Google Shuts Down Hotel Finder, Adds More To Hotel Ads

Chris CrumAdvertising, Search

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Google announced broader availability of its Hotel Ads Commission program, an expansion of its Book on Google feature and the addition of more information about hotel locations within Google search. As it adds all of this, it's actually shutting down its dedicated Hotel Finder site so users will just have to use Google search itself to find what they're looking for (which most were probably already doing to begin with).

The changes follow an announcement Google made earlier this year about including more information like rates, availability, locations, user reviews, editorial descriptions, Google Street View, and high-res photos for hotel results.

The Hotel Ads Commission Program began testing earlier this year with a small group of independent hotels, which are charged on the "industry-standard commission basis," as opposed to cost-per-click. Google has partnered with hotel technology solutions providers to enable more hotels to participate. Google is working with DerbySoft, Fastbooking, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Seekda, TravelClick, and Trust International. It will add more technology provides in time.

"In 2013, we launched Book on Google on mobile devices to make it easier for users to book hotel rooms directly from their phone. Now, we’re expanding the availability of Book on Google, bringing it to desktop and tablet devices and making it easier for more hotels to participate," says Google Senior Program Manager, Travel Tom Mulders. "With Book on Google, Google facilitates the booking payment transaction. The hotel partner owns the guest relationship, including sending the confirmation email, answering post-booking questions, and handling changes to the reservation or cancellations."

The feature is available for all Hotel Ads partners. It's only available in the U.S. for now.

Finally, Google is adding new information about hotel amenities for U.S. locations, though the info will be added to 24 more countries throughout the next year. You'll be able to see if a location has free WiFi and/or breakfast, what the parking availability is like, if it has a pool or a business center, etc. in the search results.

"We’re focused on helping travelers find information and choices about hotels, while making it easier for them to select and book the hotel that’s right for them," says Mulders. "We’re also committed to helping partners connect with travelers when they are ready to book, across devices and Google platforms. We hope the changes announced today will make planning that next trip an even easier click away."

The Hotel Finder site will be shut down by the end of the week.

Image via Google

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.