In today’s competitive hospitality industry, as a hotelier, it’s essential for you to get more traffic from Google as part of a strategy to attract direct bookings. Apart from helping you decrease your OTA dependency, it also helps you save on commission. Yes, we are talking about the importance of Google Hotel Ads (GHA) here. And to achieve this, you must increase your hotel’s visibility on Google Ads.
What are Google Hotel Ads?
In 2010, Google started showing hotel information with sponsored hotel prices in Google Maps. Since then, the company has expanded Google Hotel ads to more than 150 countries on Google.com and Google Maps, helping travelers browse hotels on mobile devices and spot hotel deals. According to Google, in the first six months of 2018, this has helped its hotel ad partners (participant hotels) across the globe receive 65% more leads year over year.
With Google Hotel Ads metasearch platform, you can display your hotel rates on Google – across desktops, tablets and mobile phones. Most importantly, potential bookers can see your hotel rates in direct comparison to OTAs on their Google search page. If your rates are attractive enough, they will book directly with you.
Now, you may ask how is this different from other metasearch platforms. Here is the answer – around 4.5 billion searches are made on Google per day, accounting to around 77% of the world’s total search traffic. Even though searches for hotels is just a small percentage of the total search volume, the number is still overwhelming.
Here are some important stats to consider –
- Google Hotel Ads, that distributes hotel prices in real time, now represents 65% of hotel bookings coming from metasearch engines.
- In 2018, with a 150% growth compared to the 26% penetration in 2017, Google Hotel Ads has now emerged as the most profitable metasearch platform for hoteliers, above Trivago and others.
That’s how Google outsmarts other metasearch sites and that’s why you must increase your hotel visibility on Google Ads.
How does this whole thing work?
When travelers look for hotels on Google by keying in “Hotel in New York”, they will get to see a search result page provided by Google, which would include several hotels. They need to use filters to set check-in date, checkout date, number of occupants, and most importantly the price range they prefer. Plus, they also need to filter guest rating and amenities.
Once, they are done with setting filters, Google will then redirect them to another page – a list of hotels matching with their selection criteria. Now here, if you have done your bidding properly, they will get to see your hotel’s name along with other available hotels in the same area.
If they find your pricing attractive, they will click on your hotel. From here, they will be taken to a page where they can find your property’s description, images, amenities, services and guest reviews, etc. Most importantly, they will also be able to compare your hotel prices that are mentioned on your brand website with OTAs. Ultimately, if you offer them lower rates and extra amenities, they will click on the website icon and will land on your website booking engine to book directly with you.
Benefits for you
You get to increase your hotel’s online visibility to a wide range of audience. People will be able to find you while doing their initial round of research on Google. And then, you stand a chance to generate more direct booking, with less commission pay-out.
Increased direct traffic and revenue
Google Hotel Ads Commission Program (GHACP) runs on cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model. Booking commission is somewhere between 10% to 15% to Google per every confirmed booking, which is much less when compared to OTA commission. Moreover, booking cancellation ratio through GHA is around 13%. This is far below compared to around 20% to 40% cancellations that happen with OTA booking. All these add up to more room revenue and increased profitability.
How to start?
First, you need to create your hotel’s account (free listing) on Google My Business page. Provide all the information that potential guests might look for – including room types, amenities, images, description, etc. This is important as GHA pulls all this information from your page to show them to your audience during their research phase. Once, you are done with this initial page setup, work on your Google reviews. Because reviews do influence a potential guest booking decision. Then comes the challenge with maintaining rate parity. Do take a look at your competitors’ pricing and how your OTA partners are selling your rooms before you tweak your pricing.
Now, is that enough? No, clearly not. With GHA, you can go ahead and bid to get ranked in Google search. But what about attracting guests to your website? What about direct booking. Because ultimately, you want to generate more bookings? This can’t be done unless you have the right combination of hospitality technology solutions like a smart cloud-based Hotel PMS that comes integrated with a booking engine which is a certified Google Hotel Ads Commission Program partner.