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In today's hotel industry, maximizing direct bookings is critical to increasing revenue and reducing dependence on third-party booking channels like OTAs. One of the most powerful channels for achieving this goal is Google Hotel Ads (GHA): with nearly 70% of the market share, it is the most used metasearch.
Nowadays, with metasearch you can launch visibility campaigns and classic metasearch campaigns. Though, in this article, we'll look at how you can effectively leverage Google Hotel Ads to increase your direct bookings with metasearch “classic” campaigns.
What is Google Hotel Ads?
Google Hotel Ads (GHA) is a meta search advertising solution that allows hoteliers to promote their official website prices and reach potential guests across Google's network, including Search results page, Google Maps, and Google Travel pages.
It provides a means for hotels to increase their online visibility and drive direct bookings. Google Hotel Ads campaigns are linked to your Google Business Profile (ex Google My Business).
In short, Google Hotel Ads is a metasearch advertising channel for hoteliers to promote their direct prices and drive direct bookings.
How to sell your hotel on Google Hotel Ads?
The vast majority of establishments have a listing on Google Business Profile (GBP) that is connected to Google Hotel Ads. So, to launch Google Hotel Ads campaigns, you must have a GBP.
In order to display your official website rates on Google Hotel Ads, you must send your prices and availability to Google. Then you need to set up a “deep link”: a link used to create the landing page of your GHA campaigns. In other words, you need to link your official booking engine to your Google Hotel Ads campaigns.
Finally, you need to set up the tracking in order to follow your GHA performance. At this stage you are ready to go to advertise your official website prices on Google Hotel Ads. You can now open your campaigns and start generating online direct bookings.
Please note that today, your rates will appear in the Google Free Booking Links section of Google Hotel Ads as soon as Google receives your rates and availability.
If you don’t know where to start, you can rely on WIHP. Their Meta I/O metasearch platform allows you to connect, manage and distribute your hotel on the major metasearch from a single, easy-to-use interface.
How to get more direct bookings?
Google Hotel Ads is specifically designed for hoteliers, to promote hotels official rates directly to users looking for your property which helps generate more direct bookings.
One of the main advantages is the ability to target an audience interested in your hotel. You can set criteria such as users location, booking window, checkin day, etc to reach travelers who are actively looking for your hotel. Thus, you increase your chances of generating direct bookings with a good return of investment (ROI).
When advertising your hotel direct rates, your ads will appear in your Google Business Profile (on Google Search), in Google Maps, and in Google Travel. By setting up GHA campaigns, you allow more potential guests to book directly on your website.
Google Business Profile
What are the business models available on Google Hotel Ads?
Google Hotel Ads offers several bidding methods:
Cost per click (CPC)
CPC allows you to make more granular changes to your campaigns with either a fixed bid per night or a percentage of your room price. To fine-tune your bidding strategy, Google offers the Bid Multiplier, allowing you to adjust your bids based on various factors like the platform, length of stay, and check-in date. You also have the flexibility to manage your bidding settings by market.
Commissions programs (CPA / CPS)
The CPA model empowers you to manage your campaigns based on performance alone, in a more simple and automated way. The metasearch system will enhance the bids and ensure the distribution costs are optimized:
- CPA on commission per conversion: the algorithm automatically adjusts your position according to the commission amount you set. You will pay the commission on the date of the customer's reservation.
- CPA on commission per stay: the ranking of your ads work the same way as the Commission per conversion but with commission per stay you will pay the commission to Google on the check out date of your guest and it’s free of cancellation and no-shows.
How does Google Hotel Ads help me compete with OTAs?
Metasearch engines generate for up to 30% of a hotel’s direct bookings! They give more visibility to your official prices to users interested in your hotel (or in your destination with Property Promotion Ads).
It also helps you to increase your conversion rate. Indeed, Google Hotel Ads has an average conversion rate 50% superior to the average conversion rate of your website. By being listed on Google Hotel Ads, you can significantly boost the number of visitors to your website and increase your direct bookings.
By increasing your visibility to ready-to-book travelers, and by redirecting these potential customers to your booking page, Google Hotel Ads helps increase your direct revenue. Generally, when people visit your website, they have a clear desire to make a reservation. As a result, you'll frequently attract visitors who are genuinely interested in booking.
How to ensure my hotel’s metasearch campaigns perform?
Showcase a competitive rate
Often travelers look for the best deals when booking a hotel. To incentivise them to book directly on your website, we recommend you to have at least the same rate as online travel agencies. If you can provide a better deal in direct it is even better. Especially when we talk about price comparison websites.
You have several options to promote your official rates and deals:
- Call out extensions (i.g. free wifi, free breakfast)
- Cancellation policies
- Member rates
You can highlight special offers in your Google Business Profile and make sure they are clearly visible. If customers have had a positive experience with your direct rates, they will be more likely to return on future trips.
A pleasant booking experience
Ensure a quick and easy buying journey on your website and booking engine for a great user experience. Keep your web design sleek, and uncluttered. With consistent branding and fluid, intuitive navigation, you’ll guide travelers to the “book now” button.
Today, 70% of Internet users visit your hotel’s website on mobile devices. Implement an adaptive design layout to ensure a smooth, pleasant navigation on all devices.
Also, 40% of visitors leave your website if your pages take longer than 3 seconds to load, so it’s critical to provide users with a fast loading website.
The trend is minimalistic, elegant and fast hotel websites that focus on the user experience, especially on your room pages. The objective is to make it easier for the traveler to choose to make a reservation on your official website.
How to determine if a campaign is successful?
The success of a metasearch campaign can be evaluated based on whether your campaign goals have been achieved and the return on investment. You can aim at several objectives:
- Gain direct bookings
- Get highly qualified traffic and optimize your customer acquisition cost.
- Optimize your hotel’s awareness.
The main indicators to follow to better adjust your campaigns:
- The impression share: related to the visibility of your official website rates. We recommend you aim for 100% impression share to make sure you are not missing any bookings.
- Price competitiveness: This data gives you visibility on your ability to show a better price, the same price or a more expensive price than OTA’s on your Google Hotel Ads campaigns.
- The conversion rate: the ratio between the number of reservations and the number of clicks on your Google Hotel Ads campaigns.
Note that the return of investment of your Google Hotel Ads can vary depending on the time period and the goals. You need to be able to track this data to measure the real impact of your campaign. To make sure to get the best results, you can work with a hotel digital marketing agency.
Google Hotel Ads offers a unique opportunity for hotels to increase their direct bookings and reduce their dependence on online travel agencies. By following the steps mentioned in this article, you can optimize your presence on Google Hotel Ads, attract more travelers and get them to book directly with you.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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