Google Launches Updated Mobile UX

Google Launches Update to Mobile UX on Hotel Ads

As of this morning, we are seeing multiple new additions to the Google Hotel Ads mobile user experience. Most notably, we noticed a widespread implementation of the room booking module, a price trend overview, other locations, and a question/answer portion. As with all Google experiments, it will be interesting to see how pervasive this is.

The room booking module could drive a small degree of traffic away from the conventional metasearch placements. The price trends overview could provide a lot of important information for leisure travelers who can easily adjust their check in/out date. The “other locations” portion could be incredibly valuable for hotels that have high brand loyalty or great loyalty rewards. The questions and answers portion is a great tool for upper funnel consumers that are still in the early stages of their trip planning. Let’s look at these additions in more detail:

Room Booking Module

The room booking module is Google’s next step in creating a “one-stop shop” for travelers. Consumers are now able to easily search for hotels and book directly on the Google site. This has great implications for advertisers who may not have a perfect mobile site experience. This module is more built out than the previous iteration (Book on Google) with room images, pricing, and a clear indication of amenities. Currently, we are only seeing online travel agencies participating in this module, but we expect hotel suppliers to join them soon.

It is difficult to speculate the impact this may have on your campaign, but if you are an advertiser that has a heavy mobile focus, you could anticipate slight reductions in booking volume.

Google's Room Booking Module for Hotels

Price Trends Overview

The price trends tool is an interesting addition to the mobile user experience. This tool allows you to view future prices (our tests let us see prices as far out as the end of February, so it appears to show about 90 days in the future) for the specific hotel you are looking at. This tool could provide crucial information for users who are still in the planning stage of their trip. A leisure traveler who knows they are interested in visiting an area at some point in the next few months could utilize this tool to determine when prices fall most in line with their desired budget.

The impact from this should be small but it could lead to some potential improvements for your conversion rate. By allowing users to see future prices, it could help create more qualified leads going to your site. Monitoring your mobile conversion rate will be incredibly important for the next few months. Leveraging third parties like Koddi that allow you to see the most granular view of your data could be the difference between getting ahead of these changes and falling behind them.

Google Hotels Price Trends

Other Locations

Potentially the most interesting new user experience that we saw on Google this morning was the nearby “brand” hotels. In our tests, searching for Sheraton showed only other Sheraton hotels (without showing other Starwood properties). Google has also provided a “view all” option, giving users an overview of all nearby properties for this brand.

Other Locations for Hotel Brand

Clicking on any of the hotels in this view will bring the user to the mobile meta placement.

The impact of this would be a potential reduction in the “halo” bookings that you receive. The ability to see only other nearby hotels of the same brand should reduce the occurrence of users booking a hotel outside of the brand they initially clicked. This impact could be small, but as long as you have a detailed view of your data it should be measurable. Monitoring your mobile halo bookings over the course of the next few weeks will be very important to ensure your campaign is functioning within your goals.

Questions and Answers

Google has now included a questions and answers portion to their metasearch advertisements. These questions cover topics like parking, nearby restaurants and whether holidays (such as Thanksgiving) affect their operating hours, where to find turkey, and many others. Responses appear to be provided primarily by community members, but the hotel would be able to answer these questions as well.

This is another small change that could have some impact on the conversion rate of properties, with the potential to drive more qualified leads to the advertiser’s website.

Questions & Answers on Google Hotels

Google is constantly experimenting and monitoring the performance of these changes, all of which seem to be aimed at creating more qualified and informed leads for their mobile users. Mobile users have historically converted at a lower level than their desktop counterparts, and it’s encouraging to see Google taking action to help improve these conversion rates. With mobile growing faster than any other segment, it will be an important area of focus over the next twelve months. Having the insights to leverage this information will help advertisers succeed on mobile in 2018.

Google Launches Update to Mobile UX on Hotel Ads