Little Hotelier Resource Hub

Handy business resources for small accommodation providers

Google Updates: Bye Bye Hotel Finder, Hello More Options for Small Hotels

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Google continues to shake up the hotel booking space by axing Hotel Finder, and adding more options to its Hotel Ads offering.

Here’s a breakdown for small hotels about the recent major updates.

1. Search replaces Hotel Finder

What happened?

Hotel Finder has been phased out! The homepage tells people to go to Google or Google Maps for their accommodation searches and instant bookings.

Why did it happen?

It’s easy to see why Google is simplifying the booking process by cutting out their Hotel Finder program.

Their search engine is already being used daily to search for accommodation, and it’s much more popular than Hotel Finder.

How does it work?

Now, search engine users can search for hotels on Google and Google Maps in over 100 countries, making a booking directly from the Google interface.

They can see prices, photos, reviews, and street view panoramas. More features around what amenities are available have also been added.

google small hotel news

Here’s a handy guide that Google has created for its users on how to search in the best way.

Read the ‘Book on Google’ information below for more on how this works for small hotels.

2. Hotel Ads offer a Commission option

What happened?

Hotel Ads has expanded their offering with their Commission Program option. This means that there are 2 kinds of Hotel Ads programs available.

Why did it happen?

In terms of Hotel Ads, the addition of their commission option is better for smaller hotels. Why?

  • You won’t have to compete on a cost per click (CPC) basis with the largest online travel agencies (OTAs); and,
  • You have the option to pay commission per actual reservation.

How does it work?

Hotels can choose to pay for ads via commission on actual reservations instead of just the CPC model. Currently there is no hint of what the commission rates are.

You’ll be able to test it out to see if it works for you and/or improve your performance through Google’s rich analytics features.

google hotel finder news

If you want to integrate with this program, you can do so through one of Google’s integration partners.

3. Book on Google expands to desktops and tablets

What happened?

‘Book on Google’ has been expanded from mobile-only to desktop and tablet (only in the US for now).

Why did it happen?

While ‘Book on Google’ was launched in 2013, it was previously only available on mobile only.

Expanding it to tablets and desktops benefits hotels because it opens a bigger market to hoteliers.

How does it work?

Consumers can search and book hotels without leaving Google, with Google facilitating the transaction.

Your hotel handles the customer service, and Google emails the confirmation to you or the OTA. This is great for small hotels because they get to ‘own’ the customer details fully (as opposed to what OTAs do).

It’s your responsibility to own the guest relationship – you send the confirmation email, answer post-booking questions, and handle changes to reservations or cancellations.

Also, more details on amenities will be added to listings for American hotels (it will be rolled out for 23 other nations in the next year).

Online distribution matures…

All of the moves being made in the space highlight just how fast the industry is moving with regards to online distribution.

Do you have the systems you need to scale?

Technology – especially channel managers, booking engines, and front desk systems – are playing an increasingly important role in your small hotel’s ability to get more online bookings.

Take a look at these demo videos to see what that looks like.

Or if you’d like to keep learning about online channels, download our free ebook:

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