The grand, awkward Carousel experiment appears to be coming to an end — for local listings at least. Google is abandoning the Carousel of horizontal listings that appeared at the top of local search results for hotels, restaurants and a few other verticals. With the changes, Google is now displaying hotel “Book A Room” ads in the ad list format it’s been steadily introducing in the knowledge panel.
When users clicked on a hotel in the Carousel, the booking ads were buried beneath a “Book” drop-down in the knowledge panel. The fact that it was ad-driven wasn’t clear to the user until clicking. Here’s what this looked like earlier today on a knowledge panel for the Sheraton on a search for “New York hotels”:
The Carousel is now being replaced with a 3-pack of organic listings that link to secondary pages. Clicking on one of the listings in the 3-pack brings up a separate page on the individual hotel. The page is essentially the knowledge panel. Now, instead of a “Book” drop-down, ads are presented in a section below the main description information in the way that Google has been doing in the knowledge panel in other verticals like movies and TV show, musical artists, as well as for ads local and online retailers on product searches.
The ads are displayed in a list under a “Book a room” ad header. Here’s an example of what these look like now (though this is rolling out so you may not see it quite yet):
Users can also arrive at one of these individual hotel pages by clicking on the “More hotels” link at the bottom of the 3-pack listing. This leads to a full page of hotel listings, which each link to an individual results page.
The current “Book” drop-down is also being retired from the knowledge panel when searching directly on a hotel by name. Here, too, the new “Book a room” ad treatment will be used.
So far, the specialized ad units are only showing on hotel results and not any of the individual listing pages for other effected verticals like restaurants and nightclubs.
These ads are all still powered by the Hotel Ads API and link to the advertisers’ sites.
Update: Previously we reported that the ad blocks of ads from Google Hotel Finder (example below) wouldn’t be affected by these changes, but in fact they are going away and will no longer appear on search results pages.
Here’s what the new search results page looks like with the new 3-pack of organic listings.
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