How to gain direct bookings with Google Hotel Ads?
In today’s hotel industry, maximizing direct bookings is critical to increasing revenue and reducing dependence on third-party booking channels. For hotels, increasing direct bookings allows them to reduce commissions paid to online travel agencies (OTAs) and establish a more direct relationship with customers.
One of the most powerful solutions for achieving this goal is Google and its hotel solutions. As the world’s most used search engine, Google offers a unique opportunity for hoteliers to promote their properties directly to travelers, notably with Google Hotel Ads. With nearly 70% of the market share, it is the most used metasearch.
Google Hotel Solutions is a comprehensive suite of tools and services designed to empower hoteliers and travelers alike, transforming the way to search, book, and experience hotels. It aims to enhance the hotel industry by providing innovative solutions that optimize visibility, streamline bookings, and deliver personalized experiences for guests.
When a ready-to-book traveler searches for your hotel, having a presence on Google Hotel Ads allows you to directly reach a qualified audience and increases your direct bookings. In this article, we’ll look at how you can effectively leverage Google Hotel solutions to increase your direct bookings.
How to manage your hotel Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free tool that allows local businesses to manage their online presence on Google. By creating a Google Business Profile listing for your hotel, you can improve your online visibility and help guests find your hotel more easily.
Please note that Google Hotel Ads makes it the showcase of your hotel by using all its information and pictures. It is therefore essential that your GBP is up to date and contains all the relevant information such as your hotel’s contact details, photos, reviews, and engaging descriptions that highlight the unique features of your property.
Moreover, having a GBP will allow you to appear in local search results on Google Maps, and thus at the same time boost your SEO. So then again, make sure you have a complete profile that is updated regularly.
Getting positive reviews and ratings on your Google Business Profile is also essential to establishing your hotel’s credibility and gaining travelers’ trust. Encourage your satisfied guests to leave positive reviews on your Google Business Profile. The more positive reviews you have, the more attractive your property will be to potential travelers. Also, respond to reviews, whether positive or negative, to show that you value your customers’ feedback and are committed to providing quality service.
Finally, add a direct booking link on your listing to your website. This allows users to book directly with you, bypassing online travel agencies.
Use Google Hotel Ads to get more direct bookings
What is Google Hotel Ads?
Google Hotel Ads (GHA) is a meta search advertising platform that allows hoteliers to promote their properties and reach potential guests across Google’s network platforms, including Search results, Google Maps, and Google Travel. Google Hotel Ads provide a means for hotels to increase their online visibility and drive direct bookings. Google Hotel Ads campaigns are linked to your Google Business Profile and Google Maps.
Key benefits of Google Hotel Ads include:
- Capture ready-to-book travelers: with metasearch advertising campaigns on GHA, hoteliers can bid for their hotel to appear in the hotel search results on Google, both on desktop and mobile devices.
- Stay competitive: Hotels can showcase their best rates and deals alongside competitors to highlight their value proposition.
- Drive direct bookings: Google Hotel Ads allows users to book directly with the hotel, bypassing third-party websites or online travel agencies.
- Track your performance: Google Hotel Ads provides data and insights to better track hotel campaign performance and measure return on investment (ROI).
In short, Google Hotel Ads is a metasearch advertising channel for hoteliers to promote their properties and drive direct bookings.
Where do your hotel’s official rates appear?
Google Hotel Ads is specifically designed for hoteliers. These ads allow you to promote your hotel directly to users looking for your property or a property within your destination (Google Property Promotion Ads). There are many benefits to advertising on Google Hotel Ads which helps generate more direct bookings for your property.
One of the main advantages is the ability to target an audience interested in your hotel or destination. You can set criteria such as user location or dates of stay to reach travelers who are more likely to be interested in your property. By targeting a relevant audience, you increase your chances of generating direct bookings with a high return on investment, as you reach people who are actively looking for your hotel.
One of the most critical elements for travelers when booking a hotel is the rate and availability. Google Hotel Ads allow you to update your rates and availability in real-time. This means that travelers will always see the most up-to-date information when they click on your ad. Displaying real-time rates and availability builds credibility for your property and encourages travelers to book directly with you rather than searching for other options.
When advertising your hotel direct rates on Google Hotel Ads, your ads will appear in your Google Business Profile (on Google Search), in Google Maps, and Google Travel. By setting up Google Hotel Ads campaigns, you allow more potential guests to book directly with your website.
Google Business Profile
Showcase your more competitive rates
One of the main reasons travelers use Google Hotel Ads is to compare rates: they often look for the best deals when booking a hotel. To attract customers to book directly with you, offer competitive rates and exclusive offers. On Google Hotel Ads, your rates are shown in real-time, which is especially helpful for travelers comparing prices. By doing this, you encourage:
- Customer loyalty: If they have had a positive experience with your affordable rates, then they will be more likely to return on future trips. This can lead to repeat bookings and positive recommendations to their friends and family.
- Improved perception of value: Competitive rates can reinforce the perception of value that customers have of your property. Guests may consider that they are receiving excellent value for money by booking with you. This may encourage them to choose your hotel over another, even if they have to pay a little more.
- Advance bookings: By highlighting competitive rates for advance bookings, you encourage customers to plan their stays in advance. This allows you to guarantee a certain level of occupancy in advance and better manage your inventory while offering a financial advantage to customers who book early.
In addition to competitive rates, offer additional benefits for direct bookings, such as free breakfast, or discounts on spa services. Highlight these special offers in your Google Business Profile and make sure they are clearly visible on the reservations page.
Do you need to choose bidding models on Google Hotel Ads?
Google Hotel Ads offers several bidding models that you can choose or combine:
Cost per click (CPC)
When it comes to activating bids, you have two choices: a fixed bid per night or a percentage of your room price.
To fine-tune your bidding strategy, Google offers the Bid Multiplier, allowing you to adjust your bids based on various factors like the platform, length of stay, and check-in date.
Furthermore, on Google Hotel Ads, you have the flexibility to manage your auction settings by market, such as France, USA, Spain, Canada, and more.
Cost per acquisition (CPA)
The CPA model empowers you to manage your campaigns based on performance alone. Google Hotel Ads offers two types of CPA options:
- CPA on commission per conversion: This option enables you to optimize your campaigns based on performance. By setting a commission amount with Google, the algorithm automatically adjusts your position according to your commission. In the case of CPA on the date of purchase, the commissions are determined based on the date of the customer’s reservation.
- CPA on commission per stay: This alternative allows hoteliers to manage performance-based campaigns, with Google billing based on the guest’s date of stay. For instance, if a traveler books a hotel room in November for a stay in January, you will be commissioned in January. This template also allows you to report cancellations and no-shows to Google.
Gain free bookings with Free Booking Links
In March 2021, Google introduced the Free Booking Links, which are completely free of charge. These links now account for approximately 15-16% of Google Hotel Ads traffic. However, it’s worth noting that the conversion rate for these Free Booking Links is 60% lower compared to other options.
We recommend you activate them anyway, as they can be launched in parallel with paid campaigns and are a free extra channel to get direct bookings.
So, you have the flexibility to utilize different campaign typologies (CPC, CPA, FBL) across various markets. For instance, this means you can have markets using CPC and markets using CPA for the same hotel.
How to attract more travelers to your hotel website?
First of all, make sure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly. Many travelers use different device types, such as smartphones and desktops, to search and book hotels. So page speed and a mobile-friendly site are crucial for both user experience and search rankings.
How to set up an efficient SEO strategy for your hotel?
Having an efficient Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is crucial for driving organic traffic to your hotel’s website and increasing bookings. Here are some steps to help you develop an effective SEO strategy for your hotel:
Keyword Research: Identify relevant keywords and phrases that potential guests are likely to use when searching for hotels in your area. Use keyword research tools to find high-traffic, low-competition keywords. Focus on a mix of general hotel-related keywords and brand keywords (e.g., “beachfront hotel in Miami” “Hoxton Hotel Portland”).
On-Page Optimization: Ensure that your website is optimized for search engines. This includes optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and content with your target keywords. Create unique and informative content for each page, such as room descriptions, amenities, local attractions, and other relevant information.
Local SEO: Optimize your hotel’s online presence for local searches. This involves setting up a Google Business Profile (GBP) and ensuring all the information is accurate and up-to-date. Encourage guests to leave reviews on your GBP listing and respond to them promptly.
Link Building: Build quality backlinks to your hotel’s website from reputable sources. Focus on getting links from local directories, travel websites, and industry-specific directories. Forming partnerships with local businesses can also help you gain backlinks.
Online Reviews and Reputation Management: Encourage guests to leave reviews on platforms like Tripadvisor or Google. Positive reviews can improve your online reputation, which can influence potential guests and search engine rankings.
Monitor and Analyze: Use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to monitor your website’s performance. Track your SEO efforts, analyze what’s working, and make adjustments based on the data.
SEO is an ever-evolving field, and search engine algorithms change regularly. Stay informed about the latest SEO trends and best practices to adapt your strategy accordingly. Remember that SEO is a long-term strategy, and it takes time to see significant results. Be patient, consistent, and continuously improve your strategy based on data and feedback.
How to have an effective Google Ads strategy for my hotel?
Having an effective Search Engine Advertising (SEA) strategy for your hotel can significantly improve your online visibility, drive more relevant traffic to your website, and ultimately increase bookings. Here are some key steps to create a successful SEA strategy for your hotel:
Define Your Goals: Begin by setting clear and measurable objectives for your SEA campaign. Examples could be increasing direct bookings, promoting a special offer, or boosting occupancy during specific periods.
Know Your Target Audience: Understand your target audience’s preferences, interests, and online behavior. This will help you bid on relevant keywords that your potential guests are likely to use.
Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify the most relevant and popular search terms related to your hotel and services. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or other third-party tools to find valuable keywords for your ads.
Create Compelling Ad Copy: Craft engaging and persuasive ad copy that highlights your hotel’s unique selling points and offers. Include relevant keywords in your ad copy and ensure it aligns with your target audience’s needs and interests.
Ad Extensions: Utilize ad extensions to enhance your ads with additional information. Extensions like site links, call extensions, and location extensions can improve your ad’s visibility and provide users with more ways to interact with your hotel.
Set a Budget and Bidding Strategy: Determine your daily, weekly, or monthly ad budget. Additionally, choose a bidding strategy that aligns with your goals. Options include manual bidding, automatic bidding, or target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) bidding.
Geo-Targeting: Take advantage of geo-targeting to show your ads to users in specific locations relevant to your hotel’s target audience. This can help you reach potential guests who are more likely to convert.
Monitor and Optimize: Regularly monitor the performance of your SEA campaigns. Track key metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI). Use this data to make informed optimizations to your campaigns.
Seasonal and Promotional Campaigns: Plan special SEA campaigns for peak seasons, holidays, and promotional events to take advantage of increased search traffic and capitalize on potential guests’ buying intent.
Remember that an effective SEA strategy requires continuous monitoring, tweaking, and adaptation. The digital landscape is ever-changing, so staying up-to-date with industry trends and adjusting your approach accordingly will be crucial for long-term success.
Track your hotel online selling performance on Google Analytics 4
Take advantage of Google Analytics 4 (aka GA4) to track and analyze your website traffic, user behavior, and booking conversions. This data can help you refine your marketing strategies and optimize your direct booking efforts.
It is designed to provide organizations with more advanced information about user behavior and website/application performance. GA4 introduces several significant changes and improvements over its predecessor, Universal Analytics. Here are some key features and functionality of Google Analytics 4:
- Event-based tracking: GA4 focuses on event-based tracking rather than the traditional page view-based tracking in Universal Analytics. It allows you to track different user interactions and events on your hotel website, giving you a more complete understanding of user behavior.
- Machine Learning Capabilities: GA4 incorporates advanced machine learning models that can help hoteliers automatically gain valuable insights from their data. It includes features such as automated insights, predictive metrics, and anomaly detection that can help identify trends, opportunities, and potential problems.
- Reporting and Analysis: GA4 introduces a simplified reporting interface with predefined analysis reports and a more intuitive user interface. It offers customizable dashboards, real-time data, and more flexible data exploration for deeper analysis.
At Cendyn, you can manage or let us manage your metasearch campaigns from one single interface, our Digital Marketing Platform, where you can also keep an eye on your results thanks to the Report Center. Retrieve all your data and personalize your report to better track your results.
Google Hotels offers a unique opportunity for hotels to increase their direct bookings and reduce their dependence on online travel agencies. By following the strategies mentioned in this article, you can optimize your presence on Google Hotels, attract more travelers, and get them to book directly with you.
By combining these strategies, you will be able to increase your direct bookings and develop a more direct and profitable relationship with your customers.