How "Destinations on Google" is Changing the Search Landscape
On March 8th, Google launched Destinations on Google, a new way for users to easily search and book a trip from their mobile devices. Utilizing data from both Google Flights and Google Hotel Ads, users will be able to see travel dates, popular locations, prices, weather and more for a specific destination without having to navigate through multiple websites. This new feature is in response to the increase in travel-related questions that Google has received via search queries on mobile over the past year.
When a user searches a specific state, country or continent along with the word "destination" or "vacation," Google will then display a collection of destination options within that general location. Each of the destination options includes a short description of the location, travel dates and pricing for both flight and hotel. Users are also able to filter the results by "Interests," "Dates," and "Price."
Once the user clicks through to one of the destinations, they are then given additional information about that location, including "Suggested Itineraries," "Top Sights," "When to Visit" and more.
Once users decide on a location to visit, they can then "Plan a Trip," where flight and hotel pricing are available for comparison. At the bottom of the page, users are shown three hotels in a "Carousel" format, with the option to view additional hotels on Google. Google has not released how these results are selected; however, based on similar SERPs, it is most likely based on location, relevancy, customer reviews and filters (stay dates and hotel class).
While this feature is currently only available on mobile, we have observed similar layouts of the new hotel search experience on desktops as well.
This new user experience is more geared towards high-funnel activity - users dreaming about where they want to go and exploring a destination but not necessarily ready to commit to a destination or specific hotel. It will still be important to maintain an optimized Google My Business page since that is one factor in determining what hotels are pulled in and ultimately where the booking process is initiated. Participating in Google HPA and maintaining competitive rates with ample availability will also be important, as they are prominent features of the "Plan a Trip" section.
To make sure your hotel is maximizing conversions and has the best search engine optimization strategy in place, contact a Sabre account manager today.