Overview of Google Hotel Ads
Originally called Google Hotel Finder, Google Hotel Ads are one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to increase bookings to a hotel or rental property. With nearly 4 billion searches per day, Google continues to outmatch its competitors; accounting for almost 80% of the world’s web search traffic.
With such high volume in traffic, Google monetizes its services through paid advertising. There are display ads, search ads, merchant ads, hotels ads, and more! Let’s go over What Google Hotel Ads are and how they can best be used to increase bookings.
What are Google Hotel Ads?
Google Hotel Ads is a metasearch platform within the Google ecosystem. It surfaces these ads to provide future travelers information about hotel availability and pricing, along with opportunities to compare booking options between and among other third party platforms (Expedia, Kayak, Booking, etc).
What do Google Hotel Ads Look Like?
Let’s try an example. Say I’m looking for a hotel in downtown Philadelphia. I might search “hotels in philadelphia” to start off. This is what gets shown.
We’ll see a portal displayed that shows many hotels in a given radius. Once a user enters this portal, we’ll see a change in display
Here we can change dates, add filters, compare pricing & locations, and expand hotel details. Here are some notable filters:
- Guest Rating
- Hotel Class
- Known Brands
- Vacation Rental
Once the user has added the filters, they can even choose to sort by search relevance, price, and hotel rating.
In the screenshot above, you can see two great Google Hotel Ad examples created by ROOST East Market, and Motto By Hilton Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square.
Why is Motto By Hilton Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square listed twice? You’ll notice a small black “ad” tag in the top left of the listing. One Motto display is a Google Hotel Ad, the other is an organic listing featured within the platform.
Since ROOST is a smaller business with less organic traffic and resources, they’ve upped their positioning via Google Hotel Ads. Their organic listing is sitting at 52 out of 159 hotel search results in Philadelphia (that’s page 3 of the results).
Using Google Hotel Ads, they were bumped to #1, ahead of the Hilton hotels.
Google Hotel Ads vs Google Search Ads
Not familiar with Google Search Ads? Check out our guide to Google Saerch Ads to help you understand the platform before continuing.
A hotel can make use of both Google Search Ads AND Google Hotel Ads if they’d like. You can see an example of what that looks like here:
Hilton is advertising both display ads AND hotel ads. But from a user experience perspective, the more engaging digital ads are in the Google Hotel Ads portal. There you find images, prices, deals, amenities and more.
Google Search Ads are triggered by keywords. In the search ads, you find mostly text. This is less engaging, especially when searching for a location to stay. For this reason you’ll mainly see third party directories (booking, expedia, hotels.com) advertising in the display ad section.
Google Hotel Ads are tied directly to a Hotel’s Google My Business account and are not triggered by keywords, rather used within Google’s Hotel Finder platform.
One of the most important and distinctive features of Google Hotel Ads is ads that correspond to availability. If there is no availability in a given date range, your ad will not be shown.
In summary, Google Search Ads are for generating clicks, Google Hotel Ads are for generating bookings.
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Setting Up Google Hotel Ads
When you create your first Google Hotel Ads campaign, you can choose between two cost functionalities:
Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Model
Just like Google Search Ads, hotel business owners will pay for each click a given advertisement has generated. Everytime someone clicks on their ad it takes the user to a hotel booking engine landing page where users are able to reserve a room.
The hotel pays a fee for each click using a bidding algorithm similar to Google Search Ads. There are two ways this can be done, shown below
Not only can you set a maximum bid limit, but you can also have more control by using multipliers to your max bid for specific users. You can bid more on a click if it’s a shorter stays (which have a better conversion rate); and by the same logic, bid less on longer stays, or users from Canada, or more on mobile users, etc.
For a full explanation on this, check out this video here
Similar to the online travel agency (OTA) system, hotel owners have an option to online pay to set up conversions directly through Google rather than their own landing page booking portal. When users book through Google, the hotel pays a commission fee.
In this model, you only pay for successful bookings.
Costs & Budgets for Google Hotel Ads
When it comes to cost, no one has a better breakdown than Google. Check out the video below to get a full understanding of the billing system
Tips on Optimizing Google Hotel Ads
Just as it’s important to optimize your Google Search Ads, it’s equally important to do the same with your Google Hotel Ads.
Let’s rattle through some quick tips:
- Keep a clean & easy to navigate website/booking platform
- Use high-quality photos
- Write detailed descriptions of the rooms and amenities
- Optimize for mobile users
- Include a best rate guarantee
- Maintain room rate consistency across all platforms (OTA, Google, Directories, etc)
- Incentivize direct booking
- Optimize your Google My Business profile
- Calculate ROI at least once per month
Keep in mind, Google Hotel Ads are just one way to help bring traffic to your business. As long as you’re constantly learning and upgrading your approach to digital marketing, you’re sure to find some success.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of Google Hotel Ads, try learning more about:
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