Google expands hotel searches to include vacation rental properties
How will Google’s latest push into offering vacation rentals affect the hospitality industry?
Google has now expanded its hotel searches to also include vacation rental properties, a move that some experts believe could have big implications for the hospitality industry.
This is hardly the first time Google has been active in the hospitality space. Last year, the company redesigned its mobile and desktop hotel search interface so users could find accommodations based on factors such as price, location, and review scores.
Now, the company has taken extra steps to integrate easy ways to find vacation rentals into its platform, noting in an announcement that in order to “give you a broader set of choices for lodging, we’re expanding the hotel search experience to include a wider assortment of vacation rental properties worldwide.”
An enhanced mobile experience
With more and more users turning to mobile devices to access online services, mobile responsiveness is important for all websites.
Google, of course, realizes this and has redesigned its mobile experience so users can see and book vacation rentals easily on their devices via prominent companies in the space such as Expedia, HomeAway, Hotels.com, NextPax, RedAwning, Rentals United, TripAdvisor, VRBO and more.
The new functionality allows users to find vacation rentals easier by applying a vacation rentals filter or even just clicking on the added vacation rentals tab.
When users have found one to their liking, they simply click book to complete a transaction through a travel partner page. All the property information and booking capabilities are provided and done by these travel partners.
What does this mean for other online booking sites?
The next question becomes whether Google expanding its functionality in the online hospitality space has the potential to affect other online booking sites and online travel agents (OTAs).
The answer, of course, is yes. The real discussion will likely centre around just how severely it will impact them, especially at a time when Google’s flight booking option is also taking off and making waves.
Google Hotels now offers all the functionality and tools of sites like Kayak, Expedia and Booking.com, plus it is integrated with Google Maps and other Google search result filters.
Google Hotels, experts say, is part of a larger effort by the company to get an increased share of vertical advertising, as well as to serve the consumer with what it believes is an improved mechanism for finding hotels.
What this all adds up to is an increasingly challenging online market for those in the hotel booking and distribution space.
Let’s take a look at a few other projects currently underway around the world:
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