Google has added price comparison to rental searches [Credit: Google]

Google debuts price comparisons for vacation rental searches

Worldwide: Google is introducing price comparisons as part of its holiday / vacation rental search experience, building on its existing offering for hotels and flights.

From now on, travellers will be able to see multiple travel sites on which a property is listed and choose which site with which they want to book as they browse for vacation rentals on Google.

The new feature is scheduled to launch “in most parts of the world” by November, with more planned to follow in 2024 [countries in the European Union].

Google wants price comparison to help travellers save money, book with confidence and make travel planning easier, as well as drive more traffic to participating partner travel sites by increasing the number of impressions for each property and helping users make more informed decisions.

Properties listed on Google are also listed on online travel agency partners, metasearch sites and connectivity providers that are already integrated with the search engine platform as this enables them to share the latest pricing and booking links. However, neither Airbnb nor Vrbo are making their inventory available on Google, with the latter removing its properties from the search product two years ago due to a lack of “incremental investment” and minimal value in terms of customer experience.

A company spokesperson confirmed that the search results would be a free, organic link and that there would be no advertising fee for the property or commission paid to Google.

Google began adding listings of entire homes and apartments on its search platform in March 2019 and by the following summer, it had added a specific ‘holiday rentals’ tab to its Travel product, allowing users to search directly for such listings.

Two years ago, Google unveiled its combined hotel and vacation rental search product in a further acknowledgment of the blurring lines between the two lodging segments.

David Pavelko, global travel business development at Google, gave more details about the company’s plans for its vacation rental search product and the price comparison feature, revealing that:

  • 52 per cent of vacation rental bookers consider hotels before booking a vacation rental
  • 51 per cent of bookers gave “better value for money” as their top reason for choosing a vacation rental over a hotel
  • During the research and booking process, vacation rental bookers are most influenced by search engines [74 per cent] and online videos [59 per cent], followed by accommodation sites [48 per cent] and online travel agencies [47 per cent]
  • Only 15 per cent of travellers are already familiar with the vacation rental property they ultimately book; more often, they discover properties via a provider platform or browsing
  • 70 per cent of Google users who made places to stay queries are considering vacation rentals
  • 40 per cent of Google users who made regional hotels queries are considering vacation rentals
  • 42 per cent of US leisure travellers indicated that Google Search impacted their travel provider decision for their last trip

[Sources: Google / Kantar]

A Google integration is designed to make it easy to share up-to-date rates, availability, photos, descriptions and content so hosts and property managers can create “information-rich” listings and links to their own landing pages.

Meanwhile, holiday / vacation rental listings can appear alongside organic search results on Google. Travellers can discover listings by browsing relevant keywords in Google Search, exploring destinations in Google Maps, or filtering for rentals in Google Travel’s dedicated lodging search by price, property type, occupancy, amenities and guest rating.

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