Millions of travellers use search engines like Google to find and book accommodation every day. And, the number of searches with the intent of finding vacation homes is continuously increasing.
To respond to this demand, Google has integrated vacation rentals into its travel search function.
Vacation rental listings from select OTAs and a handful of Google’s technology partners – like the Rentals United channel manager – now appear directly in search results, giving property managers the opportunity to tap into a vast pool of potential customers.
The benefits of listing your vacation rentals on Google include:
If you’re ready to diversify your vacation rental marketing and distribution, expand your visibility, compete on the highest levels alongside hotels and grow your property management company, here’s everything you need to know about Google vacation rental search.
Google vacation rental listings are different from organic search results (unpaid search results ranked by Google’s algorithm) and Google Ads (paid advertisements that appear in Google). And while they may look similar, they’re also different from Google Maps and Google My Business results. So what are they and how do they work?
Google Vacation Rentals are part of the search engine’s efforts to improve the search experience and make it easier to plan and book trips through Google. In 2011, the company introduced Google Hotel Ads, which display the availability and rates of hotel rooms directly in search results. Their next travel product was Google Flights, which works similarly, facilitating the purchase of airline tickets.
And, as of 2019, vacation rental listings also appear in Google search results, making it easy for travellers to find and book alternative accommodation. Short-term rental listings are pulled from select listing sites or provided by Google’s trusted vacation rental technology partners, such as the Rentals United channel manager (more on that later).
When travellers type a query such as “vacation rentals in Barcelona” into the Google search bar, this is what they see:
On the left is a list of individual vacation rental properties with their respective information (number of bedrooms, number of guests, and pricing). On the right is a clickable map displaying the nightly rates of rentals throughout the city.
Once they see these results, travellers can refine their search by entering the dates and number of guests. Or, they can click on the “View all rentals” button to see more options. Then, they are taken to a Google Travel Search page that functions as a meta-search (a search engine within a search engine).
It looks something like this:
Here, travellers can refine their search even more (without leaving the Google interface) by adjusting the price range and using filters such as rating and amenities. They can also sort the results by best match, lowest price or highest rating.
When travellers click the ‘Learn more’ button next to a listing, they are taken to the rental’s Google listing page, where they can browse photos, read reviews and find out more details.
If they want to book the rental, travellers need to click on the nightly price displayed in blue or the ‘Visit site’ button. Then, they’ll be redirected to the website where they can finalise the booking.
Now that you know what the search and booking process looks like for travellers, let’s take a look at how vacation rental listings appear on Google in the first place.
Google sources its vacation rental listings from a select number of online travel agencies including Airbnb, Vrbo and Tripadvisor.
In addition, Google also works with a handful of trusted technology partners – such as the Rentals United channel manager – to provide vacation rental listings.
Currently, the only way to push your vacation rental listings to Google is to work with a Google-approved software partner.
Rentals United is one of the few vacation rental channel managers that Google has chosen to work with. This means that by connecting your properties to Google through our platform, you’ll start seeing them appear in search results in no time.
Thanks to our latest Google connection update, vacation rental managers with 200+ rentals can now send traffic from Google directly to their website (we expect this minimum to gradually decrease in the coming months).
With this solution, your potential guests will get to know your business and get acquainted with your brand. Your logo will appear in Google Vacation Rental search results, as well as the Google listing details page.
When a potential guest clicks the ‘Visit site’ button, they will be redirected to the property page on your website, where they will be able to complete the booking process or get in touch with your team.
Since the traffic goes directly to your website, you’ll be able to use acquisition strategies to help you get more bookings, including presenting similar listings, newsletter signups and remarketing. With the Rentals United connection, the traffic from Google comes at no additional cost per click.
Property managers with less than 200 rentals can accept direct bookings via the Rentals United Book Direct pages.
For more information about getting listed on Google, check out our Google partner page.
Are you ready to build a tech-based distribution strategy? Discover how our enterprise-level Channel Manager can get you more bookings.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for accuracy, depth and comprehensiveness.