Recently, Internet Marketers and more importantly, proprietors of hotels took note of Google’s reduction in Map pack listings.
In the past, most search engine listings included 7 localized search results:
This style of result has been removed, replaced with a new reservation driven result pack of only 3 listings:
Usually Google tinkers and optimizes their listings, making slight variations along the way. The current three pack model appears to be here to stay.
It’s always debatable as to why Google has made a change, but one is safe to assume that revenue is a key driver in change.
The current three hotel listing model places a large emphasis on rates and bookings–bookings taking place directly through Hotel Placement Ads (HPA).
Clicking on a search result, on desktop, takes visitors to a booking page. Bookings can take place directly via Google, or via Ads to hotel corporate sites (such as Sheraton.com) or third-party OTA channels.
Google will make a commission on any of the above models, whether it be a straight OTA like commission or on a CPC basis.
Additional Fees for hotels
The current Google Map pack is great for Google and a burden for hotels, as previous direct bookings via franchise or corporate websites will now feature the added cost of a commission or CPC payment.
Silver Lining: Reservations Staff
An interested variation on this search result can be found via Mobile. Notice how the top section now includes a click through link to call the hotel, as well as the companies website.
The website link should take care of itself, and falls outside the scope of this article. Since everyone that sees this result is on a mobile phone device (as tablet results are different), there will be an increased number of calls to your reservations department.
Reservations and Marketing Coordination
Due to this link placement, reservation staff may now be additional research phase questions typically found on a hotels website, such as what there is to do near the hotel, where to eat and various questions that were previously answered with a well thought out website.
To a point, previous website and content marketing efforts will have to shared and coordinated with phone reservations staff, in hotels big or small
Sharing this information, as well as website links and pushing these additional research phase callers into controllable marketing funnels such as an email database is key and should become standard training for the time being.
While this isn’t the most desired solution, it is a short-term way to maximize and optimize a hotels placement in new Google Map packs.