Intelligent use of the Google Hotel Ads platform can greatly enhance any hotel marketing strategy, providing much-needed visibility within Google search engine results pages, in addition to other services, such as Google Maps. In this article, you will find out more about Google Hotel Ads, how it works, why it is so beneficial and how it differs from other services, such as online travel agencies and the main Google Ads platform.
- What are Google Hotel Ads?
- Google Hotel Ads vs. Google Ads
- What is the Difference Between Google Hotel Ads and OTAs
- What Are the Benefits of Google Hotel Ads?
- Where Does Your Hotel Appear in Google?
- What Are the Costs of Google Hotel Ads?
- How to Add Your Hotel to Google Hotel Ads?
- List of Online Travel Agents to Increase Your Hotel Bookings
- List of Hotel Metasearch Engines to Grow Your Hotel Bookings
- Tips to Optimise Bookings Through Online Distribution Channels
What Are Google Hotel Ads?
Google Hotel Ads is a hotel metasearch engine, which is operated by Google and integrated with the company’s other services, including its main search engine, the Google Maps service and the AI-powered Google Assistant. It was originally launched in 2011 and was previously known as Google Hotel Finder.
The platform works by presenting information about hotels and their room availability to users who enter relevant search queries. For each hotel ad displayed, Google Hotel Ads also provides the opportunity to perform quick room rate comparisons and offers links to different booking platforms, allowing customers to find the best possible price.
Google Hotel Ads vs. Google Ads
The Google Hotel Ads platform provides an excellent way to boost visibility on Google search engine results pages, but it is also important to understand that the Hotel Ads service is distinct from the main Google Ads service.
With Google Hotel Ads, the advertisement provides real-time information on availability and rates. It also allows users to compare prices with other platforms offering bookings for the same hotel. Crucially, if a hotel does not have availability that is relevant to a user’s search query, the advertisement will not be shown to them.
By contrast, Google Ads is a more traditional PPC advertising platform. Hotels and other businesses create an ad, then use the Google Ads platform to bid on relevant keywords. Advertisements are then displayed to users who search for those keywords, regardless of current availability, with the hotel paying for each click generated. Google Hotel Ads is geared towards generating bookings, whereas Google Ads is geared towards generating clicks.
What is the Difference Between Google Hotel Ads and OTAs
The fundamental difference between Google Hotel Ads and online travel agencies (OTAs) is the fact that Google Hotel Ads is a metasearch engine. This means it offers information about deals on other platforms, including OTAs and hotel websites, allowing users to easily compare prices.
Hotel metasearch engines provide links to various platforms where users can make bookings. By comparison, an OTA will actually sell rooms on behalf of a hotel, usually while keeping a percentage of revenue as a commission fee. OTAs access up-to-date information about availability and pricing by connecting to global distribution systems.
For those in the hotel industry, the opportunity to have direct bookings advertised prominently on Google search engine results pages can be appealing. Without this, your own hotel’s website can easily be drowned out in search results by listings from OTAs. Bookings through those platforms cost you a commission fee, whereas direct bookings do not.
What Are the Benefits of Google Hotel Ads?
In addition to increasing your hotel’s online visibility, there are a number of additional benefits to using Google Hotel Ads – some of which can assist your hotel management and revenue optimisation efforts.
1. Attract Travelers Searching for a Hotel in a Specific Area
Many travellers seeking a hotel in a specific area will begin their search via Google, so it makes sense to try to reach those people by ensuring your hotel is featured in Google Hotel Ads. The advertisements will not only include the name of your hotel and the price of a room, but will also include links to booking engines, so the customer can book a room quickly and easily. Additionally, ads will only be displayed when you actually have availability.
2. Increase the Number of Direct Bookings Your Hotel Generates
Google Hotel Ads presents pricing information from various online platforms, allowing customers to effortlessly compare room rates, and your own website can be one of these. This has the potential to drastically increase the number of direct bookings you attract, as opposed to customers booking through online travel agencies. This is advantageous, as you will be able to retain more of the revenue from each booking, due to a lack of need to pay commission.
3. Gain Control Over All Aspects of the Customer Journey
When a customer books a room in your hotel through an OTA or offline travel agency, there is immediate involvement from a third-party in the customer journey. However, by using Google Hotel Ads to generate direct bookings, you can help to make sure that you gain control over the entire customer journey. This can help to offer customers a greater level of consistency and also provides you with opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling.
4. Benefit From Increased Access to Customer Information
Finally, using Google Hotel Ads to boost direct bookings also has the knock-on effect of providing you with more valuable information about your customers, including contact information. When they book with an online travel agency, it may not be possible to obtain these details, which can limit the amount of communication you have with them prior to, during, and after their stay. Contact information can help with up-selling, cross-selling and reputation management.
Where Does Your Hotel Appear in Google?
Connecting with the Google Hotel Ads service means your hotel will become visible across several Google platforms. Below, you will find information on these platforms and how they can be beneficial for those in the hotel industry.
1. Google Search
The first and most obvious location where your hotel will be advertised is on Google’s search engine results pages, when a relevant search query is entered. Users will be able to see the name of your hotel, check availability for specific dates, and compare the room rates being offered by different OTAs, as well as your own hotel website.
2. Google Maps
Hotel results are also displayed when users make generic or specific hotel-related searches on Google Maps. In addition to displaying hotel options, the platform allows users to click on specific hotels to learn more or to book. Furthermore, the locations of the hotels are shown on the map display, which can be advantageous if the location is one of your USPs.
3. Google Assistant / Google Home
The way users carry out searches has evolved and many now rely on Google Assistant, which allows users to search via voice commands, or through typed commands. For instance, a user might trigger Google Assistant and then use the voice command “find me a hotel in London“. Relevant hotels connected to Google Hotel Ads will then be displayed.
4. Google Hotel Search
Finally, your hotel will also be displayed on the Google Hotel Search (https://www.google.com/travel/hotels) platform. Using this service, users have the option to enter a hotel name or the name of their destination, while also providing the dates of their intended stay, and the number of guests. Google will then show the relevant hotel results.
What Are the Costs of Google Hotel Ads?
The Google Hotel Ads platform allows hotels to bid for advertising space. A number of different pricing models are available, including cost-per-click, where the hotel pays a fixed amount for each click generated by the ad, or pay-per-conversion, where the hotel pays a fixed percentage of the booking fee for every guest who books through the ad.
In each case, you specify the maximum amount you are willing to pay, and you only pay when the relevant action is carried out by a user. When a user performs a search that would result in hotel ads being displayed, the bidding amount helps to determine which ads are shown. Therefore, your bidding amount can greatly affect visibility.
With this in mind, it is not possible to provide a set cost for using Google Hotel Ads. The amount you need to bid in order for your hotel ad to be displayed will depend on factors like how much other hotels have bid and whether or not an online travel agency has also bid on your property. However, you do have control over your maximum spend.
How to Add Your Hotel to Google Hotel Ads?
You can connect your hotel to Google Hotel Ads through two main methods. The first option is to integrate your hotel directly. Since this takes certain technical skills and specific expertise, many (individual) hotels choose to work with integration partners to get the most out of Google Hotel Ads.
Google Hotel Ads Integration Partners are third-party organisations, who are partnered with the platform and have an understanding of how it works. Examples may include certain connectivity partners, channel managers and property management systems. Below you find a list of companies that can help your hotel to Google Hotel Ads.
Google Hotel Ads Connectivity Partners
Below you find partners who can help your hotel to connect with Google Hotel Ads. Most of the partners offer their services and support in multiple countries and languages. Since some hoteliers prefer to do to business with businesses from their region, we divided the Google connectivity partners per continent :).
Online travel agents serve as a key distribution channel for hotels, because they are able to reach customers who may otherwise be unreachable. These platforms provide a convenient way for many users to explore the various hotels in a particular destination, and ultimately reserve a hotel room.
In the article “Lis of Online Travel Agents to Increase Your Hotel Bookings”, you will be able to find information about some of the most popular and important OTAs to connect with, in order to boost your bookings.
Hotel metasearch engines work by retrieving data from other search engines – such as those featured on OTA websites – and presenting that information to users. They do not sell hotel rooms directly, instead of providing links to other platforms, but they are an excellent resource for users who wish to carry out price comparisons.
By reading the “List of Hotel Metasearch Engines to Grow Your Hotel Bookings” article, you will gain a better understanding of the value of metasearch engines and find examples of some of the best platforms to connect with.
Tips to Optimise Bookings Through Online Distribution Channels
While online distribution channels, such as OTAs, offer excellent opportunities for hotels, making the most of these channels requires decision-makers to adopt the right strategies, work with the right partners, continually monitor the performance of the different channels and make necessary adjustments.
Read the “Tips To Increase Your Hotel Bookings Through OTAs” article to learn more about how to optimise bookings through online distribution channels, complete with 10 specific tips to increase bookings through OTAs.
Google Hotel Ads has become an increasingly vital part of the online distribution mix for most hotels, because it provides visibility, opportunities to increase direct bookings and the chance to own the entire customer journey.
More Tips to Grow Your Business
Revfine.com is a knowledge platform for the hospitality & travel industry. Professionals use our insights, strategies and actionable tips to get inspired, optimise revenue, innovate processes and improve customer experience. You can find all hotel & hospitality tips in the categories Revenue Management, Marketing & Distribution, Hotel Operations, Staffing & Career, Technology and Software.