It has finally happened. Google have moved their ‘Hotel Finder’, previously only found at www.google.ie/hotels into the search engine results page (SERP) in what will prove to be yet another headache for hotels.
It had been long anticipated that Google would start to move more proactively into this space, and since their announcement of a Hotel Finder in July 2011, it has simply been a matter of when, and not if, the product would be moved into the SERPs. This move will increase Google’s user base and it’s potential as a hotel booking originator significantly.
Below is a screenshot of a search for ‘Dublin Hotels’ – Click image to view larger format:
So what this basically means is that any organic search engine traffic now appears well below the fold, meaning you have to pay a premium to appear in the top place results…a premium that is absolutely unsustainable for any hotel aiming to pursue premium keywords.
In a nutshell, Google has figured out a way to generate incremental revenues from the search engine results real estate it provided for free in the past, such as Google Places, Google Maps, etc.