How Google Surveys Hotel Searchers

All websites want to understand their users motivation for being there. Why is this user searching for that? Why is this user looking at this page/product? In advertising, we try to make broad assumptions of motivation. We sometimes get so caught up with the hypothetical explanations, that we overlook the obvious and simplest means of determining motivation: asking.

We have seen a new user experience for some Google users searching for hotels. While looking at hotels in the knowledge panel, the user is prompted with a survey asking various questions about their motivation. As far as we can tell, the users that are presented the survey are randomly selected, and there is no connection between what the query was and whether the survey is presented.

The first question that is prompted is: “What information are you looking for in regards to this hotel?”

The survey participant is free to type whatever response they desire.

What can Google gain from asking this question? Users search for hotels to get additional information: price, location, availability, amenities, reviews, details, nearby businesses, etc. By determining what those surveyed are looking for, Google can fine tune and tailor their user experience to show the most pertinent information to the users. If the majority of users surveyed say that they are looking for reviews, Google may be more inclined to show reviews higher in the page where they are more visible. Alternatively, if few users say details about the hotel is important, google may be motivated to rearrange the layout of the information presented to users to most effectively use the real estate of the web page.

After typing their answer the previous question and clicking next, the user is prompted with the question: “Which of the following best describes your trip?” There are preset answers that the user can respond with, as well as a text box that the user can enter their own response.

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