Google tests single hotel deal placements in searchNews / OnlineBy Viewpoints | October 24, 2016Share This article was originally published on For a month now, Google has been experimenting with displaying centered content for a single hotel result, a new advertising placement popping up for points of sale worldwide.NB: This is a guest viewpoint from Nicholas Ward, CEO of Koddi.We’re seeing this new Deals placement for certain hotel queries on Google, now placed above the top ad slot. Clicking it brings you into the map results with the “Nearby Deal” preselected.From our observations, it appears that the Deals are nearby properties with similar ratings and amenities. The Nearby Deal refreshes after changing the Check in and Check out date.In the example shown here, the Holiday Inn Express Philadelphia NE – Langhorne is currently the top result for variations of the query “langhorne, pa hotels”, indicating that Google is using the same or similar signals to rank properties and to select which hotels to include in this experience.Again, to be clear: This is a test. So only some Google users will see it on some searches.The “Nearby Deal” doesn’t appear to need to be a Deal in the normal Google sense of being lower priced than normal. In the example below, the Koloa Landing Resort doesn’t appear to be at a rate any better than normal, but it is priced better than the Sheraton Kauai, is relevant as a high ranking hotel, and well rated. It is being suggested as an alternate to the Sheraton Kauai.So far we have been unable to replicate this experience on mobile devices.Implications for properties and advertisersSince this experience is showing on hotel-focused queries, there is an important cross sell implication to consider. Google has long shown a “People also searched for…” section at the bottom of the Knowledge Panel with links to different properties, but this Nearby Deal experience encourages a direct comparison for users when they may be fairly deep in the booking process.The experience does provide a value to users, which should help advertisers in the long run. A well informed user may convert higher since they are prequalifying further before clicking to the site.It may become more important in the future for advertisers to understand which properties are subject to these types of experiences, and which properties are recommended as Nearby Deals to maximize traffic volume.Google continues to do a variety of experiments, such as how we're seeing the Hotel Ads unit outside of the Knowledge Panel globally tested. Across domains for hotel specific searches, Google is also testing a new format that shifts the Hotel Ads unit from its usual home in the knowledge panel to the middle of the screen, sometimes even giving it preference over Text Ads:See details on that, here.Overall though the above example are only experiments -- but they are reminders that the state of play for hotel metasearch is in flux.NB: This is a guest viewpoint from Nicholas Ward, CEO of Koddi, a digital marketing agency specializing in meta search advertising for travel brands. A version of this post first appeared on the Koddi blog a month ago and has been shared here because the Google experiment continues and isn't a one-off.