Off-season, high season, shoulder season – there’s currently not a more effective, high converting ad program that will deliver direct bookings than Google Hotel Ads. Most B&B’s and independent inns & hotels had no real access to Google Hotel Ads because they lacked the expertise, technology partner and budget to meet the program requirements. More options are becoming available, so here’s a primer.
What are Google Hotel Ads?
Google Hotel Ads is an advertising unit in Google that displays your booking engine’s direct nightly rates and availability alongside OTA rates and availability. When a guest uses Google Hotel Search or searches for your property, Google Hotel Ads display a direct booking option with your property’s rates. When clicked, the guest is taken directly to your property’s booking engine to complete the booking.
How is Google Hotel Ads Different from Google (keyword) Ads?
There are no keywords or ad copy associated with Google Hotel Ads. Additionally, Google Hotel Ads are tied to your property’s inventory and only show when your property has availability that matches the searcher’s desired dates. Therefore clicks aren’t wasted when you’re already booked. Ultimately these two ad types serve two different purposes. Google Hotel Ads are extremely “bottom of the funnel” or “transactional” in nature, whereas Google Ads offer awareness & branding/messaging in search results.
How Does Google Hotel Ads Work?
Google requires working with a technology provider to connect Google Hotel Ads to a feed of rates & availability from the property’s booking engine. Unfortunately, most of the lower tier booking engine providers used by B&B’s and independent inns & hotels lack the connectivity. Until recently, a property would have to work through a connectivity partner to connect to Google Hotel Ads which would either incur thousands of dollars in startup costs or require the property to pay commissions on bookings (sometimes both!). Now, agency partners are offering different models like flat-fee management CPC pricing which doesn’t incur a commission.
7 Reasons You Need Google Hotel Ads for Your B&B or Independent Hotel
- Compete with OTAs for Direct Bookings in Google
Finally – B&B’s and small properties can compete directly with OTAs in Google. Google Hotel Ads allow small properties the opportunity to capture direct bookings from Google results where OTAs have had almost exclusive placement.
This study of Google Hotel Ads campaigns reveals some pretty exceptional click through rates, conversion rates and ROI. This is due to the fact that the ads only display when the property has availability, and the click happens after the potential guests sees what the rate will be alongside your property’s reviews and amenities.
- Reach potential guests at every stage of their journey to making a booking
Google Hotel Ads are displayed in Google Hotel Search results (ie. the map of hotels in Google search results), which reaches guests as they research accommodation options. Google Hotel Ads also display in the property’s business listing information or “knowledge panel” in searches for the property name, which helps to fend off OTA competition right at this critical booking phase of the guest booking journey.
- Clicks go directly to your booking engine
As opposed to OTA bookings, maintaining the guest relationship from the start offers multiple benefits for the property and the guest. By booking direct, the guest has the opportunity to purchase add-ons or extras, the property owns the customer service experience from start to finish, and the property also has the opportunity to opt the guest in to future marketing activities.
- Works with your existing booking engine
Google Hotel Ads works with nearly any booking engine. Connect directly through your booking engine or an integration partner. A 3rd option is to work with a marketing partner that manages this process for you.
Since Google Hotel Ads connect directly to your property’s rates & availability, they work even in your off-season. If a guest is looking for dates during the next high-season, your hotel ads will work even if you’re closed for the season.
Since the clicks come directly to the booking engine, Google Analytics or any other analytics program will be able to report on bookings made via Google Hotel Ads. An agency partner can also provide reporting on campaign performance and ROI metrics as well as suggestions for improvement.
Let’s see, compete with OTAs, get direct bookings, own the guest experience from the start, and get a great ROI. Google Hotel Ads can be a remarkably successful way to take back direct bookings from OTAs and increase revenue.