We know you’re Googling your property from time to time to see how it’s performing on the search engine giant and if in the past few weeks you’ve been noticing that you’re slipping from Google’s Local 3-Pack, you’re not alone.
Google, whether you like it or not, likes to make a lot of changes or tweaks to its results pages and some recent changes have really affected the hospitality industry. Google’s already announced an update to its mobile-friendly algorithm and dropped right-side PPC ads the month before that but now seems to be focusing on Google Local right now.
Google recently added Google Maps to its search network so your ads may appear on maps results, ads with location extensions that is, so ads are now showing up when a Google user is looking at maps for hotels.
Another little add-on Google’s using in ads is including offers or showing special pricing. The search engine hasn’t explained outright how it’s attributing offer tags, but from what we can glean is that it’s pulling in the rate plans off OTAs and could be finding the cheapest rate there or if it sees a discrepancy in rates across sites. For example, if Expedia has a rate of $190 per night and Booking.com shows $140 per night, Google is going to show that Booking.com is an offer as it’s the lower rate.
3-Pack & OTAs
Another new change is Google’s determination of if you land in the coveted 3-pack. Some have pointed toward OTA availability as this new change, as in if you don’t have availability for the search period you won’t show up in this pack. A good hunch is that this information is coming from Google Hotel Finder, a meta search marketing platform that’s similar to TripAdvisor’s TripConnect. We’ll continue research on our end but so far the signs are pointing that Google is showcasing properties that have availability on OTAs in the near future in the 3-pack. You could be advertising on these OTAs but if you don’t have any availability, you probably won’t show up in this pack.
A new update to be aware of on the Google front is the recent findings by Mike Blumenthal on how Google selects the photo of your property that shows up in search. Google says that business owners still have control over what images appear in search by denoting preference to that particular photo but from Blumenthal’s research it shows that Google is in control of photo is shown to searchers. Blumenthal also found that Google prefers showing interior images instead of showing logos or exterior shots. You can see it in the 3-pack screenshot above. While it’s a very small issue it’s still interesting to see some of the tweaks Google continues to make to its business listings and search results.