Google has been busy this year when it comes to its travel-related search product.
NB: This is an article from gcommerce
Earlier this year the search engine made changes to its hotel search and announced the launch of Google Trips, its all-in-one trip planning tool to let you organize flights, hotels, activities and more all in one place. Ever-evolving changes to the SERP have the OTAs and other travel companies calling out Google as a travel monopoly, although Google continues to deny it. Let’s dive into a couple more new features related to hotels that launched over the past month.
Google My Business Launches Hotel Attributes
On August 9th, Google launched a new section under Google My Business hotel pages to customize the list of amenities and services available at the hotel.
Why is this change to Google My Business hotel attributes important for hotels?
Accurate and thorough Google My Business listing information is critical for hotel local SEO optimization and to ensure that your hotel is visible for searches related to the hotel’s amenities and services. Google’s hotel search tool uses Google My Business information to understand what type of hotel it is and match it up when users search phrases such as “San Diego resort with pool” or “Boston pet-friendly hotel”. If you don’t provide this data through your Google My Business listing information, your hotel is less likely to appear for these qualified searches. If your hotel needs assistance in building out a well-optimized Google My Business and local listing presence, please contact GCommerce for information on our local SEO service.
Google Hotel Reviews Expands Information Requested
Currently, when you are using Google’s hotel search you are able to filter by criteria such as family-friendly, business travel or couples. Right now this data is being provided by Google’s 3rd party data partner, TrustYou. Google has now rolled out an expanded process for collecting reviews that incorporates asking for this type of data as seen in this screenshot:
This hints that Google is not only putting more focus on building out Google My Business data to improve its hotel search user experience but that they may also drop TrustYou as a data provider.
Why is this change to the Google Hotel reviews process important for hotels?
For years hoteliers have focused on pushing Tripadvisor reviews as the number one priority in the review ecosphere. This change to its review collection process shows that Google’s investing more in using its own review data within its search engine data. This means hoteliers should be investing more in prompting guests to write reviews directly on Google for the local search benefits.
Additionally, a recent study from Womply found that “businesses with more than the average number of reviews bring in 82% more in annual revenue than businesses with review counts below the average”. If you’re not investing in a platform to drive a greater quantity of reviews as well as monitor and respond to reviews, such as Revinate or Podium, your hotel is missing out on a large piece of the local SEO optimization that can assist in driving more direct revenue.