Google Places For One-Stop Reviews

There’s a huge shift afoot in travel reviews; one you won’t want to miss. Today’s post covers what it means to the travel consumer. If you’d like to see my analysis of what it means for your business, I invite you to read more about it on my other site, TechSpokes.

“Places” on Google Maps now incorporates extremely useful review content and sentiment analysis available from across the web. Google’s extraction algorithm is very accurate and yields excellent results.

This is going to change the travel review landscape and shift focus away from site’s like Expedia’s TripAdvisor. Rather than having to visit TripAdvisor, you’ll find a plethora of useful review information from multiple sources (including TripAdvisor) on Google Places. This could have a big impact on visitors to and advertising value of other review sites.

Here’s how Google Places works.

Finding hotel reviews

Go to Google Maps and either enter a specific property or the name of a city (or island) and the word “hotels.”

Content Sources

Reviews are presented in meaningful, expandable snippets from a variety of sites including:

Frommers, TripAdvisor, Priceline, VirtualTourist, IgoUgo, newspapers, blogs, and Google itself.

Many other sources are also included.  You’ll find Beat of Hawaii reviews listed there too.  If you’d like to find reviews only from one particular source, you can enter that site’s name.

Sorting Results

At this time, when reviewing multiple properties, you can sort based on the number of stars in the reviews or by neighborhood.  I expect to see many additional choices to add functionality in sorting soon.

Sentiment Analysis

A simple set of bars is used, together with expandable snippets, to represent the sentiment of reviewers overall, in the following categories: rooms, service, location, value and dining.

Integration with Google Maps

If you click the star next to an item (let’s say you’re considering several properties), that selection is moved to the map. I find this very handy.

Review details

The list is extensive, including price, property size, amenities and features, activities, neighborhood, parking, and more.These are sourced from multiple sites, which are listed so that you can drill down if you require more information.

Photos and videos

There’s quick access to much more aggregated visual content than was previously available.

Owner Verification

Locations which have been “claimed” by the owner have additional information listed as owner-verified.  Owners can add posts, events, promotions and more.

I know this is where I’ll be starting any hotel search I do from here on. Please let me know your thoughts.

4 thoughts on “Google Places For One-Stop Reviews”

  1. Sounds like Google has hit another grand slam. Looking forward to trying it out.
    Does Beat of Hawaii ever use for price notifications? I’ve found it to be very good about making early notification of flight sale prices, some lasting only a short period of time.

    1. Hi Mike,

      Yes, I check Expedia’s Airfarewatchdog. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any single site that has all the deals for whatever reasons. Many times deals I find either don’t get to AFWD or get there much later. I like to get them up faster than they usually get to most sites. So I’ve set up a system that checks many sites first thing in the morning and throughout the day, hitting all the meta-searches, airlines, deal sites, forums, etc.

      Aloha, Jeff

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