Until now, only a limited number of advertisers could show hotel pricing and availability in Google Maps, but now Google is expanding its pay-for-click hotel price advertising program.
In a Google Places support forum posting Feb. 4, Brianna, a Google employee, describes the expansion:
"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."
Trust International, the Frankfurt-based hotel CRS vendor, is one of Google's new partners in expanding the hotel price ad program in Google Maps.
Trust explains to its hotel clients that if they participate in the program, then their hotel pricing will be displayed next to organic search results in Google Maps when users search for hotels and enter their trip dates.
When users click on the price, they will see a list of advertisers and can click through to book on the online travel agency or hotel website.
For clients of Trust, which is a Google reseller of the hotel price ads, their availability and pricing will be generated by Trust's yourVoyager CRS solution.
The Google hotel price ad program currently is available in Google Maps for English language users, but there are plans to expand it into Google Places and other Google domains, says Nigel Russell, Trust's senior director of product management.
Trust explains that Google hotel price ads do not impact search ranking on Google Maps.
In the future, it is expected that users will be able "to sort and filter results on selected hotel attributes, including price," Trust says.
Russell says Google is expanding its partnerships with large players for hotel price ads to add hotels and because Google wants to obtain reliable pricing and availability information.
The expansion of hotel search and pricing in Google Maps has been much-anticipated and feared by competitors.
Now, it's happening.