1 New Way to Get the Most Out of Your Google Local Hotel Listings

May 23, 2017

hotel search barI think we can all agree that how your business is displayed on Google is important.

That’s especially true in the travel industry. In fact, we see about 40% of our customers traffic comes from Google Organic search, more than any other source. As of last week a mobile display change is going to put more information than ever right on the search results page.

The information presented on mobile devices now matches what desktop users have been seeing. Within the search results, Google lists prices for one-night stays, amenities, reviews and contact details. Let’s take a look at how this can impact your business and how you can make the most of this new offering.

Amenities at Your Fingertips

In January, Google began testing price trends for local hotel listings. The SEM Post was the first to report on the change, with the assistance of an SEO specialist in Toronto.

Now, as of mid-May, it seems that the change has come to mobile. The new display shows the best prices for a one-night stay, as well as amenities. At first the two displays did not seem to be sharing information, but now the displays are almost identical. The key difference is mobile users have the ability to edit and submit changes to the amenities list, whereas desktop users cannot. These amenities range from free Wi-Fi to handicap accessibility.

The features list on mobile includes highlights, atmosphere, amenities and payments. Choices under each header can toggle on, off or left blank. There is no option to write in amenities as of now.

How to Break Into the Booking Display

Another change is the booking display. For the most part, ads in this section include the best prices from online travel agencies (OTAs). We are talking about the big boys here, for example:

  1. Hotels.com
  2. Priceline
  3. Expedia
  4. TripAdvisor
  5. Orbitz

These ads are not a part of Google AdWords, but instead Google Hotel Ads.

There are two ways to get your prices displayed on Google Hotel Ads. The first is a third-party, Authorized Integration Partner. A list of these providers can be found by visiting the Google Hotel Ads page and clicking  “Find A Partner” in the top left corner.

The other option is to integrate your display on your own. To learn more on setting this up, visit Google’s developer page and fill out a request form for consideration by Google.

The Importance of Reviews

Google’s end goal is always to serve up the best possible user experience. Besides amenities, pricing, and directions, Google also displays review summaries. This means that instead of showing three individual reviews, Google extracts the details. These review summaries appear after you have received at least 50 Google reviews. Three summary categories appear and provide information about your rooms, location and service/facilities.

Great reviews are a major point to focus on in our hospitality SEO guide, by the way.

It also looks as though reviews will play a part on amenities. Since writing them in isn’t an option, Google is pulling these details from info it gathers by crawling the website and your reviews. Earlier this month, Google experimented with a new “highly rated” annotation for hotels with a 4.5-star rating or higher. While it doesn’t look as though this has rolled out universally, the fact of the matter is it may be coming soon.

Reviews also play a major factor for searches of “best x” in a location. If people are searching for the best place to stay where you are, you need to have the stars to get in front of them. Google also began rolling out a new review format for hotels according to Search Engine Land. Looking for a smart way to increase your number of 5 Star Reviews? Check out our web-based app!

These changes are still in their infancy, and it’s likely there will be more tweaks in the coming weeks. Across the board, one thing remains the same: reviews are playing a part in how Google displays your business to users.