Google Places: Places & Hotel Booking Upgrades

Google Places Page Hotel Booking UpgradeGoogle continues to make upgrades to Places and Maps having recently announced a wider rollout of Google Business Photos. As noted last week there have been a number of changes/additions to Places pages themselves.

Adam Dorfman of SimPartners pointed out this additional visual upgrade to the Hotel booking feature. The new emphasis makes the feature more obvious by adding its own subheading, emphasizing the dates and bolding the price on a contrasting color.

Another change that occurred last week was that the photos, which had been much lower on the page, also are now appearing above the fold.

Google has often indicated that they will continue to change and move the content of the Places Page based on their perception of end user utility. If that is the decision criteria of how they reached the current layout the implications are not quite believable.

By that logic the review totals being duplicated above the fold implies that Google’s own reviews and fully formed review content are somehow less valuable than 3 party review totals. Google would also have to argue that users really want to do little more in Places than book a hotel.

It would seem that politics, business relations and income considerations more likely explanations for the new layout.

Google Places Hotel Booking Feature To Be Available to All …. Someday

In November of 2010, Google integrated a hotel booking feature into the Place Page of most hotels. This is a feature that Google started testing in March of 2010. The feature is currently only available to a limited number of partners but Google noted today (after several months of inquiries) in the Help Forums that it will, one day, be available to all:

Thanks for your questions everyone. What you’re seeing is a new feature that shows price and availability for hotels. We’re currently working with a number of partners to allow users to click through and begin the booking process. In addition, we’re working to expand these partnerships and exploring ways to allow individual hoteliers to easily share updated pricing / availability. In the interim, you can already add direct booking links in Google Places (see help article ). Thanks for your excitement about participating; we’re looking forward to opening this up to more partners.



From a small hotel’s point of view, this can happen none to soon. Often times the likes of Orbitz or Expedia can take 25% of their booking fees on a regular basis and upwards of 50% in a clearance situation. While the large hotel booking sites do not like the idea of “disintermediation”, the hotel chains and small hotels most definitely would.

At some point we can assume that Google is planning on making the Places Page a transactional environment for many industries. This is likely but the initial foray.

Google Places Hotel Booking Feature

Related posts:

  1. Google Places Upgrade: Reviews with Sentiments & Hotel Booking Tool
  2. Google Places (LBC) Feature- Allows Discreet Links in Additional Detail Fields
  3. What is The Real Reason that TripAdvisor Is Limiting Review Content To Places?