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Better Hotel Search, Direct Bookings, and Crowdsourcing on Google

This is a big week for hotel metasearch. In the last few days alone, we’ve spotted three really important experiments or updates that have the potential to cause big shifts in the hotel marketing world. Further, the velocity of these changes point to a Google Travel team that is serious about iteration. The quick evolutions and the growth we’re seeing really solidify Google’s position as a major player in the space.

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Driving Bookings with Amenities

We are always looking for the best ways to improve our clients’ metasearch performance. With a growing number of properties participating, it can be difficult to stand out. While price, reviews, location and convenience remain the most important considerations for travelers, a study recently conducted by TripAdvisor identified that 77% of consumer booking decisions are influenced by the available amenities. Amenities serve as a value add for customers. The more discerning travelers will not even consider a property if the right amenities are not available.

Think of it this way, participating in metasearch is a lot like competing on The Bachelor. One customer has the choice of dozens of beautiful properties vying for their attention. All of them hoping to earn that coveted rose (in this case booking) and save themselves from elimination. So how do you stand out? Is it by being the easiest or cheapest option? This will definitely earn you a lot of attention, but it doesn’t often lead to a long term relationship. Everyone knows that the winner will be the one that “gets” the bachelor on a deeper level and can satisfy all of their needs. So how can your hotel win the rose? Attractive amenities may be the answer.

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Google Adds New Filter to Hotel Search Results

It looks like Google is at it again, this time quietly releasing some exciting new hotel search features. If you haven’t noticed yet, Google’s local 3 pack got a bit of a face lift in the last few days. A new filter “More” has been introduced, which currently allows users to filter by “Zagat Rated” hotels.

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Limited Offers and Wallet in Google Hotel Ads

While examining Hotel Ads today using our favorite search query we spotted a new format for Limited Offers in Google Hotel Ads which allows the user to book using Google Wallet. This is the first time we’ve seen this combination of technologies used together, and the first time we’ve seen Google Wallet on desktop.

Images and a walkthrough of the entire experience after the hop…

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