consumers find the lowest rates and best deals on hotels directly on Google web properties. For price-driven brands, this could boost reservation volume. But for experience-driven hotel brands, the introduction of Google Hotels may present a challenge.
For now at least, reservations will be made on hotel and OTA websites and not within Google properties. But, it’s easy to imagine a Google-driven OTA in the future.