I have just seen Google Hotel Finder for the first time in the Google UK search engine results. Google is aggresively promoting it’s own hotel booking service in the pay per click results, and I have to say I really like this new service.
Google Hotel Finder has been available in the USA for some time, but today is the first time I’ve seen it in the wild here in the UK.
A search on Google for a Manchester hotel brought up a new type of information: the ability to search for hotels right in the Google search results page:
Review of Google Hotel Finder
I have to say I am very impressed by the Hotel Finder service. At first glance it doesn’t seem to offer much beyond the other hotel booking service sites, but after digging around a bit deeper I found functionality that was genuinely helpful and made my life easier.
I found the Shortlist feature particularly useful, particularly when combined with the discount being offered (including the price for the Premier Inn being 6% more than usual)
And I quickly found the filter by preferences option useful, for example I needed a hotel that included free parking
TheGoogle Hotel Finder layout is very clear, and is packed full of useful information that will make it easier for me to make the decision. I have the impression that similar information is available on the other booking services like Hotels.com, but it is presented in a way that seemed easier to use. Perhaps that is because the layout is more Google-like?
- room choices
- location map
But what I really loved the best was the ability to cross check pricing between the various booking services in a single glance. Here is the Copthorne Hotel in Manchester, and instead of using my usual Hotels.com habit, I am going to nip over to Agoda and get myself a better deal. Look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves!
Information for hotel owners
This is a hugely disruptive change to the hotel booking industry, and signals a big change for hotel owners and how they appear in the search engine results.
Buteeq have written a very useful post on how to get listed in Google Hotel Finder, which in a nutshell is a combination of a hotel’s own Google Plus page, plus data from the major hotel booking engines which in the UK currently appear to be services like Laterooms.com, eBookers, Booking.com, and Agoda.
What is quite reassuring for accomodation providers is the ability to make the booking on a range of booking services, including the owner’s own website:
So, how does Google make it’s money?
I am delighted with the service, and much effort has gone in to create this great user experience. You can be sure Google isn’t doing this out of the kindess of it’s heart.
Google Pay Per Click ads are appearing in the familiar buff coloured box at the top with the discrete text indicating Ads. These Google Hotel Ads. I must confess I’m not exactly sure how this advertising is currently working in the UK, but it appears to be available to selected hotels.