Where do you think most people start planning their travel? Booking.com, Expedia or TripAdvisor? Probably none of them.
When we start a research on any subject, almost everyone’s starting point is Google. When it comes to search traffic, Google is a leader with 4.5 billion searches per day. This is 77% of all searches made on the Internet. Travel and accommodation related searches are, actually, a small part of this percentage. However, 65% of hotel bookings made through metasearch platforms are made via Google Hotel Ads. Thus, Google Hotel Ads is proven to be the most profitable metasearch platform and a sales channel that shouldn’t be ignored.
1. What is Google Hotel Ads?
When launched in 2011, Google Hotel Ads was first known as Google Hotel Finder. Google Hotel Ads offers an alternative way of booking by helping travelers evaluate pricing, availability, booking options, and much more. As an accommodation, by displaying your price and availability on Google Hotel Ads, you can reach countless users on multiple platforms. Google displays your room prices in direct comparison with travel agencies and allows you to promote your property via computers, tablets, and smartphones running Google applications.
2. How does Google Hotel Ads work?
By providing up-to-date information about your price, availability, and room types to Google, you can present your property to potential guests who are actively looking for accommodation options on Google Search or Google Maps. For example, if a user makes a general search like “Hotel in Berlin”, they will see a map showing hotels in Berlin, with their prices and availability. When the user clicks on a property that draws their attention, they can see property descriptions, photos, and comments on the Hotel Details Card. All of this information is collected from your Google My Business page. The Hotel Details Card also shows the user all the available booking options and best prices comparatively. When the user decides which property is best suited to their needs, they can click on the hotel and are redirected to the property’s website to complete the reservation.
3. What is Google My Business?
The way to use Google Hotel Ads is through Google My Business. Google My Business is a free registry that lists all your property information and makes it easy for travelers to get the information they need. As mentioned above, all the information on your Hotel Details Card is pulled from your Google My Business page. This includes the address, phone number, website, Google Maps location, photos, guest reviews, and other information about your property. If your information is up-to-date and complete, your property is more likely to be ranked higher in Google searches. Therefore, keeping your information up-to-date, the quality of your visuals, and the comments left by your guests gain importance.
In order to register, all you need to do is to click the “Start Now” button on the Google My Business page. Afterward, you can complete your registration by answering a few basic questions like the name, location, and services of your property.
4. How to set up Google Hotel Ads?
Once you take care of Google My Business, it is now time to set up Google Hotel Ads and to start increasing your room occupancy, and drive revenue. The setup consists of three main steps. First, you need to provide Google with a current and accurate price and availability feed. Second, you need to connect your price and availability to your Google Hotel Ads. Finally, it’s time to start a campaign to activate your property. To complete these three steps and set up your Google Hotel Ads successfully, you require a Google Hotel Center account. Thankfully, Google is integrated with HotelRunner! Instead of juggling between guides, which are something Google is great at creating –you can find comprehensive and easy-to-follow guides here- and creating more accounts than you want, you can get help from HotelRunner to complete your Google Hotel Ads setup.
5. How can you benefit from Google Hotel Ads?
According to Google, 60% of leisure travelers and 55% of business travelers use Google’s search engine to plan their trips. This means a lot of traffic. When a user clicks on your property, they will be redirected to the official website of your property. As a result, the direct, qualified traffic that flows to your website increases significantly.
By the time a user clicks on your property and is redirected to your website, they have already selected certain filters, like price range, availability, location, services, and scoring. So the user is already a highly qualified potential guest even before they reach your booking page. So the net revenue that you generate from your potential guest will be higher than a standard online travel agency visitor.
Remember that, there are no resellers or intermediaries between you and your guests during this process. As a property owner, you are the one who manages the payment collection, the booking, and the subsequent processes. This means that you have access to your guests’ data and have the opportunity to improve the relationship after their stay. It is entirely up to you to keep the relationship alive, and strengthen it with the marketing activities and loyalty programs that you will develop later on.
6. What is the Google Hotel Ads cost model?
Properties participating in the Google Hotel Ads program via HotelRunner only pay a commission proportional to the total price of the reservation. Google commissions are paid through HotelRunner for the convenience of the property.
7. How much does Google Hotel Ads cost on HotelRunner?
HotelRunner is the authorized business partner of the Google Hotel Ads Commission Program globally. Therefore, you can pay Google commissions through HotelRunner at no additional cost. Moreover, unlike the Cost Per Click (CPC) model on metasearch systems, you pay only after the reservation is realized thanks to the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) model.
You will just pay a commission to Google for confirmed bookings which is a flat 15% (taxes, charges, cancellations, and no-shows excluded). You do not pay any commission for canceled bookings. If the guest cancels their booking on your website, HotelRunner will report it to Google directly and no commission will be charged. You will not pay HotelRunner any fees for this subscription other than the commissions paid to Google.
🎉 Bonus: What are the Free Booking Links?
Google has recently announced that it is making it partially free to appear on Hotels booking links. With the new free booking links, Google allows hotels to display their rates and availability across Google and Google Maps. With this new feature, Google displays hotels in the same principle of a standard Google search. Paid ads of a hotel are displayed at the top while free booking links are on the bottom to give travelers more comprehensive options.
By displaying your property with both paid ads and free links, Google gives you the opportunity to increase your property’s visibility to reach a wider audience. Thus, you only pay a commission if a traveler books a room through a paid link.
As an official worldwide Google Hotel Ads Commission Program partner, HotelRunner supports Google’s new free booking links functionality as well. When you subscribe and connect to Google Hotel Ads via HotelRunner, your free booking links also will be automatically displayed.
With Google Hotel Ads integration that you can start with a single click on HotelRunner, you can display your property on Google and Google Maps, and start receiving bookings directly from these platforms.
Click here to start your Google Hotel Ads integration and to start receiving bookings from Google now.