In June 2013, Google introduced Carousel as part of its efforts to integrate metasearch functionalities in search results. When travelers search for local attractions or hotels, Carousel selects 20 results to be shown as a banner of images. The top eight are the most coveted, as users need to scroll to see the others.
Thirty-three percent of travel and hospitality related searches bring up the Carousel, but prestige hotels are not taking full advantage of the feature. The average Carousel position among brands in the Digital IQ Index: Prestige Hotels is eighth, and Index brands appear in the Carousel for just 35% of the markets they are present in. Omni Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and The Peninsula Hotels lead by appearing in Carousel results for 73%, 69%, and 67% of the cities they have properties in, respectively.
Appearance in Carousel is valuable because of how it funnels travelers to the brand site. It displays reviews and prices, eliminating search steps and preparing consumers for a decision. The Carousel is available for 33% of travel and hospitality-related searches, and Google has plans to incorporate it in mobile search as well. All the more reason for hotel brands to invest in improving their position and reach in this feature.