Against recent prediction that it wouldn’t, Google is officially dipping its toes into the staycation sector with the combination of its hotel and vacation rental search product. The announcement was made at last week’s Marketing Live online event where it stated it was jumping at the chance to enter a sector while the lines between lodging segments blurred.
A Google spokesperson said:
“We’ve seen growing and sustained interest in vacation rentals since the start of the pandemic and have evolved our product accordingly to meet those user preferences. This launch is the first time that we’re showing results that combine both hotels and vacation rentals when a user is looking for a place to stay.”
Google claims that searches for criteria like ‘staycations’ and ‘beach rentals’ had skyrocketed over 100% globally over the last year. Allowing vacation rentals and hotels to be listed together in one comprehensive search result for a specific destination on Google’s Travel channel is a no-brainer.
The results are classified by the relevance to the searcher’s input criteria as well as current supply partners like TripAdvisor, Agoda, Sonder, Vacasa, Rentals United, and RedAwning.
What this means for competitors already established in the vacation rental sector, it could spell trouble. Though a good number have decided to partner with Google instead of opposing it, like TripAdvisor, it's unclear what other platforms like Booking.com and Airbnb will do. Will they join Google as well or will they stand their ground?
Airbnb saw stocks drop immediately after the Marketing Live event when Google announced this new goal to dive into the vacation rental segment but it hasn’t done much to deter the short-term rental aggregator, as its stocks stabilized a couple of days later.
Google isn’t making the decision a hard one. To help advertisers and searchers adapt more quickly to this new way to find vacation rentals and support hospitality and tourism sectors, Google is expanding its Hotel Ads feed data.
Now, search text ads across the globe will be connected to Hotel Ads to reach a larger audience. This means more relevant marketing campaigns done in this way will be more successful than prior attempts.