If you are not convinced about Google’s efforts to dominate the local search landscape then you may have a tough time believing anything at all. Google has been working on many different offerings on the local level. Some of the questions and concerns are around just how well these changes will play with Android v iPhone devices which is a fun thought to ponder. This particular experiment, however, which is discussed in the Google LatLong blog is not one of those (darn it!).
Google is experimenting, in a pretty small way apparently, with including hotel room rates with their Google Maps results. Here’s a look see.
It doesn’t take much to begin to ponder the possibilities on this kind of search experience. Which store has what item for what price kind of search results in a map could be a critical influencer as to whether a buyer even steps into one store over the other. For price driven purchases this could be a jackpot for the lowest cost types out there for sure.
Google claims that this kind of engagement by an advertiser will not affect rankings in any way. One pretty slick aspect of this particular version of this ‘service’ is that you actually can put in dates for your stay so that you can know that the rates you see are for your actual needs.
With this feature, when you search for hotels on Google Maps you’ll be able to enter the dates you plan to stay and see real prices on selected listings. You can click on the price to see a list of advertisers who have provided pricing information for that hotel, indicated by the “Sponsored” text, and click through to reserve a room on the advertiser’s site. By showing you this relevant hotel rate information directly in the Google Maps results panel we hope to make this aspect of your trip planning more speedy and efficient – so you can get where you’re going and enjoy your travel destination!
While the hotel side of this is interesting I can’t help but think that the greater applications of this service, especially in the mobile environment, could be one of the ‘next big things’ for search in general and Google in particular.