How to Increase Bookings with Google Hotel Ads

June 28, 2022 Mihaela Lica Butler

Google Hotel Ads is a paid advertising service that connects hotels with travellers with an intent to book accommodation. They benefit more than hotels of all sizes and hotel chains: connectivity partners, agencies, and vacation rental partners are also eligible to use Google Hotel Ads.

Still, the most significant benefits are for hoteliers and not for agencies or connectivity partners:

  • more direct bookings straight from Google Travel, Maps, Search, Google Business Profile, and other Google advertising channels;
  • better visibility for the hotel and increased brand awareness;
  • performance data and insights that help hotels improve the customer experience and other marketing parameters.

Google Hotel Ads serve to display room inventory availability for any type of vacation accommodation, including hotels, vacation rentals, and campsites.

The most important advantage for the advertisers is that Google will send the customers straight to the landing page where the direct booking happens when the users click on an ad.

Hotel advertisers can use all the ad analytics data (performance data and insights) to refine future campaigns. In addition, advertisers remain in control of the data where privacy is concerned.

Google Hotel Ads


Free Booking Links

Running Hotel Ads depends on room availability and pricing and will require a connectivity partner: property management system (PMS), channel manager, CRS, booking engine, or a marketing agency. The connectivity partner will enable hoteliers to run "free booking links" in the Google hotel booking module alongside other ads. These links can appear anywhere during the customer journey: search, maps, etc.

Unlike paid ads, free booking links deliver free traffic to a hotel's website, and hoteliers can run them on Google even without opting to advertise. However, suppose some hoteliers are not using free booking links. In that case, they are wasting the opportunity of showing live room availability and competitive pricing across all Google search channels on the desktop and mobile.

Maintaining an advantageous position in Google search for free booking links requires some effort. Several ranking factors determine which links are first shown to users:

  • consumer preference;
  • value;
  • landing page experience;
  • historical accommodation pricing accuracy, compliant with Google's Price Accuracy Policy.

These factors alone influence rankings for free booking links regardless of whether you participate in the Google Hotel Ads program or not. So, for good rankings, hoteliers must optimize their booking links, starting with the landing page: speed, navigation, prominent price display, images (or video), and information.

Hotel Ads and the Customer Journey

Hotel Ads reach guests during their customer journey. Some travellers may only be researching a destination, and others already know where they want to go and what type of hotel they want to book.

For example, when the traveller knows the destination but not the hotel, she may type in Search or Maps something like "hotel in Tel Aviv." In this case, things get competitive because many hotels in Tel Aviv will bid on the keywords "hotel in Tel Aviv." The bid for the top of the page for these keywords is currently €1.74, but it can go higher if more hotels compete for them.  Fortunately, with Hotel Ads you will not have to worry about bidding and keyword research.

Sometimes the traveller may know the hotel's name but not the website. In that case, the search query could be "Nyx Hotel Tel Aviv" or any other hotel's name in the city. If the hotel advertises for its name, its ad will appear at the top of the page when there is no overbidding from OTAs.

Google will serve ads that better their user experience; therefore, hoteliers must design ads that help guests make informed decisions effortlessly for that to happen.

When travellers search for accommodation, Google will deliver results that match their search criteria. In turn, hotels experience a boost in traffic, direct bookings, incremental revenue, and ROI without breaking the bank: hotel advertisers will have total control of their budget and can pause or adjust how much they want to spend.

But running Hotel Ads in-house may require a long learning curve and solid experience with Google Ads. So, finding a Google-certified partner like WebHotelier, SiteMinder, or Sabre to help is a better choice. Such agencies can also offer support for free booking links.

Keep in mind that Google Hotel Ads are not the same as Google Ads. Google Ads (formerly AdWords) are generic and for any business. Hoteliers can run Google Ads, but they need solid keyword research and a skilled ad copywriter. Consider Google Hotel Ads a metasearch engine with a cost-per-click or pay-per-click advertising model.

To make the most of using Google Hotel Ads, hoteliers should:

  • Have a user-friendly booking engine with seamless navigation, pertinent room and facilities descriptions, quality visuals (images and/or video), and uncluttered booking forms with a GDPR-compliant privacy policy.
  • Mobile-ready landing pages are a must: travellers are more likely to book when they are on the go. Therefore, the hotel website and booking engine must work well on all devices, from the desktop to smartphones and tablets.
  • Outsmart the competition by offering guests the best rate guarantee and maintaining rate parity: you don't want to charge more than the OTAs because many users searching on Google look for the best (lowest) prices for accommodation.
  • Maintain an up-to-date Google Business Profile. Besides essential data, like hotel name, location, amenities, and room prices, always respond to reviews and publish regular updates (special offers, discounts, packages, and even relevant blog posts).

To conclude, using Google Hotel Ads helps hoteliers drive revenue, increase visibility, target active travellers and potential guests, and maintain a competitive advantage over the OTAs and other hotels.