To boost occupancy in a crowded market, you need to promote your properties as widely as possible. But since most OTAs come with high commission rates and rigid policies, you need to develop your brand and increase your direct bookings.
One effective way to do this is to get your properties listed on Google.
By pulling listings from channel managers and booking sites through to Google Search results, you can show your properties to guests right at the very beginning of their customer journey. This makes you more searchable and trustworthy, and easier for travelers to book direct with you.
In this article, we look at:
- How Vacation Rentals on Google works
- The advantages of promoting on Google
- How you can use Hostfully to easily list your properties on Google
- How you can list properties on Google straight from your direct booking site
What is Vacation Rentals on Google?
Vacation Rentals on Google is a feature that presents travelers with a list of vacation rentals when they search for places to stay. These listings are integrated with existing Google products like Search and Google Maps and have a dedicated tab under the Travel category.
So, when someone searches for “vacation rental in Colorado” they could be met with results similar to the images below.
Vacation Rentals on Google was created because large volumes of people were using Google Search as a first stop when searching for a place to stay. Now, they can quickly narrow their search by amenities, number of rooms, or reviews, and be transported to the booking page on an OTA or direct booking website in just a few clicks.
As with services like Flights on Google and Hotels on Google, Vacation Rentals on Google listings don’t rely on SEO or paid advertising. Instead, they’re pulled straight from partner listing sites. We explore how you can use Hostfully to list your property on Google later in this article.
The benefits of listing your vacation rental on Google
Because it presents an alternative to listing directly on OTAs, Vacation Rentals on Google comes with clear advantages. Here we explore these benefits in more depth:
- Property visibility
- Increased brand credibility
- A streamlined booking experience
- Increased control over guest relationships
- More direct bookings
Give your properties increased visibility
In the US alone, 18,000 people search the term “vacation rental” every month. And Google can allow them to easily find you when they do. This opens your properties up to an enormous pool of potential guests, including those who usually book hotels and don’t tend to check OTAs like Airbnb or Vrbo.
Boost your brand’s credibility
By listing your properties in Google’s travel section, you align your brand with a search engine most people use and trust. The ability to add high-quality photos, up-to-the-minute availability information, and reviews, also helps you create a fantastic first impression.
Create a streamlined booking experience
Google helps your guests find the best destination and price for their stay and then it directs them straight to the booking page of the OTA or direct booking site.
This streamlined process can have a huge impact on conversion rates as guests have fewer steps to complete a transaction—so there’s less chance of them second-guessing their purchase choice.
Gain control over your relationships with guests
When you list your short-term rentals exclusively on OTAs, you’re subject to their guest policies. But by connecting your direct booking website to Vacation Rentals on Google, you gain control over your listings and policies.
For example, you can attract more guests by having a flexible cancellation policy. And, since listing vacation rentals on Google has no fees or commissions, you can reduce your nightly rates and still increase your revenue.
|Pro-tip: With direct bookings, you can easily collect guest data that’s normally unavailable to you on OTAs, and build a mailing list for remarketing in the future.|
Get more direct bookings
Getting your direct booking website to rank in search engines requires SEO knowledge and time. But with Google, you can use the famous search engine to get more direct bookings—all you need is a solution like Hostfully to make it possible.
How to list your property on Google’s section for vacation rentals
There are three main ways to list your properties on Google. Here, we explain the steps involved and take a look at the pros and cons of each approach.
Use short-term rental software
A channel manager helps you expand your reach by connecting to dozens of booking sites. If you choose a solution like Hostfully, whose in-built channel manager integrates with Google, you can use it to easily list your properties in Google’s various hospitality products.
- Head to Hostfully’s channel page
- Click the toggle button to “on”
- Click the “manage this channel” link to add your properties
- You can access multiple channels
- You can make bulk edits across all channels
- You can integrate your direct bookings site
- Turning to a channel manager may mean you need to add another tool to your tech stack. However, if you choose an all-in-one property management platform, this won’t be necessary.
|Pro-tip: Bring all your solutions together with Hostfully. Our PMS includes a channel manager and centralized calendar with links to multiple major OTAs and niche listing sites, and specialized third-party channel managers.|
Using a direct booking site
If you can provide accurate, real-time pricing information and a high-quality landing page, then you can usually link your direct bookings site to Google.
To link your direct bookings site to Google, you have to complete the Vacation Rentals interest form and have a conversation with a specialist.
|Don’t forget: Sending traffic to your vacation rental site is just the first step. You also need your PMS to have a direct booking widget that seamlessly integrates with your website. This makes sure guests have all the information they need to immediately complete a transaction.|
- You can create a memorable vacation rental brand and have a clearer online presence
- You’ll avoid OTA fees
- You’ll gain control over booking and cancellation policies
- Not all vacation direct booking sites will meet Google’s criteria as they may not have clear, up-to-date pricing information
Hostfully’s direct booking sites
If you want to start strengthening your brand, but don’t have the time to create a direct booking site, you can use Hostfully’s out-of-the-box solution. All our sites are mobile-responsive and customizable without any coding knowledge required.
|Pro-tip: Calculate how much you could save with a quality direct booking site. Our ROI calculator shows you how much OTAs could be costing you.|
List on OTAs
Because only selected OTAs are partnered with Google, you have to choose the right one to get your properties listed. We provide a list below.
Promote your properties on these OTAs to sync with Google :
- Plum Guide
- OTAs don’t usually have any upfront costs
- OTAs come with a seamless, integrated booking process
- You benefit from their marketing and branding
- You’ll still need a channel manager to easily make bulk changes to your listings
|Pro-tip: Use Hostfully’s in-built channel manager to make changes to multiple property listings at once. In minutes, you can add images, edit descriptions and change pricing and availability information across platforms.|
Optimizing your Vacation Rentals on Google listing strategy
Google can play an important role in maximizing your occupancy rates by presenting travelers with an easy, trustworthy way to book your properties right at the start of their search.
Google can also help you avoid the high commission and fixed policies that come with many OTAs. To do this, you have three options:
- Integrate your own direct booking site with Google. This means you’ll have to provide accurate, real-time pricing information, and have a high-quality landing page.
- Use a platform like Hostfully. Hostfully partners with Google to provide an easy way for you to sync your listings.
- List on OTAs that integrate with GVR. To list across multiple channels, you’ll need a channel manager to easily update and sync your listings.
Whether you opt to use a direct booking site or channel manager, Hostfully can help you build your brand. With our all-in-one PMS, you can easily manage listings, create a custom site, and streamline your day-to-day operations with our range of tools and automations.
Frequently asked questions about Google
How long does it take for my vacation rental listing to appear on Google?
It typically takes between 2-3 weeks for listings from a direct booking site to appear on Google. If you promote your properties on a Google-supported OTA or channel manager, listings will update within just a few days.
Is Airbnb integrated with Google?
Airbnb is currently not integrated with Google . Instead, you’ll find properties from OTAs such as Agoda, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor in its search results.
What is the world’s largest vacation rental search engine?
With access to listings from 10+ large OTAs and hundreds of direct booking sites, Google is the largest vacation rental search engine currently available on the market. Travelers can view thousands of properties in search results or inside the dedicated vacation rental tab in Google.