Over the last decade, we’ve seen Google become a major player in the travel industry, and it took the next step last year in creating its own vacation rental and apartments business.
With the alternative accommodations sector becoming one of the fastest-growing segments in travel around the world, Google’s move is an assertion that has caused quite a stir.
According to an Expedia study, cited by MDG Advertising, 69% of travellers turn to a search engine when starting to think about a trip. This is excellent news for property owners and managers looking to advertise on Google, as it means that they can compete at the highest levels, right where millions of travellers type in their search queries and look for accommodation on the daily.
Google has successfully integrated vacation rentals into the Hotel Search function, with rental inventory coming up alongside hotels in Google Maps and Search results. Partnering with major OTAs, Google is also working with a handful of channel managers (including Rentals United) as trusted partners.
Presently, property managers (of which there are an estimated 115,000 worldwide) can only access guests directly via Google Search and Google Maps by working with one of the preferred Google software partners. This is excellent news for property managers using these technology solutions as it provides an opportunity to appear on Google as well as being in control of pricing and availability.
Having your vacation rental properties appear on Google is a fantastic way to diversify your distribution. This high-potential channel could earn you a significant increase in bookings and revenue. Remember, millions and millions of travellers search for accommodation on Google every day, and the number of searches with the intent of finding vacation rentals is continuously increasing!
The biggest benefit of distributing your vacation rentals on Google is undoubtedly the global reach that the search engine guarantees. Your rentals will be visible to millions of travellers or search on Google each day.
You’ll also be targeting a highly-qualified audience. People who search for accommodation on Google are doing so with the intent of planning, comparing and booking trips.
Another major plus is that you’ll be getting direct bookings with no commission fees: Google doesn’t charge you for sending travellers your way (at the moment).
You will also benefit from a huge boost to your brand recognition. Google Search is a new opportunity for promoting your independent vacation rental brand and tapping into new sources of traffic.
Last but not least, you’ll see your guest experience improve: you’ll be the owner of the guest relationship in its entirety, from processing payments to dealing with communication and more.
If you’re a vacation rental property manager looking to
you will benefit from connecting your properties to Google.
Here’s how you can make sure that travellers start seeing your properties when they search for accommodation on Google.
Rentals United is one of the few technology providers that Google has selected to work with, which means that by connecting your properties to Google through our platform, you’ll start seeing them appear in search results in no time.
Here are the four main steps to connecting your vacation rentals to Google:
1. Log into your Rentals United account and connect your properties to Google in just a few, easy steps. Follow our checklist with detailed instructions.
2. Once you activate the connection, Rentals United creates an ad for each of your listings. We send Google your availability and prices for 330 days (required by Google). Your ads go live within 2 days.
3. When a traveller clicks an ad, they are redirected to the Rentals United Book Direct page where they can complete the booking.
4. Charge the guest as specified in your own policy via your payment processor system of choice and manage guest relationships.
For more information, check out our Google partner page where you’ll learn how to expand your vacation rentals distribution to Google!
When travellers search for accommodation in Google Search and Maps, they are presented with a variety of hotels and, as of last year vacation rental options (these results are separate from paid ads and the websites that rank on the first page).
Google travel search functions as a search engine within a search engine: travellers can put in their destination and dates, and even set filters without having to leave the search results page. In the case of vacation rentals, listings are displayed from OTAs or provided by channel managers – a handful of Google’s trusted vacation rental technology partners, such as Rentals United.
Once the traveller picks a rental, they are redirected to the booking site or the website of the channel manager where the ad was pulled from, (in the case of Rentals United Book Direct page) where they can complete the booking process.
For Google, this is still in an experimental phase, there are still a few kinks that need to be straightened out on their side, but the future does look promising. A company spokeswoman said, “We hope to expand to more inventory, inventory types and partners soon”.
For more information about Google, check out our Google partner page or you can Book a demo with a Rentals United expert.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for accuracy, depth and comprehensiveness.