Google Offers Free Hotel Booking Links in Search and Maps

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Google is offering free hotel booking links on Search and Maps, an expansion of the program it debuted in 2021, a blog post noted Tuesday (March 29).

The travel industry is coming back from the downtime of the pandemic, and so Google has been making it so hotels can connect with those who are ready to travel. Last year Google began offering free listings within Google Hotel search.

The report notes that “spring vacation” searches have reached almost the level of before the pandemic.

The new Google update gives users more options — they click a link and can then complete their booking on the hotel or travel partners’ website.

Google’s change will start in April, and individual hotels will be able to manually input rates and availability through their Google Business Profile. One benefit of this will include being able to highlight unique offerings they have, including hotel policy changes from the pandemic, special features and images of the property.

The report says since free hotel booking links were introduced, travel and hotel partners have seen more user engagement.

For example, one booking engine, myhotelshop, saw a 30% increase in bookings during the summer of 2021, the report said.

PYMNTS wrote that the pandemic didn’t seem to put much of a dent in winter travel plans for Americans.

See also: COVID-19 Didn’t Cramp Americans’ January Travel Plans

The research said customers spent $381 on average in December and then $507 in January. All in all, customers spent $23.4 billion on travel purchases in January this year.

This despite the threat of the omicron coronavirus variant, as customers seemingly didn’t wait for it to go away before they made their plans.

Seventy-nine percent of consumers buying travel purchases in January did so online, a much higher amount than for retail, food or grocery.

And digital wallets became a much more popular way to pay for travel, the report noted.