The starting point for many travelers planning a vacation is often Google. Travelers research destinations, accommodation, transport and experiences at home or on the move, making quick decisions. A study by Expedia shows 69% of travelers begin their search online and with Google being the dominant search engine it’s clear that your vacation rental listing needs to be visible here.
69% of travelers begin their search online and with Google being the dominant search engine it’s clear that your vacation rental listing needs to be visible here.
Google launched its Vacation Rentals option within their Google Travel search engine in early 2019. Appearing between paid ads and organic results, the feature takes prominent place inviting visitors to browse vacation rentals alongside hotels. Or, if they choose, to click the ‘Vacation Rental’ option (known as ‘Holiday Rentals’ in the UK) to see the most relevant properties based on their criteria. Presented the same as hotels, Google Maps shows estimated locations - a feature built to protect property managers’ privacy.
Using filters for destination, prices, amenities and accommodation type, Google Vacation Rentals organically ranks the best suited property, meaning your listing has the potential to sit on the forefront of the search page.
This has leveled the booking playing field for short term rentals with hotels on online travel agencies (OTAs).
Business is beginning to boom again for vacation rentals and research shows staycation searches grew 100% globally in the last year. As the US short term rental industry makes a full recovery from the pandemic and even surpasses 2019’s level of demand by 5.4%, bookings are coming in thick and fast for the months ahead leading some to believe there aren’t enough rentals to meet demand.
So, Google Vacation Rentals gives property managers the advantage they need to ensure their rentals are visible and benefiting from the influx of travelers.
The US vacation rental sector had a cracking third quarter in 2021, with the highest occupancy rate ever recorded for September according to AirDNA. Demand for destinations near the coast or mountains has risen, indicating the remote working trend is here to stay.
As travelers change the way they work and where they work, they will continue to research and book short term rentals. With both space and privacy, vacation rentals offer the complete package for digital nomads. Google sees this as a benefit for both travelers and property managers and highlights how travelers can find unique properties using their tool.
With demand stable, why is it worth listing on Google Vacation Rentals? It’s not enough to be part of a growing industry, your business will only scale if your properties continue to be seen.
Visibility is key. According to Google, having all the information travelers need in one place increases the customer experience and even booking conversion rates.
Although Google Travel is it's own Google product, your properties will appear directly on the Google Search page (ie. the homepage of the internet!) when a guest searches for a relevant search term, or keyword. This is HUGE. All of a sudden your properties have the opportunity to be placed at the top of a Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) (under the ads, of course).
The image below shows the search results for the term "accommodation london". Notice how Google prominently displays the map, date picker, and a short list of accommodation available in London. Interacting with this widget, directs you to the Google Travel product, shown in the image above.
This accommodation search widget is displayed between the ads section (4 in this case) for Booking.com, Airbnb, Trivago and TripAdvisor, and above the organic results. The prominent display of the search accommodation widget is designed to encourage users to interact and be directed to the Google Travel product where a much more advanced and online travel agency like experience awaits.
Using Googles Keyword Planner (via Google Ads) we can get an idea of the search volume you can expect your properties to appear on Google Search. A guest searching any of the 5 keyword examples (not an exhaustive list) in the image below will be served the Google Accommodation Search Widget. The average monthly search volume ranges from 10k to 100k. This means a property in London could be presented to up to 100k potential direct booking guests per month.
You will not get a better opportunity to promote your properties to direct booking guests at this high a volume.
More and more, guests are searching for properties where they can book the entire home. Travelers can specify requirements, such as an entire property, easily in the filters of the online search engine.
When searching for ‘vacation rentals near me’, a phrase that generates up to 10k searches on Google alone, the tool’s results appear on the first page. This traffic combined with your listing being visible to a traveler at the very beginning of their search journey will inevitably bring a wider audience to your business.
It’s super easy to get your properties within that magical box too! You simply need to be signed up to one of their trusted, connected partner sites which automatically lists your properties in the Vacation Rentals section.
Uplisting for example, is a Google Vacation Rental Connected Partner. If you are not a member already, sign up for a free trial and see how your properties can be shown to millions of potential travelers on Google with the click of a button.
Uplisting is a property and channel management software built specifically for helping short term rental managers scale their businesses. We will shortly be joining Google as a trusted partner to enable our clients to list on Vacation Rentals.
We’ve built an all-in-one property, channel management and automation tool to help property managers scale seamlessly.