What are Google Hotel Ads? How can it drive visibility?

Nowadays most travelers start planning their trips by researching everything online.  Hence Google is the best platform for hotel owners and marketers when it comes to online visibility.  Google generates more traffic than any other search engine and no matter how small part of the information is related to travel, Google still makes it relevant in searches.

Therefore running regular Ads for your hotels, can help you gain significant traffic, which provides a great boost to hotel marketing.

So, what are Google Hotel Ads?

Google Hotel Ads is a meta-search engine operated by Google, specifically meant for hotels to allow them to display their real-time room availability, rates, and other booking options to users searching for travel and accommodation. 

Google enhances its hotel ads by integrating them with its other services such as its main search engine, Google Maps service, and Google Assistant. This enables the hotels to be showcased across desktops, tablets, or mobiles whenever a traveler searches for accommodation on Google Maps or even does a generic search for “hotels in Paris” or any other specified location in the world. 

How is Google Hotel Ads different from Google Ads?

Google Hotel ads are distinct from Google ads being that it is specifically designed for hotels.  It provides real-time information about the hotels and allows the users to compare the hotel rates with other traveling agencies offering bookings of the same hotel. 

Google Ads is based on relevant keywords and not linked to hotel availability. Advertisements are displayed to users who search for those specific keywords, with the hotel having to pay for the number of clicks generated. Therefore, we can say that Google Ads is for generating clicks, but Google Hotel Ads caters to generating bookings instead. In Google Hotel Ads the advertisement comes with hotel listings from various booking sources along with its own website rates, and the hotel advertisement will not be shown to the user in case it does not have available rooms.

How is Google Hotel Ads helpful?

Without Google Hotel ads, smaller or independent hotels can find it very challenging to be visible on the Google search list as big-scale hotels or online travel agencies (OTAs) often dominate the search results.

Google Hotel Ads is a metasearch engine that offers information about hotel discounts, availability, and other deals from other platforms including OTAs and hotel websites allowing the users to easily compare prices for the hotel. Where OTAs keep a percentage of the revenue generated from selling rooms on behalf of the hotel as its commission fee, Google Hotel Ads provides the opportunity to display the hotel’s own website on the Google search engine results thereby giving them the opportunity to have direct bookings from the users.

Where do the ads get displayed?

Google Hotel Ads service makes the hotel visible across several Google platforms such as Google search where the users will be able to see the hotel’s own website with the availability status for specific dates as well as the pricing list offered by other OTAs for that hotel.  Google Maps will also display the hotel along with any relevant details among its results when a user searches for that hotel, or hotels in general around that specific location on the map. Hotels under Google Hotel Ads will also be among the search results done via Google Assistant or Google Home.

What are the benefits of Google Hotel Ads?

  • Google Hotel Ads being a metasearch engine, helps increase visibility with better exposure as it receives significant traffic from users planning a trip and looking for accommodation across google platforms like Google Maps or Google Hotel Search. 
  • It helps generate more revenue via online bookings at a lower investment than other advertising channels.
  • Hotels can even skip OTAs and generate bookings directly from their own websites and save on the commissions that OTAs charge.
  • Bookings via the hotel website help hotel personnel be in direct contact with their guests via emails or messages which may even help build a loyal customer base.
  • Direct bookings also help promote the hotel website. The hotelier can have better control over it and provide various packages and deals or even upsell. They can also ask the guests to leave positive reviews on the hotel website directly which can increase the website’s visibility and pave the way for more direct bookings.

Which pricing model to choose in terms of visibility and cost-effectiveness?

Google Hotel Ads is a paid service based on an auction model, where the hotels bid for their advertisements. It also provides various pricing models such as the Cost per click (CPC) model, the Pay per stay (PPS) model, and the cost per acquisition (CPA) model. 

In cost per click model, a set click price has to be paid by the hotel for each click on the ad. The advantage of this model is that real-time bidding adjustment is possible as it is necessary for Google to adjust its click price regularly because of its dynamic ranking system. This model lets the hotel manage its visibility level better as the hotel can choose to pay more in order to achieve more visibility. The visibility level of the hotels with PPS or CPA models will be difficult to manage as the total control of visibility is left to Google instead. However, there is a higher risk in the CPC model as the hotels have to pay for the clicks irrespective of whether those clicks generate any booking for the hotels or not. 

In Pay per stay model, a fixed commission rate is calculated based on guests staying at the hotel and Google provides visibility to the hotel on the basis of the commission generated.  This is similar to the model followed by most OTAs where costs are only charged in case of completed bookings which eliminates the risk of cancellation. The hotels only have to pay if there’s an actual sale and revenue is generated; here cancellations are also taken into account. 

In the Cost per acquisition model, the fixed commission rate is calculated based on the bookings made, where the hotel has to pay in advance irrespective of whether that guest eventually stayed at the hotel or not. In this case, costs also apply to canceled bookings.

So, a hotelier can choose which model would be better suited according to the visibility, costs, and requirements for the hotel ad campaign. If the hotelier is cost-conscious, PPS and CPA models are the more cost-effective choice given that the hotel will have to pay only after the booking or guest staying is completed, therefore there is very little risk involved as compared to the CPC model where the hotel has to pay before the revenue is even generated. This means that with these price models, one has to either pay too much for higher exposure or risk losing visibility and the chance for direct bookings by paying little. It is up to the hotelier whether they want to risk spending on the CPC model and choose to be more visible and active in the dynamic market or choose to play safe with the PPS and CPA model. Regardless of which pricing model to choose, the efficacy of Google Hotel Ads is undeniable.

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