Google, continuing with the improvements and new functionalities it is launching recently and trying to do its bit to help hotels in the current crisis, has included two new filters in searches in Google Search as well as in Travel and Maps: Free Cancellation and Rooms for COVID-19 emergency personnel.
1. Free Cancellation Filter
The “Free Cancellation” filter has been implemented only a few days ago and is in roll out phase, i.e. it is not yet visible to 100% of the users who perform a search.
This new Google functionality helps significantly to increase conversion, especially in the current situation, as it makes it easier for users to search for hotels that offer this type of flexible policies with which they feel more comfortable to finalize the reservation, since later if the situation worsens (hopefully not), they will be able to modify or cancel the reservation without problems or penalties.
It also helps to highlight hotels that offer refundable rates, since selecting the filter shows a smaller number of establishments in the list of results.
This is what the filter looks like in Google Travel “without activating“:
And here we can see it with the filter “activated“:
As we can see, there is a big difference in the number of hotels after applying the filter and hence the importance of being able to have free cancellation rates within Google Hotel Ads.
We can see the importance of this filter also in the results per hotel.
Example of prices per hotel in Google Hotel Ads “without filter activated“:
Example Google Hotel Ads with “filter activated“:
As we can see, by activating the filter we get rid of more than 50% of the competitors, which is an incredible advantage and opportunity.
At the moment the filter does not appear in the Search Knowledge panel:
But according to Google, it will be a matter of time before they add it to this section.
How should the hotel activate the free cancellation filter?
There is no need to do anything. Simply if the hotel already has a rate with free cancellation, Google Hotel Ads will automatically receive it in the API response and will show it, since from Roiback we already have the integration ready to send Google this information.
2. Covid-19 “Rooms for Emergency Staff” filter
The second filter that has been recently launched is the “Rooms for COVID-19 emergency personnel” filter.
This new functionality makes it easier to highlight this feature by giving notoriety and more visibility to hotels that offer free rooms or special discounts for healthcare workers who have been fighting during the covid crisis, either to help them in policies of distancing themselves from their families and thus avoiding contagions, providing them with accommodation near their workplace, etc.
In this way, it also makes it easier for healthcare professionals to search for establishments offering this type of service or offer.
We can activate this filter in 2 ways:
1. by clicking on the special message displayed informing about the special offer for Covid-19 emergency personnel in “View hotels” 2. by clicking on the special message displayed informing about the special offer for Covid-19 emergency personnel in “View hotels”.
Example of results for “Hotels in Madrid”:
2. Entering “More filters” and activating the option indicated for it:
As we can see, we have gone from more than 1,823 hotels to just 19.
The hotels that have this type of offers will have a highlighted message so that users can better visualize this opportunity:
In the Search results, this special offer is also highlighted with another message:
How should the hotel activate the special filter for emergency personnel?
It is necessary to configure it in the Google My Business listing and therefore we must inform you about it.
Here are the indications on how to do it:
You have to access the Google My Business page of the hotel by logging in with your username and password. In the “Info” section of the hotel you will find the possibility to configure the “Hotel Attributes”.
Clicking on the pencil icon displays a list of possible attributes to include, the first of all related to special offers for toilets.
To include this service simply click on the pencil icon to edit it. This screen appears with 3 different options to select depending on the case:
You can also select the “Other” option which allows you to choose from the following options:
Both developments are very important in times of Covid-19 and can have a lot of impact on sales. In addition to a great initiative by Google, this is a great opportunity for hotels to get much more out of their current offers and rates.