One of the reasons for Google’s success is their ability to offer services to consumers that are just as helpful as their web search results. Back in 2011, Google started a service called Hotel Finder that lets users search for local hotels, get room price and availability information, and read reviews from past visitors. Google has recently confirmed that they are rolling out new changes to the Hotel Finder interface to make it more appealing to consumers.
A few weeks ago, SEO marketers started seeing different versions of the Hotel Finder interface appear in search results. The changes were first noted by SEO Roundtable. But since Google often tests changes that they later decide not to implement, it wasn’t known for sure if the new Hotel Interface was a test or the start of change that would later be seen for all users.
When users click on nearby hotels after doing a search for a hotel + city combination, they may see the new Hotel Finder interface. The main difference is the introduction of a third standout area which contains easy access to features searchers need.
When you first reach the Hotel Finder interface, the screen is still split into a map and sidebar with a list of hotels. The sidebar is now smaller but when you go to a hotel on the list, a third sidebar appears that contains useful information like pricing, reviews, photos, and other information taken from the hotels Google My Business page or from the website in some cases.
Hotels that have the feature set up will have reservation information available for users looking to book a room. This includes ads for rooms provided through services like Expedia or Orbitz, for hotels that list rooms via those services. Hotels that have basic Google Ads campaigns running will be listed first on the left hand sidebar.
These Hotel Finder interface tests were eventually confirmed by Google in a statement to SearchEngineLand. According to the statement, Google is moving to use the new interface and users will see them in action in the near future.
“We began rolling out the new interface and it should soon be fully visible by all users,” the spokesperson said in the succinct yet clear statement to SearchEngineLand.
There’s no word on if there are any planned changes to the mobile version of the Hotel Finder service, though in some ways, these current changes brings the desktop version more in line with the mobile version. For example, on mobile devices, clicking on the hotels on the list will bring up the Google My Business page for the hotel, so it’s similar to the new sidebar in the improved Hotel Finder interface for desktop.
The improvements to the Hotel Finder feature on Google will help hotels sell more rooms right from the search results. It’s important that hotels keep their information up to date on Google My Business and consider using PPC ads for more leads from Google.
Hotel managers should also keep mobile marketing in mind. Mobile accounts for 30% of all time spent on travel websites in the US. Similarly, the number of hotels with mobile optimized websites is increasing. According to a report from L2, 84% of luxury hotel brands offer mobile-optimized websites, up from 76% in 2014.
For more news more news about changes to Google, read this article with an update on the results of Google’s recent algorithm change.