Google is letting hotels and travel companies around the world appear in hotel booking links on google.com/travel for free. This change will give travelers an additional way of comparing lodging options and availability when they plan their trips. Google is already thinking about the future, expecting the return of international sooner rather than later.
When travel does resume in earnest, it’s crucial that people can find the information they’re looking for and easily connect with travel companies onlineRichard Holden, VP of Product Management for Google’s Travel efforts.
According to tech news outlet The Crunch, the adoption of free listings is part of a larger effort underway at Google to shift many of its destinations that were previously powered by paid ads to become free listings. The shift is meant to strategically counteract the growing threat from Amazon in e-commerce. Google’s core ad business has been shaken as Amazon is now often the first place many users go to search for products, bypassing Google entirely.
In the past, hotel booking links were presented on Google through paid Hotel Ads. Users would see the real-time pricing and availability for specific travel dates. With the listings now becoming free, travelers will be able so see a broader set of options. This could help Google compete with an array of travel booking apps and services, which are also expected to grow in months to come, especially as the world adjusts to the new reality.
With the change, Google argues that it will be able to pull in more brands to its e-commerce platform, increasing competition. As a result, chances are the market will become more crowded, and eventually some brands will turn to ads in order to increase their visibility. Another aspect the search engine giant is betting on is on the idea that the addition of the free listings will generate increased booking traffic and user engagement on its platform. That could broaden the reach of advertisers’ Hotel Ads campaigns.
The travel business is one particular area where Google wants to grow. Around the world, many people are eager to get away wherever they can. After a year of travel restrictions, market experts are factoring in a large number of people ready to pack their suitcases as soon as it’s possible.
Google expects that the shift to free listing will bring potential new advertisers into the picture, and that the whole process will be made even easier for everyone. This change could eventually reduce the complexity of the tools the company currently uses to deploy the hotel listings.