Google has finally activated its Hotel Finder product on a global scale, including support for local currencies. In addition, US, UK, India and New Zealand are the first countries that receive full Hotel Finder integration into regular Google search engine result pages - a move many hotel marketers were anxiously waiting for.
By Markus Busch
The company makes its Google Hotel Finder now available on all global Google domains via the URL '/hotels.' In addition, most local versions (not all yet) show hotel rate information in the local currency.
What's more, in the US, UK, India, and New Zealand, a Google Hotel Finder search box is now prominently featured on all search engine result pages (SERPs) for destination hotel searches.
The fact, that Google New Zealand already integrates Google Hotel Finder into its SERPs - but Australia not - could be an indication, that Google is rolling out SERP integration to all its local domains as we write this.
A move, every hotel marketer was waiting for, that Google Hotel Finder finds its way into Google's regular search engine result pages, thereby increasing its user base and potential as hotel booking originator significantly.
Google Hotel Finder also introduced some new features, like a 'Rooms' tab, which now provides the consumer with the complete room type information of a hotel including rates (originally, that information was based on the least expensive double room the hotel had available).
As for Google 'Hotel Price Ads' and 'Promoted Hotel Ads,' nothing seems to have changed since we last reported on the topic (read "More on Google Promoted Hotel Ads"). Google Hotel Finder still shows four Hotel Price Ads per hotel - including one prominently featured as the 'Promoted Hotel Ad' - as well as the official link to the hotel website.
However, the extent to how hotels will benefit commercially from Google Hotel Finder is still largely unclear - especially when you find your hotels four Hotel Price Ads occupied by major OTAs, and you know for certain, that your CRS provider feeds Google with Hotel Price Ads directly.
But now that Google Hotel Finder is an official Google product, it will most likely not take long, until we finally receive some official signals from Google like "Google Hotel Price Ads: The official guide for hotel marketers."
Only then, will we know for certain, if Google Hotel Finder is living up to its heavily hyped and hoped for expectations as a level playing field for independent hotels, hotel chains and hotel aggregators when it comes to where the customer eventually books hotels.
Related Links: Google Hotel Finder, Google SERP for "hotels new york"
Markus Busch is Editor/Publisher of Hotelmarketing.com and can be reached at editor'at'hotelmarketing.com.