With the launch a while back of the Google Hotel Finder experiment (search for hotels in certain neighborhoods in the USA), Google Hotpot (a platform to review hotels and restaurants), hotel price ads (that shows price and availability for hotels) integrated into Google maps, the much rumored search giant’s expected entry into the travel space, just got much closer with the recent changes in the Google places layout.
This is how the result for the keyword “b&b venice” looked like before:
Note that the result was showing 115 reviews on that particular Place Page. These reviews where taken from the major travel portals/OTA sites like Expedia, Booking and Tripadvisor, etc.
Now take a look at the same result today:
The reviews from third party sites are not shown, instead they have been replaced with Google only reviews. This must be an attempt by Big G to give more incentive to users to write reviews directly on the Places page.
And finally the other change for all you SEO’s out there, the “Reviews from around the web” situated at the bottom of the Google place result was an indication of the citations (known to be part of the Google places algorithm) has disappeared!