Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
Google Places Hotel Booking Feature To Be Available to All …. Someday
In November of 2010, Google integrated a hotel booking feature into the Place Page of most hotels. This is a feature that Google started testing in March of 2010. The feature is currently only available to a limited number of partners but Google noted today (after several months of inquiries) in the Help Forums that it will, one day, be available to all:
Thanks for your questions everyone. What you’re seeing is a new feature that shows price and availability for hotels. We’re currently working with a number of partners to allow users to click through and begin the booking process. In addition, we’re working to expand these partnerships and exploring ways to allow individual hoteliers to easily share updated pricing / availability. In the interim, you can already add direct booking links in Google Places (see help article ). Thanks for your excitement about participating; we’re looking forward to opening this up to more partners.
From a small hotel’s point of view, this can happen none to soon. Often times the likes of Orbitz or Expedia can take 25% of their booking fees on a regular basis and upwards of 50% in a clearance situation. While the large hotel booking sites do not like the idea of “disintermediation”, the hotel chains and small hotels most definitely would. Upon reflection, Google could step into this market, take 10% and be perceived as a hero.
At some point we can assume that Google is planning on making the Places Page a transactional environment for many industries. This is likely but the initial foray.
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Great news mike – I have one small hotel client who would love to be able to have inexpensive online booking on the Places page.
Google needs to figure out what they really want to be. Are they a search engine? Are they a social network mashup of Yelp and Facebook? Are they a Foursquare or Opentable reservation system? Desperation comes in many forms and it seems that upper management within Google recognizes that they are a one trick pony right now. Judging by the changes and product launches the middle managers are desperately seeking to prove some additional worth to the firm. In the end they will fail at all this; I cite Yahoo and IAC Interactive as examples. The management and measurement systems inherent within a publicly traded company will not allow them to continue to be extraordinarily successful and profitable at the same time. Their lack of focus on a core product and continuing attempts to throw crap at a wall and see what sticks is damaging their core value proposition.
Well, if TripAdvisor wasn’t angry before…
This is a major shakedown for the online travel industry. This almost begs the question: How many pies is too many? Google seems to have a hand in everything these days and they have yet to really slip up. I do wonder when their over-expansion will end up biting them in the rear.
It’s an interesting development, Mike, but I somehow just can’t imagine myself trusting this enough to use it. What if there is a bug, a problem or something else and I arrive at my hotel with no reservation, thanks to another wonky Local-related Google product?
It is not clear when someday will be….
Oh google has figured it out… they are a capitalist. Monetization of their properties are continuing at a fast pace. This is just one check off in that pursuit.
Yes this and the ITA purchase are making TA uneasy. In one sense you may be right about too many pies… on the other, one thing that Google can bring to bear in their competitive battle is the ability to invest in rapid technological change. While they are focusing too much on new features and not fixing the old one for my taste, they are rolling out new technology at a pace that few competitors can keep up with… a huge advantage in their gaining and maintaining the upper hand….
This is really just a variation on adwords…. they are essentially selling the space for a link to a booking service (and prefilling in some of the details).
Hotels are desperate for an alternative to the monster of booking sites…. which consume too significant a portion of their top line profits. You can see this battle more clearly playing out in the airline industry right now where the air carriers are taking the JetBlue route and telling the Expedias/Orbitzes of the world to take a hike.
Currently this feature favors booking sites but it is not too hard to imagine that it could be used to disintermediate them as well.
Great Post! It will be interesting to watch this new feature unfold in the hotel booking world. If it works, I wonder what industries & verticals will be next on Googles list…
“This almost begs the question: How many pies is too many? Google seems to have a hand in everything these days and they have yet to really slip up.”
You say like it is something bad. The more areas you touch, the more stable your company is. And by the way, I can’t say Google owns too many companies (especially comparing to Microsoft).
Google is the leader in search engine area, that is true, but their impact beyond the boundaries of the search engines area isn’t big.
That is what I think.
I have a question:
My site is catalogue of hotels, and
google there will be no against at me on a site many different hotels?
[…] has had a limited number of travel sites and a few high end independent hotels. Google has not been forthcoming about how to participate in the program noting that the program would be available to all […]
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Nice Post. I’m planning to put up a bidding site and Hotel Accommodation Reservation online and I need this google places hotel booking 🙂
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