Google uses more than a dozen different categories to help people understand what kind of lodging they’ll find at a given location. Picking the right classification for your lodging business is a good way to help the right customers find you.
You can tell us which category is the right fit using the guidelines and descriptions below. Every business is unique, and it’s possible that there isn’t a category that is a perfect fit. In rare cases, a business may match more than one category: for instance, if your property offers both a motel and camping cabins, assign both categories.
To qualify as a lodging business, you must offer short-term overnight stays to the general public. If you don’t, or if none of the listed categories matches your business, then you’re probably in a category outside of hotels and lodging. If your rental is a house, apartment, or other short-term furnished lodging for travelers, doesn’t have permanent on-site management, or doesn’t accept walk-in reservations, then it's considered a vacation rental.
Lodging accommodations will fall into 2 distinct categories: Hotels or Vacation Rentals.
A hotel is a commercial establishment offering lodging and guest services provided by on-site staff. Hotel rooms are private and never shared with strangers. A hotel must provide access to a sink, toilet, and a shower or bath. Units in a hotel may have kitchens, although this is not required. Travelers must be able to book rooms for a single night.
To be called a hotel on Google, an establishment should have at least 20 rooms. If your establishment has fewer than 20 rooms, but otherwise meets the definition of a hotel, it's most likely an inn (if it has a public restaurant) or a guest house (if it does not).
Before you select the hotel category, review all other categories to see if they’re a more precise fit for your business. Also, if your business doesn’t offer overnight lodging at all (such as a restaurant named Acme Hotel), don't assign the hotel category, and consider the restaurant category instead.
A resort hotel is typically spread out over more land area than a hotel, and provides more services, activities, and amenities. It's a self-contained leisure destination, where guests can find on the premises everything they might need during their vacation. A resort hotel must have on-site staff and an establishment serving food on the resort grounds.
Accommodations can take several forms, such as hotel rooms, apartments, cabins, or villas. Resorts do not necessarily allow guests to book a room for a single night.
There are 2 distinctive types of resort hotels:
- Recreation resorts: Offer a distinct recreation activity like golf, skiing, or water sports. These resorts occupy a land area comparable to or larger than the lodging itself and can include facilities such as a beach, hunting preserve, or theme park.
- Relaxation resorts: Consist of luxury villas or bungalows and promote relaxation and peace of mind. These villas or bungalows can be designed for more than one party, with multiple suites per villa. It may have a main building in addition to villas scattered throughout the resort.
An inn is a small hotel with fewer than 20 rooms. To be categorized as an inn, a location MUST have a food or drink service establishment on premises that is open to the public.
If your business doesn’t offer overnight lodging, don't assign the inn category. If your establishment only serves food, consider the restaurant category instead.
Extended stay hotel (Aparthotel)
An extended stay hotel or aparthotel is an entire building or complex of self-catered furnished apartments, all of which are owned and operated as a single business. Each unit has one or more bedrooms and a kitchen. Conventional hotel facilities, staff, and services are often present (but are not required), and may be limited. For example, an extended stay hotel or aparthotel might have limited front desk hours, and the daily rates may or may not include breakfast or free daily cleaning. Discounted rates for long-term stays are often offered, but the minimum length of stay may be as little as one night.
If your establishment meets the definition for both an extended stay hotel/aparthotel and a resort hotel, you should classify it as a resort hotel.
A guest house is a private house or a small commercial building that offers accommodations to travelers. The owner or staff must be present to take care of guests’ needs, but a guest house typically offers fewer amenities and services than a hotel. Rooms are usually unique, and there is often a common living room where guests can sit and socialize with others.
Guest houses must be able to host several different parties at the same time. Sometimes there is also an option to rent the entire house for events such as a family gathering or a group retreat. Establishments with fewer than 20 rooms that otherwise meet the definition of a hotel are guest houses.
Guest houses may offer meals. However, if the meal options include a home-cooked breakfast, then bed and breakfast is the more appropriate category. If your business has fewer than 20 rooms and a public restaurant, the inn category is preferred.
A farm stay is a working agricultural business (such as a farm, ranch, or vineyard) that allows guests to take part in farming or ranching activities. The farm must currently be in use for crop production or the raising of livestock.
The presence of crops or animals nearby is not enough on its own to qualify as a farm stay. You must offer guests one or more farm-related activities such as crop production, harvesting, feeding livestock, or spending time with farm animals.
A farm stay may be listed separately on Google Maps from the farm itself. For instance, a large business which includes vineyards and wine production as well as a farm stay may have separate listings for the winery and the farm stay.
A Japanese inn is a traditional inn where guests sleep in a Japanese-style room (with features such as tatami flooring and sliding doors) on a futon bed on the floor. It is also known as a ryokan. Typically, there are communal baths, and guests are provided with a Japanese garment called a yukata to wear.
Some establishments in Japan offer both Japanese-style and Western-style rooms. Such businesses can assign both Japanese inn and another category (such as hotel or guest house) if appropriate.
Camping cabins are often found in a park or forest, and may feature bungalows, cabins, or mobile homes. Camping cabins usually don’t have personnel on site, other than at the front desk. They usually offer shared facilities or amenities, such as a reception area, communal kitchen, communal bathroom, swimming pools, or children’s play areas.
Camping cabins must be more than an empty structural shell. They may have plumbing or climate control, but don’t need to be on-grid. Composting toilets, propane heaters, water tanks, and wood stoves can all be features of camping cabins.
Campsites where guests stay in tents, and RV parks where guests bring their own recreational vehicles, are outdoor lodging. They don’t fall under any of the hotel or indoor lodging categories listed here.
Vacation Rentals (non hotels)
Vacation rentals are similar to hotels in some ways. Both take reservations and provide overnight lodging. However, there are important differences in what guests and owners expect from a vacation rental experience. For example, it wouldn’t be appropriate for a traveler to knock on the door of a vacation rental, looking for a room for the night. That’s the reason for one important difference between hotels and vacation rentals: their locations don’t appear on Google Maps. Instead, they’re featured in Google search results and ads when people search for lodging in a particular area.
How can you tell if your lodging is a vacation rental rather than a hotel, guest house, or bed and breakfast? Start by asking these questions. Does the establishment:
Have a front desk where new arrivals check in?
Have permanent on-site management?
Welcome walk-in customers?
If you answer “yes” to 2 or 3 of these questions, your business is a hotel or a related category. If only one or none are a “yes,” you’re very likely a vacation rental.
These distinctions aren’t always precise. For instance, a vacation rental may be in an apartment building where a superintendent also lives on-site. But this is different from a professional lodging establishment where the staff is expected to greet guests and check them in, answer questions about nearby attractions, prepare meals, or offer other services. Vacation rentals also tend to accept online bookings only, and may have cleaning fees or other additional charges that hotels don’t.
If you’re still not sure if your lodging is a vacation rental, look at our list of hotel-related categories to see if any of them are a better fit.