Google vacation rentals: how to list your property and get bookings
Posted by admin on September 20, 2021 · Hosts,Operators
Millions of travellers around the world head to search engines like Google first, when it comes to researching where they want to go on holiday.
As we know from Airbnb’s recent IPO, which valued the home-sharing platform at an eye-watering $86bn, the vacation and short-term rental sector is booming, with no signs of slowing down any time soon.
In order to respond to the huge demand for vacation rentals, Google has integrated them into its search function for travel, complimenting its other meta-search engine services – Google Flights and Google Hotels.
Google Travel is an opportunity that Property managers can’t afford to miss out on. It currently offers an incredible chance to capitalise on commission-free direct bookings and drive traffic to your own website, increasing your exposure to guests.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about how to get your properties listed on Google’s vacation rentals.
Google vacation rentals: A threat to the major OTAs?
To provide a bit of context, Google Travel has actually been around for a while. In 2018, Google redesigned its mobile and desktop hotel search experience, with the addition of the vacation rentals filter in 2019.
It has grown in popularity recently, due to Google launching Vacation Rentals as its very own stand-alone product in early 2020, complimenting Google Flights and Google Hotels, to form Google Travel.
Google’s introduction into the already crowded OTA space emphasizes the popularity of vacation rentals in a post-pandemic world.
The user experience for Guests is pretty similar to most of the OTAs we’re all used to, except when travellers decide to book a specific rental and click “Book Now” or “Learn more”, they are redirected to the property manager’s own direct site to complete the booking process and pay.
How is it different from Google Maps?
Google vacation rentals’ listings may look and feel very similar to a Google Maps listing, but are in fact, very different in how they operate.
It’s important to note that the featured vacation rental listings and prices are not fed through by Google Maps or Google My Business, but more on that later.
Google Maps/Google My Business does not list individual vacation rental information. If you own multiple properties/vacation rentals under your property management company, the individual property locations are not eligible to show via Google My Business or Google map results.
To get listed, interested property managers have two options:
- Work directly with an approved listing sight
- Work with a channel manager or PMS that is an approved software partner
The layout and search experience will feel similar to many of the major OTA’s, with individual properties grouped on the left, with an interactive map on the right.
Once guests have selected the usual filters, they have the option of selecting further filters to refine their search results even further.
The individual vacation rental property listing page includes all of the usual important listing information, like the maximum number of guests, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and if there is a minimum stay. An availability calendar, rate information, and reviews are also prominently featured.
Google provides helpful location information on the listing page, including nearby things to do, public transit, etc. with the listing images and information fed through from the approved software partner.
Google vacation rentals: How do I list my property?
So, the big question is, how do you actually get your property listed on Google vacation rentals? As mentioned, Google sources all its vacation rentals from a select list of Google-approved software partners, which include:
- Rentals United
- Turnkey Vacation Rentals
- Kross Booking
The good news is that if you currently use any of these approved software partners, your listing will already likely be displayed on Google vacation rentals.
As of early April 2021, niche listing sites such as luxury-focused Plum Guide and Homes & Villas by Marriott International were visible on Google Travel.
As you can imagine, the major OTAs are not so keen on Google muscling its way into the vacation rental sector, so listings on platforms like Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda and VRBO are not visible on Google’s Vacation Rentals.
If you decide to use one of the channel managers listed above and have your own direct booking website, they will also be able to help you get your listing on Google vacation rentals.
If you are new to the property management business, channel managers can help you maximize your revenue and growth.
Your channel manager will synchronize and manage your calendar/bookings across the different platforms you list with, helping you avoid double bookings, and making sure that your listing is set up for maximum conversion.
Check out our article on vacation rental technology if you’re a new property manager, for an in-depth look at the best technology to help your business.
What are the benefits of listing with Google vacation rentals?
By connecting your listings to Google vacation rentals, property managers will be able to grow their business, diversify their revenue streams and expand brand visibility, attracting more Guests and acquiring more hosts.
We’ve highlighted the best reasons to list with Google vacation rentals here:
Getting your properties in front of guests is crucial. The more places you list your properties, the more bookings you will get. It’s as simple as that.
With Google accounting for 90% of the search market in the US, getting your vacation rental listed on Google Travel is a no brainer.
A trusted provider
Guests want to feel confident that they are making the right choice by booking your vacation rental. Google has a polished reputation, so when guests see your listing on Google Travel, they will associate your property with the same standards as Google requires.
Attract the right guests
Google Travel allows guests to be ultra-specific about the property they want through its advanced filters. A major bonus is that you’ll only get qualified traffic coming to your website that will convert into bookings.
Google’s vacation rentals provide the usual filters: travel dates, location and number of guests, but one of the biggest differences is that the guests have already narrowed their search from “travel” and “type of accommodation” to “vacation rentals.”
More direct bookings
Every property manager’s dream is convenient, commission-free bookings. When guests book through the larger OTAs, property managers have to pay fees and commissions. Unlike its competitors, Google currently doesn’t charge for listing your vacation rental website, nor do they collect any commission from bookings redirected to your website.
We expect that this will change in the future, but property managers should still take advantage of it now whilst they can.
Know your guest
Although Google is trusted and well respected, they currently don’t offer any protection or guest screening for their listed vacation rentals, since they are sending the guest to your own website.
Protect all your Google vacation rental bookings, as well as your bookings from other platforms, by consolidating your guest screening and insurance with SUPERHOG.
SUPERHOG enables a growing ecosystem of hosts, property managers, and guests to make their online activity safer through our globally accessible tech-based AI-supported toolkit, which includes:
- Biometric recognition software
- Advanced ID verification
- Guest screening technology
- Embedded insurance (covering Guest property damage and injury)
- Damage deposit/waiver toolkit
To make managing your properties even easier, SUPERHOG is integrated with some of the largest PMS and channel managers in the industry. To find out more, please visit our integrations page.