Google adds free hotel booking links in Search, Maps
Google is offering free hotel booking links on Search and Maps, an extension of the program launched in 2021, a blog post noted Tuesday, March 29.
The travel industry is coming back from the pandemic downtime, so Google has made sure hotels can connect with those who are ready to travel. Last year, Google started offering free listings in Google Hotel Search.
The report notes that searches for “spring break” have almost reached pre-pandemic levels.
Google’s new update gives users more options: they click on a link and can then complete their booking on the hotel or travel partners’ website.
Google’s change will begin in April, and individual hotels will be able to manually enter rates and availability through their Google Business Profile. One of the benefits of this will include the ability to highlight the unique offerings they have available, including pandemic hotel policy changes, special features and property images.
The report says that since the introduction of free hotel booking links, travel and hotel partners have seen more user engagement.
For example, one booking engine, myhotelshop, saw a 30% increase in bookings over the summer of 2021, according to the report.
PYMNTS wrote that the pandemic didn’t seem to have much of an impact on Americans’ winter travel plans.
See also: COVID-19 didn’t get in the way of Americans’ travel plans in January
The study indicates that customers spent an average of $381 in December, then $507 in January. In total, customers spent $23.4 billion on travel purchases in January this year.
This is despite the threat of the omicron coronavirus variant, as customers apparently didn’t wait for it to go away before making their plans.
Seventy-nine percent of consumers who purchased travel in January did so online, a much higher amount than for retail, food or groceries.
And digital wallets have become a much more popular way to pay for travel, the report notes.