Google has been testing and adding new features to the local packs and the local knowledge panel in Google search results at a rapid pace over the last year, and they’re at it again. One of the industries that have seen the most changes is the hotel industry, first with a new card and grid-based layout at the end of October 2018 that also allowed users to change their date range, price range, and location of their search.
Now Google has rolled out another change to hotel search results with a new local 4-pack that appears in search results between the paid ads and the organic results. The change has only been seen for desktop search results, and mobile local hotel search results continue to display a 3-pack of hotels, including when I searched from my Google Discover feed in the Google mobile app.
How does the new local hotel 4-pack look?
Below is a screenshot of the search I did for hotels near Phoenix, AZ:
As you can see the new look displays 4 hotels as individual cards. Each has an image on the left with the price per night in the lower right corner of the image. The image fills up about a third of the card. The remaining ⅔ of the card displays the hotel name then the Google star rating above a quote from one of the hotel’s Google reviews. Some of the cards have a white rectangle around the words, “GREAT DEAL,” with a percentage below for how much lower the price per night is than usual.
To the left of the 4 cards is a map card with dark blue location pins that display the price per night of a large number of hotels. In my case, the results displayed on the map are all near downtown Phoenix.
At the top of the 4-pack results is the title of the search, “Hotels near Phoenix, AZ, then in smaller print “about these results.” Click on the lowercase “i,” and the message “Hotel prices come from Google’s partners,” with a blue link that takes you to a Google Support page.
Below the search title are two calendar buttons where you can enter the date range of your planned hotel stay. My dates defaulted to Dec 16 through Dec 17. Clicking on a button expands a calendar so you can edit the dates you’re searching for.
Below the calendar buttons are 5 more buttons or cards that read:
- TOP CHOICES – Based on your search, prices & quality
- GUEST FAVORITES – Rated 4.0+
- BUDGET OPTIONS – Lower-priced hotels
- LUXURY STAYS – 4-star and 5-star hotels
- FOR TONIGHT – Available now
Clicking on one of them filters and expands the search by the category on the button you pressed.
At the very bottom of the 4-pack result is a dark blue oblong oval-shaped button that allows you to view move hotels. My button read, “View 412 hotels.” Click on the button and Google takes you to the expanded Google Map results.
The expanded results give you the same options to filter your results by location and dates, but also add a drop-down menu for the number of guests and a slider to adjust your price range. Below that are 2 buttons where you can filter your results by guest rating and by amenities. Next to that is a blue icon next to the words, “More Filters.” Click on it, and a popup card displays more filter options.
Below that are the first 12 hotel results, including the top 4 that appeared in the 4-pack. The cards look almost identical to the 4-pack cards except they are larger, and now the hotel image dominates ⅔ of the card. The information displayed on the cards is the same as the info in the 4-pack.
To the right of the cards is an expanded map with location pins for all the hotels in your search results. Below the hotel cards is a “NEXT” button, so that you can go to each subsequent page of search results.
What the new look could mean for your small local hotel
The new look in Google’s local search results for hotels shows how crucial it is to keep your hotel’s Google My Business listing up to date and optimized with things like photos, posts, room rates, and more. You also want to make sure you’re keeping an eye on your reviews as well as responding to all your reviews, good, bad, and in between.
It’s vital for every small business, but it’s especially important for hotels. That’s because even in your individual hotel’s local Google Maps listing, you’re competing for attention with other hotels in your area. Google now displays a 3-pack of “Similar hotels nearby,” on your local listing. Plus, in addition to your Google reviews, Google also displays links to reviews of your hotel on all the major travel directory sites including Travelocity, Expedia, Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Hotels.com, and Priceline.
With all the changes Google keeps making to the local pack, the knowledge panel, as well as Google My Business, it’s becoming increasingly clear that in addition to your website, your Google My Business listing plays an essential part in how you rank in Google’s local hotel search results. In order to stay on top, it’s vital you keep an eye on your listing and how the latest changes are affecting whether your hotel shows up in the local hotel 4-pack or not.
Meanwhile, we’ll keep you updated on any Google changes and if you need help with your Google listing, other online directories, or you have any questions about the price of local SEO or marketing in general, we’re here. Leave your comments and questions below or click on the chat window to call or chat with a marketer today.