Hotel Local Finder – Ain’t Nuttin’ but Ads

I reported earlier in the day that Google seemed to be rolling out a new Tag like attribute for the free hotel listings in the Local Pack. During the past week, as noted by Brian Barwig and Michael Wallace, Google has also been adding paid ads to the top of the Local Finder. Together they are quite the dynamic duo.

When you click into the Local Finder from the search, all too often now all you see above the fold are paid listings of one form or another. And unfortunately the Offers, while highly visible, are not at all marked as paid calls to action.



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Hotel Local Finder - Ain't Nuttin' but Ads by

3 thoughts on “Hotel Local Finder – Ain’t Nuttin’ but Ads”

  1. Mike: As I read the title of this post I get the feeling that either:
    A) You don’t necessarily like the google results as they are overwhelmingly a function of paid advertising and paid features; or alternatively
    B) you are simply reporting on the state of Local Search as it applies to the hotel industry, wherein it is virtually entirely a “pay to play” process, wherein if one pays google one gets visibility in search results.

    I replicated the same search. When I stayed on the google home page the first several organic results were all booking sites. Then a link to a marriott url. When I went to the “local finder” the booking deals had prices “shouting at me”. There was also a “link to the hotel” website. No visible price info.

    If one uses one of the booking processes in the local finder box, google makes money. If one hits one of the ads, google makes money.

    If one wants to avoid paying the middle men…and possibly save some money or establish a direct relationship with the hotel wherein you can secure the discounts direct….its simply not that easy or visible.

    Its google’s world. Would you consider this the result of a monopoly in search???

    1. Clearly Google is monetizing every last square inch of white space in the hotel space. It’s in many way a watershed moment for local. Whether it portends a future for all smbs or just hotels we don’t know. Google has a long history of attempting to monetization of the hotel local listings more than any other vertical.

      As to whether I like it or not is largely irrelevant. I am saddened that the free marketing opportunities for SMBs are fewer but that trend has been happening for years now. And that is even more true for Facebook than for Google.

  2. Mike: I did a comparison of ad impressions for keywords for 2 accts, starting on 4/24 and through yesterday; 12 days. Compared impressions to the most immediate 12 days before and 1 year ago.

    Can’t really come to concrete perspectives. I’m curious as to how many more impressions will occur via ads on the local finder showing up. Another way to get perspective is JUST HOW MUCH DO VISITORS TURN TO THE LOCAL FINDER??

    Nobody knows except for Google. And with that I suspect topic by topic and region by region its different.

    Having noticed that our small sample showed slightly different results: About 4-5% more impressions than the 12 days immediately preceding the change and about 8% less impressions from the same days 1 year ago.

    Looking at individual keywords showed significant disparity from phrase to phrase.

    Not enough data to make a conclusion. I don’t know how often users turn to the local finder. Suffice it to say..when they do turn to the local finder…there will be ads for many categories and those ads will sit above organic results.

    Okay: I adjust my conclusion: Win for Google 😀

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