Google is making moves that further blur the line between hotels and private accommodations.
NB: This is an article from Phocuswire
The search giant says searches for “beach rentals” and “staycations” grew by more than 100% globally in the last year and now it wants to better serve that interest by combining vacation rentals and hotels in one comprehensive search result for a destination.
Beginning today, consumers that search for accommodations in a specific destination may see both hotels and vacation rentals in the search results on google.com/travel.
The “vacation rentals” filter – launched in 2019 – remains for users that want to limit results to only non-hotel properties, but without that filter the default display will show both types of accommodations.
Google says results are ranked organically based on relevance to the user’s query. The company would not provide a list of current supply partners, but searches on the site show listings from Tripadvisor, Vacasa, Red Awning, Sonder, Rentals United and others.
But while this is a first for Google, the idea of surfacing both hotels and rentals in one search result has been offered for some time from online travel agencies such as Booking.com, which says it has more than six million alternative accommodation listings, and Expedia Group, which is ramping up visibility of Vrbo listings on its OTA brands.
“From an innovator Google has become a mere imitator,” says Max Starkov, a hospitality and travel technology consultant.
“Last year Airbnb, Vrbo and other vacation rental players took 29% of the accommodation demand – versus 19% in 2019 – and Google is finally paying attention to this sector.”
Mirai CEO Pablo Delgado echoes that sentiment, saying it is “nothing new or disruptive,” but he says, “This change is a huge opportunity for vacation rentals to get incremental demand as most of today’s Google consumers are looking for hotels. Incrementality is the word that matters, and that demand will be lost for hotels. So in the short term, hotels lose.”