Google Hotel Finder, Google’s new service to revolutionize the hospitality industry, is finally available in Google.es, after a few months of operation in the United States and in several English-speaking countries. Google Hotel Finder considerably modifies the SERP (search engine result page) of Google and offers hoteliers a new marketing avenue to increase direct sales.
If we introduce the words “hotels in Barcelona” in the search bar of Google.es, the result is significantly different from what used to appear: below the sponsored ads, we get a box with the link “Hotels in Barcelona on Google” and a tab where we can enter the booking dates. This is Google Hotel Finder: a tool that simplifies the process of choosing a hotel by coordinating the available information of maps, customer reviews, photos and price comparisons. All this, if possible, without leaving the Google interface until the final moment of the reservation, when the user has to choose whether to complete the process on the website of an OTA (online travel agency) or on the hotel website itself.
Where does the information in Google Hotel Finder come from?
Google Hotel Finder gets the information about the hotels from Google Maps (photos, descriptions and reviews) and Google Plus Local (formerly Google Places), as well as the paid content from “hotel ads” shown in different Google platforms and services. Thus, Google favors local searches even more: the list of seven local results that appeared so far, still appears, but below the box of Google Hotel Finder. Thus, in the best case scenario the organic search results are relegated to a much less visible position within the first page and, most times, are pushed to the second page.
Getting the most out of Google Hotel Finder
Given that Google is the most used search engine in the world, it is clear that hotels must adapt to the changes introduced by Hotel Finder in the search or lose visibility and see their sales reduced. To do this, and although it may be somewhat complex, you should optimize the information about the hotel and update the content on different platforms and services of Google (the search engine, Google Maps, Google + Local, Hotel Finder, YouTube) and send a coherent and coordinated message from all of them.
Pay per click campaigns are the best complement to ensure the presence of the establishment in Hotel Finder. In the same way that on sites like TripAdvisor, Trivago or Kayak, hoteliers can use PPC campaigns in Google Hotel Finder to get users who want to book a room do it at the establishment’s own website. It’s simple: once the user has selected the hotel they want to book, they only need to open the drop down “More” tab, which lists some OTAs, and choose the hotel website. Soon, the hotel’s website will prominently be displayed in the main red tab, which will greatly improve visibility.
Hotel Finder: Google’s new twist
Hotel Finder gets to make the Google’s universe even more complete, which is providing more and more tools to the hotel sector to enhance its visibility (with modifications in the search engine as the recent U.S. launch of Google Carousel, the new local search interface coming soon to other countries). Those hotels that adapt to these changes quickly, will achieve a high position within the top of the search results and will have a significant competitive advantage over the rest.