Google Hotel Finder debuts in UK search results

We have discovered that Google have released Google Hotel Finder in the UK, allowing users to find hotel information using a form in the search page.

In late July last year Google released a trial product called Google Hotel Finder. Until today this product was geared towards the US market, so only available on Google's dot com version and was only accessible by searching "Google Hotel Finder" in Google.

Yesterday we found Google have quietly released the UK version and have immediately gone ahead and started testing their product in UK search engine results pages.

What we found…

On Thursday we found Google to be testing their hotel finder product in UK search engine results pages.

As seen below, Google Hotel Finder is located directly under pay per click ads and is labelled as a sponsored listing (visible top right hand corner of Google Hotel Finder listing).

Currently, Google Hotel Finder is not visible to all users. It appears Google are testing different data sets to see how users respond to the new layout.

Current layout:

  • Ad space
  • ~3 organic listings (mainly aggregator sites control this space)
  • 7 Google+ Local listings
  • 3 to 7 organic listings

Test layout:

  • Ad space
  • Google Hotel Finder
  • ~3 Organic listings
  • 7 Google+ Local listings
  • 3 to 7 Organic listings

As you can see the test layout adds another dimension to search results further pushing organic & Google+ Local results further down the page.

What it does…

When in Google, Hotel Finder information is limited. Users can find rates from a small number of aggregator sites such as Booking.com, Expedia.co.uk and unitravel.com. Users can also find hotel images, hotel address, reviews, link pointing to hotel page on brand website and a small description of the hotel. This description is taken from and can be edited in our Google+ Local accounts, formerly known as Google Places.

Can you feature in Google Hotel Finder?

Yes, hotels that feature in aggregator sites like Booking.com are already present in Google Hotel Finder. When a purchase is made through this channel the sale will be attributed to the aggregator the sale was made through. Additional data is pulled in from Google+ Local accounts.

What does that mean for you?

Our initial thoughts are Google Hotel Finder does not provide a good user experience as information is limited and certain aspects are not user friendly:

  • When trying to scroll down when curser is on map, map zooms in and out
  • More rates tab is very slow in displaying rates
  • Lacks detailed information about hotel
  • Interface feels cramped
  • Design is bland
  • Users may feel cheated when directed to aggregator sites

This may result in a portion of users clicking back to search engine results pages to find more information, via either brand websites or through the brand link visible on the Google Hotel Finder page.

Currently, organic search accounts for ~47% of all traffic. Worst case scenario is that marketers may see a small shift in the ratio of organic traffic vs. referral traffic. However, there is no hard evidence of the true impact this will have until Google permanently roll out their product in Google UK.

How to find Google Hotel Finder

Google is currently testing Hotel Finder via different data basis so there is no easy way to find the UK version in search results. You can try and search Google for "hotels + location" keywords and you may trigger results. If your searches do not trigger search results with Google Hotel Finder included you can navigate by clicking the link below.

http://www.google.co.uk/hotelfinder/

Information on Google Hotel Finder is limited, however, Google have created the page below to provide users with information on their product.

https://support.google.com/hotelfinder?hl=en#2626184

In the mean time if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch!