Google has been gradually taking away website traffic for many industries over the years by moving more information and functionality directly within the search engine, allowing searchers to find what they need without ever leaving Google.com. This shift for the travel industry has previously been felt with the introduction of Google My Business, Google Flight and Google Hotel Search as well as featured snippets and answer boxes within the search results. Last week Google introduced even more changes to its travel related search for hotels and flights that follows this trend and further monetizes travel bookings for Google.
New Features for Google’s Hotel Search with Travel Insights Tool
1. Allow Google to Help Pick Your Next Travel Destination
Google will now curate the best flight deals based on your airport of origin by offering a filter by price and highlighting great value options.
2. New Hotel Deals Filter
Google now offers expanded filters to let you narrow down your hotel search based on a new “deals” specific filter that “uses machine learning to highlight hotels where one or more of our partners offer rates that are significantly lower than the usual price for that hotel or similar hotels nearby.” - Google’s Blog Post.
Click through on one of these deals and you’re taken to the previously updated Google hotels overview page that features hotel overview information, photos, reviews, rates and availability from hotel ads partners and things to do within the destination and near the hotel.
3. View Hotel Highlights
Consumers can also filter and view by hotel highlights and amenities such as if it has a pool, is family friendly or is a luxury hotel - all curated with machine learning and aggregated from multiple sources that Google does not specifically state.
This information can also be found on the hotel’s overview page:
4. Searches for Hotels Near Landmarks in Google Maps
Google is instructing consumers to use Google Maps for helpful information about what hotels are around specific landmarks or attractions by providing hotels near the landmark along with rates, walking and driving distances.
How Can Your Hotel Optimize For Exposure & Conversions With Google’s Updated Hotel Search?
- Make Sure Your Hotel’s Google My Business and local listings are accurate and optimized
- Participate in Google Hotel Ads to ensure your hotel website is competing with OTAs in this highly visible space
- Encourage guests to write reviews and make sure you are responding to them - on all important channels and especially on Google. If your hotel isn’t getting positive reviews - make sure to address the issues whether it’s customer service or product related.
- Make sure you have a competitive rate strategy in place and your lowest rates are only found on your website.
- Optimize your website with location focused keywords and optimize for demand driving location attractions and/or events
- Partner with local events, organizations, conventions and more to gain exposure and potentially links from local businesses
Need help getting started or auditing how you measure up with all of these items? Reach out to our hotel marketing team and we'll set you up for success.