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Unpacking Google Hotel Search: A Comprehensive Guide for Accommodation Owners

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Posted by HiRUM Software Solutions - 10/04/2024
Google hotels booking system helping accommodation on the Gold Coast | HiRUM

Google is making it easier than ever for accommodation owners to showcase their property to millions of travellers as soon as they start their travel search. Whether you’re running a large hotel or a small boutique property, a bed and breakfast or vacation rental, the one place you can guarantee that potential guests will start their search is on Google. Showing up in Google Hotel Search has to be a vital element of your marketing strategy if you want to increase your visibility and bookings. From getting your property listed on Google maps to adding free booking links to your listings to drive more direct bookings and navigating the Google Hotel Ads landscape, we’ll explain all the elements and what you need to do to get started in this comprehensive guide.

What is Google Hotels?

Google Hotels is an innovative search and booking platform that seamlessly integrates with Google’s search engine, allowing potential guests to find hotel listings directly through Google Search and Maps. It is a part of Google Travel, a metasearch tool designed to consolidate flights, hotels and trip planning tools in one place. This platform provides an intuitive and user-friendly interface where travellers can compare prices, amenities, and locations of various hotels, making informed decisions based on their preferences and budget.

For accommodation owners, Google Hotels enables you to showcase your hotel in local search results on Google.com and in Google Maps, across desktop and all mobile devices. Travellers will be able to view your listing when they are actively looking for accommodation in your area. This represents a golden opportunity to increase visibility and bookings in an increasingly competitive market.

How Has Google Hotel Search Changed?

Google Hotel Search, now known as Google Hotels and previously as Google Hotel Finder, has been around since 2011 and got a major overhaul in 2018 with enhanced hotel search, map functionality and a cleaner, more user-friendly look with lots of property images. Since then it has continued to evolve to become one of the most widely used search platforms

When you consider the travel research process for the average consumer, the first thing they usually do is a Google search on their destination. With a fully completed profile on Google Hotel search accommodation businesses can not only increase their visibility in Google searches but also drive more direct traffic to your own website with a free booking link showing real time rates and availability. Properties wanting to take advantage of the free booking link need to have a direct booking tool available on their website.

google hotel booking system displaying results for Melbourne | HiRUM

How Does Google Hotel Search Work For Hotels Or Property Owners?

For accommodation owners looking to tap into this lucrative platform, the process involves several key steps:

  1. Google My Business: To control the information displayed about your property on Google Hotels, you first need to claim your business on Google Business profile and complete your profile. This free tool allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including searches and maps. Accurate, detailed information about your property, including name, address, contact details, and photos, can significantly impact your visibility.
  2. Share Your Rates: When your Google Business profile is complete, your property will appear on Google maps and search but with no prices or availability. Showing your rates, availability and booking links is where you’ll get real value from Google Hotel Search. This is where a Google Hotels Connectivity Partner becomes invaluable.
  3. Find A Google Connectivity Partner: Working with an authorised Google connectivity partner is the easiest and safest way to ensure your prices and availability are listed correctly and updated in real time. Google has partnered with a select network of integration partners across the globe to provide direct hotel connectivity to Google Hotels. HiRUM is proud to be one of the partners chosen by Google, enabling us to list your property directly on this powerful platform.
  4. Provide High-Quality Content: Once you’re set up, focus on providing high-quality content about your property. This includes professional photographs, detailed descriptions of amenities and services, and up-to-date information on availability and pricing. The more comprehensive and appealing your listing is, the more likely you are to attract bookings.
  5. Optimise for Best Performance: Monitor your property’s performance on Google Hotels and use the insights to optimise your listing. This might involve adjusting your rates, updating your availability promptly, or improving your photos and descriptions based on guest feedback.
  6. Leverage Reviews: Positive reviews can significantly impact your property’s attractiveness to potential guests. Encourage satisfied guests to leave reviews on Google, and take the time to respond to reviews, showing that you value guest feedback.

By providing Google with up to date information on your room types, pricing and availability, Google Hotels will display your property’s direct booking room rates alongside the rates found on OTAs (Online Travel Agents). Your property will also show an ‘Official Site’ badge on your listing highlighting your direct booking link.

Google hotel search showing official site badge

If you want to elevate your visibility in the listings even more, you can also take the next step and pay to be featured in the sponsored listings at the top of the page through Google Hotel Ads.

How Google Hotel Ads Work

Google Hotel Ads operate on a model that showcases your hotel’s rates and availability in real-time to users across Google’s platforms, including Google Search, Maps, and the Assistant. When a user searches for accommodation in a specific area, Google Hotel Ads display your hotel directly in the search results, offering a direct link to book a room. This visibility significantly increases the chances of converting searches into bookings.

The paid results for Google Hotel Ads show at the top of the search. It’s important to note a couple of things here: OTA’s will display your rates, availability and room types in these paid search results, with the option to book through them. However, your website direct booking link will ONLY be displayed in these paid ad results if you have a connectivity partner such as HiSITE to connect to Google Hotel Ads.

With Google Hotel Ads you are not selling your rooms directly as you would with an OTA. You are effectively paying to display your own hotel website or booking engine alongside the OTA’s.

It’s also not just hotels that can benefit from this. They also list holiday homes and vacation rentals under a separate tab.

The Bidding Process

At its core, Google Hotel Ads function through a bidding process, similar to Google Ads. You can opt for a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model, meaning you either pay when someone clicks on your ad or when a booking is made through the ad, respectively. The bidding process allows you to control how competitive you want to be in the market, with higher bids generally resulting in better positioning and visibility among search results.

Property owners choose what type of bid strategy they want to use from the following list:

  • Max CPC bid (fixed or percent): You pay when a traveller clicks on your ad. For the CPC bid strategies, you can adjust your bid by factors such as device type, traveller location, length of stay, and other factors.
  • Enhanced CPC (ECPC): Automates bid adjustments for a Max CPC bidding strategy.
  • Commission (per conversion): You pay only when a traveller books your hotel, depending on the payment model you choose (see section below).
  • Commission (per stay): You pay only when a traveller completes a stay they booked through hotel ads. Available only to select partners (see section below).

Changes To Google Hotel Ads Bidding Strategies

Google has also recently announced that in October 2024 it will be retiring the commission based bidding strategies listed above in favour of AI-powered strategies like tROAS (Target Return On Ad Spend) and Performance Max for Travel Goals.

Performance Max ads make it easier and quicker to create ads across multiple formats that will be served on all Google channels and inventory including maps, search and YouTube.

How Much Does Google Hotel Ads Cost?

There are a number of factors that will influence how much you pay. These include things such as how competitive the market is. So for example if you are in a big city with lots of other hotels competing for visibility on Google Hotels, your bid strategy will most certainly be different from hotels in smaller locations.

How To Set Up Google Hotel Ads

Setting up Google Hotel Ads can seem daunting but breaking it down into steps can simplify the process:

1. Google My Business Listing

Ensure your hotel is listed on Google My Business. This listing is crucial as it feeds information to your Google Hotel Ads, including your hotel’s name, address, and phone number.

2. Working with an Integration Partner

To streamline the process of managing your ads, inventory and bids, it’s highly recommended to work with an Integration Partner like HiRUM. These partners specialise in connecting your hotel’s booking system to Google Hotel Ads, ensuring that your rates and availability are updated in real-time. Integration Partners can also offer invaluable insights and strategies to optimise your bids and improve your ad’s performance.

3. Setting Up Listings

With your integration partner’s help, you’ll need to create your hotel listings for the ads. The property listing feed is an XML file that contains detailed information about your property, including photos, amenities, room types, and unique selling points. The richer and more accurate the information, the better your hotel will perform on the platform.

Benefits Of Investing In Google Hotel Ads

Google Hotel Ads offers a plethora of benefits to hotel owners, including:

  • Increased Visibility: Your property gets exposed to a vast audience of potential guests already using Google for travel planning.
  • Direct Bookings: The platform drives direct bookings, reducing dependency on third-party booking sites and associated commissions.
  • Targeted Advertising: Google Hotel Ads give you the ability to target specific types of travellers, dates, and even geographic locations. This ensures that your ad spend is targeted and effective
  • Performance Analytics: Access to detailed analytics allows hoteliers to understand their market performance, guest preferences, and booking patterns, enabling data-driven decisions.
  • Flexibility in Bidding: You control your advertising spend by choosing between CPC and CPA models, tailoring your strategy to your budget and goals.
  • Own The Data: Driving more direct booking through Google Hotel Search also means that you retain your customer data for remarketing. This enables you to develop a strong relationship with the guest from the beginning with the opportunity for you to upsell to the guest prior to arrival and to seamlessly communicate with them without the need to go through a third-party OTA.

Case studies and testimonials from properties who have used it show some incredible ROI results. Evidence and feedback from property owners on the effectiveness of metasearch advertising are extremely encouraging, particularly in terms of direct to website clicks and conversion rates.

 

HiRUM is your Google Hotels Connectivity Partner

Google Hotel Search including Google Hotels and Hotel Ads represent an invaluable tool in a hotelier’s digital marketing arsenal. By understanding how the platform works, setting up listings thoughtfully and leveraging the expertise of integration partners like HiRUM, hotel owners can significantly enhance their property’s visibility, attract more bookings and ultimately boost revenue. In an industry where online presence directly correlates with success, embracing Google Hotel Search is not just an option but a necessity for forward-thinking accommodation owners.

How To Get Started

Google has partnered with a select network of integration partners across the globe to provide direct connectivity to Google Hotels. HiRUM is proud to be one of the partners chosen by Google, enabling us to list your property directly on this powerful platform.

 


Contact HiRUM and get your property listed on Google Hotel Ads today!

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How To Set Up Google Hotel Ads For Your Property

https://www.hirum.com.au/blog/travel-meta-search-engines-explained/

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