Guest post: Increase your share of direct bookings with Google Hotel Ads

Guest post by Eline van de Ven of Adchieve

The Google Hotel platform, part of Google Travel, is now one of the biggest price comparison websites, with millions of users looking for hotels, B&Bs, vacation rentals and more. In this guest post, Adchieve explains how Google Hotel Ads can help increase your reach and direct bookings.

Guest journey and touchpoints

The average traveler has around 250 touchpoints during the guest journey when booking their next holiday. The online information overload makes it crucial to decide at which moments in the traveler’s guest journey you want to pop up on their screen. Keeping track of your guests’ touchpoints and optimising each step along the way will not only help you gather data, it will also lead to more direct sales.

The Google hotel links target users intending to book, using the words “hotel” or “accommodation” in their search terms, and who are nearing the end of their journey. These users know where they want to go, but not where they want to stay.

Your Google Business Profile: the more details, the better

In your Google Business profile (formerly Google My Business), you can display up to date information and images, respond to reviews and gain insights that can help you develop your business. This is the basis and key factor for success with GMB. It allows you to highlight what makes you unique and showcase your business to potential guests. As Google says, “Relevance is as important as reach”. It can be difficult for your hotel to be seen in the messy middle, so expressing your unique values and staying consistent along the guest journey can drive your results. It helps Google’s selection of when to show your listing and increases the likelihood of selling your rooms. Moreover, people will now be able to find your hotel in Google Maps, creating an extra touch point.

Low risk with paid hotel ads

Google gives Hotel Ads an increasingly prominent place in the search results, so not advertising on Hotel Ads would be a missed opportunity. The main advantage is achieving more bookings at lower costs. You can choose a Cost per Acquisition (CPA) bidding strategy that allows you to only pay a commission based on actual stays, leading to low risk and high rewards! The Commission per Conversion (CPC%) strategy is also available in these campaigns. With the CPC% bidding strategy, you set a percentage of the total booking price (including tourist taxes and other surcharges) as the bid. This strategy allows you to be more in control as an online marketer because bid modifiers can be applied and adjusted.

Google advises hotel owners to work with integration partners like Adchieve. Meta-search being inventory-triggered, an integration partner can help you set up a dynamic feed that sends the right prices and availability to Google.

Drive organic traffic with Free booking links

The free booking links introduced by Google enable hotels to boost their visibility and subsequently increase direct bookings on their own website through this free source of additional traffic. Free booking links now show up directly on the Search results page and Google Maps, helping travel partners extend their reach and giving consumers a more comprehensive set of options. Communicate your accurate updates through local posts, such as changes due to COVID-19 or special and unique features of your hotel.

The CPC and commission clicks are now shown along with the free links of property owners, allowing for competition between them and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).

Extras that can make the difference

Some additional extensions to include in your Google Hotel advertising plan can attract potential guests to click on your link instead of an OTAs. The first, room bundles, is a solution that gives you the opportunity to display multiple accommodation types, including their prices. This enables you to provide potential guests with more options that could match their requirements. Furthermore, you occupy more space on the screen, ensuring that you will be showcased more prominently than the other providers.

Adding extensions, showcasing your logo, and providing extras such as included breakfast, free cancellation or other policies can also convince potential guests to click on your link.

More touchpoints lead to more interaction
Especially when you want to reach users in their orientation stage, adding extra possible touch points can help make them aware of your brand. Property Promotion Ads are shown above the organic results in Maps and Hotel Search. Google offers one or two ad placements per listing, which makes them more expensive because their placements are scarce. Property Promotion Ads are shown whenever a traveler submits a search for a destination, like “Hotel Amsterdam” or “Vacation Rental Denmark.” By using this, advertisers can reach travelers higher in the funnel, allowing them to introduce their brand to new users.

There are numerous ways to optimize your Google Business listings and your use of extensions, Here is a summary of this article and the best practices:

  • Include crucial basic information and keep your free Google Business Profile up to date
  • Showcase your unique selling points and differentiate yourself
  • Make use of free booking links to drive traffic to your website
  • Combine this with paid links & search ads to be present at every touchpoint
  • Consider property promotion ads to stand out in the crowd
  • Use room bundles to boost the chances of matching a room with a guest’s wishes
Curious about Google Hotel Ads? Adchieve is happy to tell you more in their white paper.

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