Google Changes Hotel Rates Search Results, Buries Cheaper Options

Google has changed the way it shows Hotel results when people search for cheapest options on their website. The change comes for advertising reasons obviously, and it has pushed the cheapest options further down the list sometimes even requiring you to click “show more results” to see them.

Previously you would see the cheapest options in the first free results although results weren’t ordered by price. Now Skift reports that since at least Tuesday, Google has been more frequently “burying” the lowest hotel rates from smaller advertisers in its search results.
Google seems to have changed how its advertising auctions work. Smaller online travel agencies that have the best rates have to bid more now to get higher visibility and show up higher in results. This favors the bigger players who pay more for advertising but don’t offer the best prices for consumers.

Skift offers Adobe examples of what you would expect from a search now.

When looking for a “Wynn Las Vegas” stay on March 19, big brands like Hotels.com and Priceline.com offered $399 rates. But the best rate was $119 from Amoma.com, a travel agency that typically gets discounted inventory via wholesalers. User had to click a “View more rates” link in order for the Amoma rate to show up. A step that might be missed by many people who will likely end up booking for almost triple the price.

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