Google Vacation Rental partners and the username conflict

January 14, 2020
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Travel booking sites like Airbnb, Holiday Letting and TripAdvisor actively use Google's vacation rental feature, though the feature lacks a particularly important quality that most review platforms offer— usernames.

If you read a guest review of an Airbnb-provided vacation rental listing on Google’s travel pages in Chicago, London, or Bangkok, all of the reviews seemingly come from what is labeled as an “Airbnb.com reviewer” instead of Hazel P. or Betty M., for instance.

That’s a sterile approach to user-generated content, but perhaps it is a strategic move. Why hand Google the more personalized experience with reviewers that guests might enjoy on Airbnb or TripAdvisor?

Scott Breon, Chief Analytics Officer and Head of Revenue at Vacasa said:

“Airbnb and TripAdvisor’s brands may be strong enough to outweigh the loss of user-generated content/trust signals. It could also be an A/B test by the vendor within the marketplace — not coordinated by Google.”

An Airbnb user review as seen on Google’s vacation rental pages.

In Google’s vacation rental pages, guest reviews are static review snippets. There’s no clicking around to get more information about the reviewer and their review history.

Contrast this approach with how Airbnb handles guest reviews on Airbnb.com. As shown on the screengrab from Airbnb.com, each guest review has a first name and the person’s photo, and users can click on “Irene’s” photo, for example, and read that she joined Airbnb in 2017, lives in Decatur, Georgia, and for context, Airbnb customers can read critiques of her from hosts in Sydney, Australia, and North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida in the United States.

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January 14, 2020

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