Google’s Quiet Moves to Dominate Hotel Metasearch – Skift.
Summary of Whats new in 2015
1. A few things have been dropped from the 2011 Hotel Finder beta.
a. The ability to define a may area (with a mouse or touch) is gone. With it users could draw a circle, square or any rectangular shape on the map as a catchment area. All hotels in that area will then be listed under the map and highlighted on the map. It was an impressive technology feature but probably not all that exciting for the average user.
b. Google hotel content is gone, so to has Google’s own reviews. This indicates, I think, that Google is moving away from being a full service provider at this time. This is good news for advertisers and especially the Online Travel Agents.
2. The new Hotel Finder now links direct to hotels that are listed in Finder. It also shows costs for the various OTA vendors of the property. Hotels website are also linked in the OTA price list, they are at the very bottom of the list. Previously Google linked to the OTAs and the hotel link was to Googles own version of the hotel site. The change is a significant advantage for hotels.
3. The Hotel Finder list is short – 7 to 10 properties are listed. Google is selecting hotels that it ranks as authority sites. That is they are mapped, have good SEO and page authority. They are listed in local destination sites like Barbados.org and cited in directories like yelp.
Google has made some significant changes to its hotel finder listings. The details are covered in the video below. in summary herre are the key points
How to get listed on Hotel Finder
Several companies are springing up to help local hotels get listed. Unfortunately the space is very restricted and not everyone will succeed. Our guess is that Hotel Finder will become a new standard for all of Google Search result, but that may take years to roll out. It is vital that hotels start to understand what it takes to rank on google and plan for it now. When you look at who is on Hotel Finder you get an idea of what it takes. We have a video on that but in a nutshell: Hotels that make it to finder or the first page of search results have quality content, use rich media, have social proof, have relevant quality backlinks and a site that people like.
The Trouble with Search Ranking
Hotels will still have difficultly in getting on the first page of search results for several reasons, most importantly they don’t have the content of OTAS who Google favours. OTAs have very fined tunes SEO strategies, good social engagement and all of the factors that create authority on search engines, they are also huge advertising partners with search engines. For more see the YouTube Video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfxsMUoRcBI
Still small hotels can get be on the first page of results as we have shown. Hotels should move to get onto hotel Finder now. Space is limited and first in line do get a preference. What you do to get onto this spot will boost your search engine marketing, SEO success and organic listing well into the future.
Hotel Advertising Made Easier
At the same time as rolling out the new Finder, Google has made changes to its hotel adverting package, making it easier for browsers to click to hotel advertisers. Advertising is one way to get on top of the page. With the new pack Google has put Hotel Ads further up the page giving them far greater exposure and streamlined process.
Nicholas Ward, president of Koddi, sums it up as:
The old way:
Click the ad
View the hotel list on Google Hotel Finder
Click on a hotel selection
Click a Hotel Ad to navigate to the partner booking site
The streamlined process is:
Select the hotel
Click a Hotel ad
Romain Roulleau, senior vice president, ecommerce, at Accor Hotels notes: “I would say for everyone, the two leaders [in Europe] are Trivago and TripAdvisor,” says hotels. “That’s obvious. One of the fastest growing is Google Hotel Price Ads and Google Hotel Finder, especially with the way they are now putting more of the display in the Google search engine.”
The Biggest media player is Google:
Major online travel agencies have invested billions of dollars in TV advertising over the past few years. Now Google is offering a alternative that could erode their position, and it is doing it without TV advertising. “Google, after all, has something the meta-search players and online travel agencies don’t have — it has prime placement on Google.”… Romain Roulleau. The infograph is not included in the Skiff article that propted this review, but it will help you when reading the discussion on the Google Hotel Ads Pack.
How Paid Ads Supersede Hotel Finder
The InfoGraphics (below) is helpful in understanding the importance of Hotel Finder in search. Hotel Ads, however, don’t rely on the Finder as they used to. Paid Ads now link direct to the advertiser.