519 days ago

Forget flights, Google is quietly adding new features to Hotel Finder as rivals look on (and advertise)

NB: This is a guest article by Wouter Blok, chief marketing officer at EasyToBook. Follow on Twitter and his own personal blog.

Think all the love in the travel division at Google is directed at the Flight Search product? Think again.

Having launched its own search tool almost two years ago for the US market and US hotels, Google has gradually rolled out to more international properties.

But there is a lot more going on.

Google Hotel Finder has tried all manner of tests in the SERPs like this, but nothing more than the regular 1% of total traffic test. Indeed, the date box and star class links are found on many hotel searches in the UK and seem to have passed the 1% testing status.

Also, Google launched the “Rooms” tab at the hotel level. This function was already present in most metasearch engines, so Google now gets on par with them with this.

It is still being rolled out for other OTAs, as I only see Expedia (not Hotels.com or its affiliates) and Booking.com showing up.

Another new feature is the ability to filter on amenities and the Zagat scores. It would be cool to be able to filter on the type of traveler as well, similar to Tripadvisor has it for family, friends, business, romantic, etc.

Finally, I found Kayak is advertising amongst the other OTAs, with its Expedia Affiliate Network product (Expedia takes the booking).

After clicking and landing on the Kayak hotel page, it’s only one click to the search results of Kayak, a direct competitor to Hotel Finder!

All these developments confirm that there’s a lot of attention for this product. One might wonder if Google will follow Kayak, HotelsCombined in the semi-book direct functionality.

What say you?

NB: This is a guest article by Wouter Blok, chief marketing officer at EasyToBook. Follow on Twitter and his own personal blog.

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  1. Dicken Thomas

    Steve, I agree with you. Google is sure not far behind having these thoughts and im pretty sure the 20% of the time they spent on innovating newer ideas, this might sure be one of their big plans in the pipeline.

    And they have great meta search engine models like Kayak and Dohop to piggy back on..

  2. nicholas

    The great news is more hotels around the world will hopefully have more customers. Investors of tourism products will continue to grow knowing Google is helping direct customers to them.

  3. Steve Reynolds

    I can’t imagine a scenario where Google doesn’t become a major meta-search engine for air, hotels, cars, and more. I do see them avoiding competing directly against their major sources for revenue (large OTAs and Suppiers) and follow a co-opetition model. Meta-search adds both value to suppliers and provides more relevant user content. Right in their wheel house. In the not too distant future, one can envision an online version of the Boston Tea Party as suppliers do battle against the ever increasing Google Tax.



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