What does it mean and why does it matter?
Google Hotel Finder entered the internet travel marketplace in July of 2011 as an “experiment,” the same way Google tends to soft-launch most new products or acquisitions. The recent removal of the word “experiment” has been much anticipated, especially by hoteliers cautiously speculating about whether or not Hotel Finder would evolve into a final product for Google.
“We had no doubt Google was eventually going to take the word experiment off, it was just a matter of when,” says Craig Wingate, CEO of Woodcrick Ventures. “We are committed to listing the hotels’ own price and inventory on Google’s Hotel Finder to effectively compete with OTA’s and drive more direct business to their hotel’s website.” Wingate says, “The product we offer has been well received by hoteliers. I’d say in most of the conversations we’ve had with hoteliers and hotel groups, they have asked the question…when can we get started?”
Woodcrick’s product allows individual hotels the ability to push their real-time rates and inventory through the Seekda platform to Google Hotel Finder utilizing Google’s new Hotel Price Ads product previously only available to large OTA’s. “The only negative we had heard thus far, is that hoteliers have been skeptical of whether Google would abandon the Hotel Finder product before the experiment was finished.”
Hoteliers can breathe easier now that the word “experiment” is off. Surprisingly, there has been no formal announcement by Google that this has even happened…yet. Recent moves have been made by Google to further signify their commitment to the tourism industry. These moves include the purchase of Zagat and Frommers, which considerably bolster Google’s own reviews & content and are less reliant on 3rd party sources. Enhancements to the Google Hotel Finder product in the past few months have included very useful tools, such as a cleaner user interface, and perhaps most significant, a larger more pronounced “ad” to funnel Google users into the new Google.com/hotels product.
Old Google Hotel Finder version of Ad:
New Google Hotels Ad in Google Search:
While in the experimental stage, we believe Google has only scratched the surface with regards to the traffic this monolith will be able to ultimately generate. We believe a significant portion of this traffic can be driven to a hotel’s direct website when participating on Google’s Hotel Price Ads. Studies show, when users are given the choice of booking with an OTA or directly with a hotel, when all (including price) is equal; the click is more likely to go to the hotel’s direct website. Woodcrick looks forward to offering hotels significant savings on fee’s they’d normally pay to OTA’s for this same Google derived business.
If your hotel or ownership group would like to see how much you can save on a monthly basis by participating in Google’s Hotel Price Ads product, contact a Woodcrick Representative today for a free quote or demo.