Google’s free hotel booking links are coming to Search and Maps
Google is expanding its free hotel booking links to show up on Search and Maps, the company announced on Wednesday. The company is also adding reporting features, support for hotel rates in Google Business Profiles, and rolling out Local Posts to hotels as well.
Free hotel booking links extend to search and maps. In March 2021, Google began offering free listings in Google Hotel Search. Now the company is adding support for free hotel booking links on the search results page and on Google Maps. When a user clicks on these links, he is redirected to the website of the hotel (or online travel platform) where he can make the reservation.
New clicks report. Hotel owners can see how many people clicked on their free booking links via a new report in Hotel Center. The company plans to expand reporting to include impressions and booking value in the coming weeks.
Hotel rates in Google Business Profiles. Starting in April, individual hotels that meet the eligibility requirements can manually add their rates to their Google Business Profile to participate in free hotel booking links.
Hotel managers interested in this feature can fill out this form to learn more.
Local extensions from the hotel. The local publishing feature for Google Business Profiles has been rolled out for hotel owners. They can use local posts to, for example, update guests on COVID-related changes, share descriptions of special features unique to their hotel, or add media, such as images and videos.
Why we care. These features can provide hotels with more exposure opportunities. The nature of these opportunities is particularly important: Search and Maps are two very popular Google services, so the additional reach could be substantial.
Reporting features can help hoteliers get a better idea of how many bookings Google’s free listings are bringing them. Information about impression and reservation value will add more context to this data.
Additionally, integration with Google Business Profile can help hoteliers get free booking listings without having to deal with complex requirements.
While this is largely good news for hotels, it could be another nail in the coffin for online travel agencies, as search engines have been releasing features for this industry for years.
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