Google announces combined hotel/rental search product

Worldwide: Google announced a combined hotel and vacation rental search product at its online Marketing Live event last week, in further acknowledgment of the blurred lines between the two accommodation segments.

With the search engine revealing that searches for ‘beach rentals’ and ‘staycations’ have increased by more than 100% globally in the past 12 months, vacation rentals and hotels can now be listed together in one full search result for a specific destination on Google travel product.

Launched in March 2019, Google’s “vacation rentals” filter will remain in place for users looking to filter hotel results looking for other forms of short-term accommodation. This was revealed last summer when a “vacation rentals” tab has been added to the Travel product, allowing users to search these listings directly.

A Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement: “We have seen growing and sustained interest in vacation rentals since the start of the pandemic and have evolved our product accordingly to meet these preferences. users. This launch is the first time we’ve shown results combining both hotels and vacation rentals when a user searches for a place to stay.

The option is seen as an ideal opportunity to increase awareness in the vacation rental segment, particularly for property owners with individual listings or smaller portfolios, but at the same time it could increase competition for listings hotels on the same search results page.

Google said its results are ranked by relevance to the searcher’s query, and current known supply partners include TripAdvisor, Agoda, Sonder, Vacasa, Rentals United and RedAwning.

While TripAdvisor is involved in finding vacation rentals, it’s unclear if its online travel agency competitors such as Booking.com and Airbnb will do the same, although the latter already claims to show more than six million “alternative accommodation” advertisements.

Meanwhile, Vrbo listings previously appeared on the search engine until February this year, when CEO Peter Kern pulled the company, citing “a lot of direct traffic”, a lack of “additional investment” and a “not particularly valuable customer experience”.

To help advertisers and internet users adapt to the “new normal” and help travel and hospitality businesses meet pending travel demand, Google is also expanding Hotel Ads feed data so that they’re appearing in search text ad extensions globally over the next few weeks to make campaigns more relevant and useful, and updating its commission-per-stay program to help advertisers more easily manage their cancellations . New commission features include a per-booking report in Google Ads to help advertisers reconcile, support for bid adjustment for commission [per stay] campaigns, as well as credit card billing and support for additional currencies.

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