Google announced this week that wanderlusters can now book vacation rentals on the Google Hotels platform. Already one of the top players in the online travel agency and metasearch realm, the search giant just blurred the line even more between hotels and rentals.
However, Booking.com has already been making hotel listings and rentals battle it out.
On Booking.com, hotel brands tracked by Gartner L2 see just 44% visibility for above-the-fold listings across 30 cities, versus 81% visibility on Google Hotels, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury Hotels. This means luxury brands have to compete harder for top listing positions on Booking.com, as they’re not only competing against other organic hotel listings, but also organic rental listings.
Booking.com incorporates rental listings directly into listing results, not requiring travelers to add a filter for rentals like other platforms. During Gartner L2’s study period, researchers observed 13% of above-the-fold listings comprised of Apartment Rentals and Home Rentals, while the remaining 42% were hotels not included in the study, making Booking.com a competitive battlefield for luxury brands.
Luxury brands have to up their digital game as the line between luxury hotels and luxury rentals continue to blur. Many are already doing so: Marriott debuted home-sharing platform Tribute Portfolio Homes last year, and disruptor Airbnb penetrated the Luxury space with Airbnb Plus and its acquisition of HotelsTonight. These shifts will only continue as Google continues its quest to become the one-stop shop for all travel.