Google have announced the discontinuation of their Hotel Finder Site and the integration of hotel information into regular search results. This change makes it easier and quicker for travellers seeking accommodation to get all the information they need.
Much of this information — such as price, reviews and availability, was already appearing if you Googled, for example, “hotels in Boston” as of earlier this year.
However, Google have added further information about hotel amenities, including availability of Wi-Fi, breakfast, a swimming pool, parking and business facilities. Currently this is only available for US locations, though Google are aiming to add this data for 24 more countries throughout the course of next year.
Consumers will be able to book straight from Google via. Google Instant Booking on their desktop or tablet, which initially was only available to mobile device holders.
Google also announced additional details of their Google Hotel Ads Commission Program, which they began testing earlier this year. Google claims this initiative makes it more affordable for independent hotels to participate in the company’s commission model and generate more qualified leads.
Hotels will get the desired exposure in Google Hotel Ads on a pay for performance basis rather than the typical cost per click (CPC) model. With these changes in place, the hotel partner essentially “owns” the guest relationship, as they will send the confirmation email, answer any post-booking questions and handle changes to the reservation or cancellations. As bookings are made directly to the hotel it effectively cuts out the middleman.
As most smaller, independently owned hotels have more budget constraints than larger establishments, Google wants to ensure they are still able to get involved easily. Therefore, Google has partnered with a variety of hotel technology providers such as Seekda, DerbySoft, Fastbooking, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, TravelClick, and Trust International. Google hopes these companies will help independent hotels get discovered regardless of the size of their budgets.
The program has proven to be successful so far at driving bookings for hoteliers. According to Scott Koehler, Senior Vice President, Product & Operations of TravelClick;
“Since March, hotels enrolled in TravelClick’s Demand Services program have seen, on average, a 56 percent year-over-year increase in revenue driven by Google Hotel Ads. The evolution from a pay-per-click to commission model has increased hotel revenue.”
Hilton Worldwide used Google Hotel Ads to help drive high-quality leads and increase bookings. Hilton saw their conversion rate improve by 45% and overall ROI increase by 12%.
Premier Inn is another example of a leading company who saw positive results. Sarah Del Corral, Director of e-commerce, Premier Inn, found they were able to reach many new consumers and saw significant, measurable results.
Google Travel senior program manager, Tom Mulders stated they are dedicated to helping partners connect with travellers at the booking stage, across all devices and Google platforms.
Given that today’s travellers have more research, booking and platform options than ever before, these new changes are sure to be a hit with consumers, enabling them a more seamless path to booking.