Google searches for a phrase like “hotels in Paris” have been simultaneously revealing an option “vacation rental” from a drop-down menu, an option which doesn’t appear using the direct search term “vacation rentals in Paris”.

The resulting apartments represent only a tiny sample of the results available on other platforms, in the Paris example only 420 apartments compared with more than 50,000 on Airbnb.

But this is the first time Google has been seen to add vacation rentals as a lodging category alongside hotels, and according to marketing technology vendor Koddi, the listings of the past few weeks represent a purposeful test by the search giant, not a result of miscategorising by advertisers or confusing hybrid models like apart’hotels that have slipped through as hotels.

This Skift article considers potential effects of Google straying into vacation rental listings on rental metasearch players, such as Tripping.com and AllTheRooms, and OTAs like Kayak and TripAdvisor; but how it will currently fare badly against hotels and Airbnb due to a lack of reviews, imagery and content-rich description.

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