Update: May 23, 2017 Google started rolling our Hotel Reviews By Traveller Type.
Watch this video to see the test in action.
As I said on Twitter last week – I think hospitality in general, and its hotel vertical in particular is by far the hottest industry for Google’s UI tests. I think there are 2 main reasons for that:
1) Google figured out how to monetize this industry pretty well, thus changes that could be made after the tests can directly affect Google’s bottom line (a pretty good incentive to do more testing);
2) Hotels’ Knowledge Panels have more information than Knowledge Panels in any other industries which creates a lot more opportunities for testing.
While I usually post all tests I find on Twitter, this one is too big for 140 characters and few images.
First, let’s get the 3rd party review carousel test out of the way. Google loves testing & later implementing cards, in fact, Google was testing the same carousel layout for hotel prices just last week, so this test is not surprising at all.
Second, the review summary section of the tested KP doesn’t have Rooms/Location/Service & Facilities description, only showing the average scores.
The overall rating looks fresher, with a descriptive rating given based on the average score (4.5-5.0 – Excellent; 4.0-4.4 – Very Good; 3.5 – 3.9 – Good; I’ve seen hotels with rating as low as 2.9 and up to 3.4 being described as “Fair; I’ve seen only one “Poor” hotel at 1.5 with 1.5 stars).
The CTA for writing a review is also different as you can see.
Finally, the section where you can read reviews is something I have not seen before and is perhaps the most interesting part of this test. There is a lot going on here:
a) Average rating for Couples, Families, Solo, and Business.
There is a lot of new features Google is testing here, and I can see how people could complete their entire hotel research within this Knowledge Panel. I am going to finish this post up by repeating what Mike Blumenthal said in his post about a Knowledge Panel tab test 2 days ago: “it is one more of the Google”down the rabbit hole”, keep them here or nowhere type tests. Google either wants a users time or their action. And doesn’t want other sites to get credit for the activity.”