Google Experiments with New Hotel Search Layout
All roads, or rather clicks, lead to Google’s Hotel Search page. Google continues to iterate on its hotel search interface and experience for destination searches.
NB: This is an article from Koddi
When it was released back in 2018, the hotel search interface was only accessible from a destination search by clicking on the bottom button of the local pack to view additional hotels (as shown below). Doing so would direct you to the hotel search page with equal sized card-view listings.
In a new testing experience, currently available only to a small subset of traffic, clicking on any property in the local pack directs a user to the hotel search page. The clicked property has its card pinned to the top of the page with property information expanded to the full width of the card section. All other relevant properties in the search are placed below, separated by a “More hotels in __” and a “sort by” option. From this view, clicking on any property will direct you to the hotel’s respective overview page that we are all familiar with.
What’s different about this experience?
For the pinned property, the card has some additional information that is not present in the other cards. In the pinned card, the physical address, property phone number, and a direct link to the hotel website are displayed. Finally, there is room for the entire property description to be displayed.
Unlike the other cards, the rate for the pinned property is shifted to the upper righthand corner. However, clicking on this rate still directs you back to the property overview page and not to an advertiser’s link.
Why does this matter?
While this experimental layout seems like a small update, there are two primary implications for hotel advertisers:
Extended Funnel – For users that receive this experience, all destination searches will require an additional click before landing on a bookable page. A seemingly small change in the direction of traffic proposes new opportunities for more properties to be seen that meet the search criteria.
Increased Visibility – As Google finds new ways to bring users to this hotel search landing page, more properties will have the chance to show up in relevant destination searches. In the current search experience, a maximum of 12 properties are displayed in the first page results. In the new testing experience, the 12 property cards are retained and the selected property from the destination search is pinned to the top for a total of 13 property listings.
What can I do about this?
To make the most of this layout update, there are a few things you can do to confirm that your hotel card is displaying accurate and eye-catching information:
Use High-Quality Images – Property photos will have the chance to make more of an impression on a user searching for a place to stay. Consider what type of cover photo will make your property stand out from the crowd, and make sure that it is of professional quality.
Ensure Location Accuracy – By default, the map on the right-hand side of the page updates results when the map is moved. It’s vital to provide proper geolocation to Google, as users who take advantage of this feature will be able to see all properties near a point of interest.
Differentiate with Property Description – If every property is “sophisticated” or “upscale,” then a user has no reason to choose one over the other since they all say the same thing. Properties that really want to stand out should have descriptions that incentivize the user to click on their card. Perhaps your property is within walking distance to the baseball stadium, or it has award-winning customer service. Whatever it may be, this is the chance for your property to stand out from the competition.
While this new layout is only a test that is available to a limited number of users, we’ve seen that Google is continuing to develop the hotel search experience and we should be prepared to see more changes in the near future. Promoted hotels are expected to return sometime this year and this “pinned” view could possibly be the new look for a promoted hotel.