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Schema.org Gets Hospitable with Release 3.1 for the Hotel Industry

Schema.org Gets Hospitable with Release 3.1 for the Hotel Industry

Dan Brickley of Google announced a major new release of schema.org today, bringing with it some fairly groundbreaking updates to the hotel and accommodation vocabulary. Dubbed “makemake,” schema.org version 3.1 integrates the work of Martin Hepp and Hepp Research GmbH with the existing hospitality schemas, constituting the most significant update for the hospitality industry since the initial releases of schema.org.

This update brings rich semantic hospitality to schema.org, which itself has been overwhelming adopted, to varying degrees, throughout the hospitality industry. Nearly all major hotel brands and OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) currently include at least one schema.org object in their online platforms, with some brands leading the pack with a wide variety of relevant types and properties, inlcuding Marriott and Wyndham Extra Holidays.

The Accommodation Ontology in schema.org

Hepp’s latest contributions are based on the STI Accommodation Ontology, a hospitality-centric extension of the GoodRelations ecommerce vocabulary. Initially released in 2012, Hepp’s Accommodation Ontology project now joins with schema.org to add a fairly broad array of properties and types, allowing administrators to define critical business details for hotels, vacation rentals, campgrounds and other common lodging businesses.

The extension aims to represent the business functions of any given lodging establishment through three core objects:

  • A Lodging Business – The business entity, e.g. hotels, hostels, campgrounds, etc.
  • An Accommodation – The actual units within the lodging business offered for rental, e.g. rooms, suites and houses
  • An Offer – The offer to let the accommodation for a certain price

In following existing schema.org conventions, accommodations function as products and all price information associated with an accommodation is expressed through offers:

The Accommodation Ontology Mapped to Schema.org

(click to enlarge)

The chart above shows just a few of the new properties and types included in today’s update, the most notable changes being the addition of the Accommodation item type and the significant expansion of available LodgingBusiness properties. Read on to learn more about what’s new in this release, and why it should matter to every hotelier online.

Key hotel/accommodation vocabulary updates in schema.org 3.1

Looking for a hotel and accommodation json-ld generator for schema.org?

What this means for hospitality

This update offers the hospitality industry the potential for an unprecedented level of search engine discoverability in the near future, which will dramatically improve the transparency and accessibility of their product offerings online. The addition of accommodation units, along with many of the other significant changes in this update, allows hoteliers to unambiguously declare their hotel star rating, the number of rooms and their floor space, the nightly prices and bed types for each room, hotel/room amenities, pet-friendliness and many more newly added or attached properties.

Since search engines will know exactly what your business has to offer, they can give searching consumers exactly what they want. This new mountain of information about your hotel will make it much easier for Google, Bing and Yahoo! to generate rich structured hotel cards for your business, matching customers to your accommodations with razor-sharp relevance by cross referencing your business offerings with a potential guest’s narrowly filtered hotel searches and profile behavior.

All these factors considered, the release of 3.1 should lead to schema.org markup becoming increasingly more applicable and actionable—and therefore adopted—across the hospitality industry at large. Just don’t get left behind!

Summary: schema.org 3.1 distilled

Along with some general bug fixes and dataset improvements, today’s release significantly expands schema.org’s hospitality vocabulary, allowing hoteliers and other lodging establishments to easily express their business offerings to search engines with dramatically improved specificity. Hotels are now rich semantic objects, complete with rooms, beds, administrative policies and nightly rates, empowering search engines to place your products in front of qualified travel searchers.

Code Example: Hotel with Nested Hotel Room in JSON-LD

Please note that Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool usually takes 2-3 weeks to begin validating new updates to schema.org.

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