How to rank in Google’s “hotel map” thumbnail picture
By: Oli Graham Oli Graham
  16 Dec 2020
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How to rank in Google’s “hotel map”


When someone Google’s a term with the formula “hotel in [location]”, for example: “hotel in New York” or “hotel in Miami”, the search engine delivers them a map embedded with the location and prices of hotels in the relevant area.

Below is an example of this map, specifically the one that Google responds with when someone searches: “hotel in New York”:

Google gives more prominence to certain hotels on this map than others. The search engine determines how much prominence it gives to a hotel based on a few factors surrounding a hotel’s wider online presence.

The following article will explain exactly what these factors are, and how you can optimize your hotel’s online presence to achieve maximum visibility in the Google hotel map.

What factors does Google consider when choosing what hotel’s to show on its map?

To understand how Google determines what hotels to display on its map, we need to consider two key points:

1. The clickable hotels on Google’s map, and the features listed to the left of the map, are based on information in a hotel’s Google My Business page, rather than a hotel’s website.

2. People can make bookings through Google’s map, and Google earns a commission from these bookings.

A hotel’s visibility in Google’s map is therefore based upon the information in it’s Google My Business profile and how likely Google thinks that a searcher will go on to make a booking at that hotel.

Google cashes this out in three ways:

1. The search engine favors hotels with fully filled out Google My Business listings

2. Hotel’s with a strong presence on booking sites are favored above those that do not.

3. The “click-through rate” of a hotel’s listing partially determines where it appears on the list to the left of the map.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors in turn.

The importance of a hotel’s Google My Business listing for map prominence

The clickable hotel’s on Google’s map and listing are based upon information in their Google My Business profiles.

If you click on one of the hotel’s on the map, you are taken to that hotel’s Google My Business profile itself:

As you can see in the above photo, users are given the option to browse information about a hotel such as photos, reviews, and a list of available amenities in their Google My Business profile.

However, this information is only available if it is made so by the person who set up the profile. When you set up a profile you have a huge number of fields to fill out with this information.

If you want to rank well in the Google map it is imperative that you fill out every available field in your Google My Business listing. If this means taking extra photographs of your hotel then so be it.

Being able to browse extra information about a hotel makes a user more likely to make a booking through Google. It is therefore in Google’s interests to show hotels with fully completed Google My Business listings.

How booking platforms affect a hotel’s map visibility

While it may seem counterintuitive, being listed in all the major hotel booking platforms actually makes you more visible on Google’s hotel map.

The reason for this is twofold.

Firstly, Google “double verifies” the information in a Google My Business profile with information on booking platforms. This is particularly true of the most important information on a map listing such as a hotel’s name, address and phone number.

If this core information is consistent across all the major booking platforms, then Google’s confidence in your Hotel’s location is boosted. 

The search engine wants to avoid showing false information (especially when there is commission at stake) so will give preference to hotels that have their information across the major booking sites.

The second way that booking platforms affect map visibility is that pricing information displayed on the map is pulled from various booking platforms.

It is therefore important to make sure that booking platforms have up to date information about current prices and any available deals to lower your listed price in the Google map.

As a general rule, the lower your displayed price is on the map, the more clicks your hotel will get.

Click-through rate and its importance in map visibility

Click through rate refers to how often a hotel’s profile is clicked compared to other profiles in a given search.

If one profile is being clicked significantly more often than others, then this signals to Google that the hotel in question is the best “fit” for that search. Google wants to deliver the best answers for any given search, so will give the more clicked profiles better visibility.

The most powerful way to increase your hotel’s click-through rate is by collecting positive Google reviews.

Users can see the number of Google reviews a hotel has, and its average rating, straight on the map listings.

In most cases, people are more likely to click on better-reviewed hotels. This will push up your click-through rate, increasing both your bookings in the short term and visibility in the long term.

This article was provided by Oli Graham, Marketing Manager for digital content agency RightlyWritten