Travel SEO: Google Tests Direct Hotel Booking
The goalposts of travel SEO could be moved again as Google begins testing of direct hotel bookings.
In the past, the search engine giant limited listings in hotel results to place listings, with large scale booking sites commanding the top spots due to their database capabilities.
What Does This Mean for Travel SEO?
There are two potential scenarios within this potential long term change.
In the first one, hotels could open the door to increased direct bookings by optimising company pages within Google and fully auditing the website mark ups to ensure Google will receive the right information needed to display bookings.
It is not yet known if Google takes a cut (effectively making itself a booking portal) or whether the move is purely designed to help users find a hotel in the destination they’re travelling to.
The latter would make perfect sense, as being able to book through Google is a natural expansion of a Places/Hotel page.
The second potential scenario created by Google’s potential move is the impact it has on booking portals as a whole, as it could force them to work harder in securing exclusive deals to push people to their website.
Although in its infancy, Google listing hotel results pages is likely to also create a paid search market for hotel promotion. Should the search engine decide against taking commission from bookings through the listings, it is likely to expand the Adwords and paid search market.