In a recent blog, we looked at the effectiveness of metasearch as an advertising channel and highlighted how Google has become one of a handful of dominant players in travel metasearch. Google is now making it easier than ever for travellers to find and book a hotel room in their ideal location as well as giving property owners the perfect opportunity to reach potential customers when they are actively looking to book. So in this month’s blog, we thought we would delve into how to setup Google Hotel Ads for your property to stand out from the crowd and give yourself the best chance of securing that all-important direct booking.
If you’re unfamiliar with Google Hotel Ads and how it works, when a traveller is looking for accommodation either in Google search or maps, Google collates and displays a list of all available rooms and rates from a variety of different sources. It’s important to note a couple of things here: your rates, availability and room types will be displayed in the search results, regardless of whether you are advertising, based on listings from online travel agencies (OTAs). However, your website direct booking rate will ONLY be displayed if you have paid to advertise.
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.
To the uninitiated, Google Hotel Ads setup can seem like a complex process and for this reason, Google recommends using one of its select network of integration partners to help you get started.
Obviously, properties wanting to take advantage of the instant booking facility need to have a direct booking tool available on their website as well as having the relevant data feeds set up. Once you are setup on the system, your property will be highlighted with the label ‘Official Website’ which will immediately help you to stand out.
One of the main things you can do to give yourself the best chance to compete with the OTAs is to add lots of high-quality photos of your property. In addition, it’s even more important to monitor and respond to guest reviews as these are prominently displayed in Google Hotel Ads.
Another great tip is to keep an eye on your competitors in GHA. Take a look at how they are pricing their rooms, what amenities they are listing, any offers they might be promoting and their overall marketing approach. This may help you to refine and finesse your listing even further and give you a better chance of winning the booking.
There is also an additional option to enable the Book on Google feature in Google Hotel Ads. This gives users the option to book directly within Google’s interface rather than being directed to your website. This means the complete transaction, including payment, would take place through Google. While this would obviously decrease the traffic coming to your website, it could increase your conversion rate, as there are even fewer steps in the process.
Google Hotel Ads is definitely worth considering as part of your distribution channel mix. Case studies and testimonials from properties who have used it show some incredible ROI results.
In addition, it offers the opportunity for travellers to book directly with you, bypassing the online travel agencies (OTAs), allowing you to capture more bookings direct, on your own website. Shortening the path to getting a direct booking is what is making metasearch advertising an irresistible proposition when it comes to your marketing budget. It’s a seamless process and conversion is high.
Not only that but if your guest books direct with you, you save OTA commission fees and you retain ownership of your guest’s data.
If you’re wondering how to setup Google Hotel Ads for your hotel, motel, bed and breakfast or vacation rental let the team at HiRUM help get you started. HiRUM is a proud GHA integration partner and we’ve helped many properties increase their visibility and secure more direct bookings.
We can also help to make sure that your website has an effective booking engine to take full advantage of this new opportunity and ensure you convert your lookers to bookers! In addition, our industry-leading channel manager integrates with all the major travel metasearch engines and OTAs.
If you would like to explore how metasearch advertising can work for your property, contact the marketing team at HiRUM and let us help get you started.
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