With summer right around the corner, many locations are trying to attract visitors who are planning their vacation. As with most things in the modern era, many consumers are going to turn to the internet for help with their search for the best place to stay while on vacation. In the past, online tools like Google were biased toward larger establishments. Google has expanded its travel search to include more vacation rental properties.
Google has helped consumers make their vacation and travel plans for years. However, their tools have been mainly focused on hotels. It’s easier to include hotel listings since there are more rooms per hotel and hotels have booking systems that are easier to integrate into Google. Even the previous updates to Google travel focused on hotels. However, the focus on hotel left out many of the rental properties that people could consider when traveling.
As the product manager for Google Travel, Pratip Banerji wrote, “In 2018, we redesigned our mobile and desktop hotel search experience to help you find hotels by price, location, and ratings and began including vacation rentals in hotel search results. Now, to give you a broader set of choices for lodging, we’re expanding the hotel search experience to include a wider assortment of vacation rental properties worldwide.”
The new update won’t turn Google Hotels into an exhaustive list of every vacation rental property on the market. Google is partnering with specific rental property networks to provide this new feature. Though they don’t have every rental property, searchers won’t have a hard time finding something that meets their needs. According to reports, Google Hotels will include listings from Expedia; HomeAway; Hotels.com; NextPax; RedAwning; Rentals United; TripAdvisor; VRBO; and more.
Since the change only works with specific rental property providers, it’s still vital that independent rental property owners use smart content marketing and SEO to help their establishments get noticed. Property owners who can take advantage of the feature should consider their pricing, in comparison to local hotels, since that’s the comparison that people on Google Hotel will be making. People expect rental properties to cost more than hotels, but it’s essential to make the value clear.
When selecting a rental property, users will have access to the same feature they use to find the right hotel for them. Searchers can narrow the selection by using price and amenity filters. Additionally, there will be browsable photos and customer reviews to help people make a decision. And there will even be information about the rates and availability of the vacation rental property. For the property owners, Google is acting as a liaison to encourage sales. Customers will click “Book” on Google Hotels to complete the transaction on the travel partner’s page. All property information and bookings are provided and done by the travel partner.
Currently, the update is only active on mobile Google Hotels searches. However, Google has said the feature would be expanded to the desktop version in April.
For more recent news about Google that can help your marketing team this summer, read this article on Google’s latest changes for businesses with podcasts.