Great news at Google with free Hotel Ads!
To compete even more with OTAs, Google now allows hotels to appear for free on the search engine with a link to book.
Richard Holden, Google’s vice president of Travel, released the news in a session of ITB Berlin Now. After the launch of Hotel Insights in Italy (click here to find out more), Google takes an “action to support the restart of the travel industry”. Starting this week, free booking links are online to book hotels on google.com/travel.
Accommodations will have “another cost-free way to reach and intercept potential new customers. Besides, advertisers will be able to extend the reach of Hotel Ads campaigns already launched”.
Until now, to be present with a link to your official website on Google metasearch, you had to activate a paid campaign. From today, the link to your site will also appear without it. But let’s see the details better.
Free links appear below paid links. Google distinguishes between two ad groups with different names: Ads and All options.
As you can see, this ad arrangement is very similar to that adopted in the classic search engine. Likewise, paid ads are at the top and organic results follow.
How many ads appear in the two ad groups, paid and free?
The answer depends on the number of OTAs in which you are present. In general, they range from 1 ad to 4 for paid ads and from 1 to 10 for the free part.
Does Google show the same information in the paid and free links?
The links to the official website in the paid section obviously have more information than the free ones. For example, they show photos of the room, cancellation policies, occupancy, hotel logo and all rates. In the free section, Google shows only the logo, the cancellation policy and the price.
How to make your hotel appear in the free links?
You do not need to activate a paid campaign on Google Hotel Ads, but you must still connect to the metasearch. To do this, you need to go through an integration partner, such as RoomCloud. Basically, Google now allows you to be present on the metasearch without having activated paid campaigns.
Do you have to activate a paid campaign to appear in the free links?
No. The link to your site is shown even if you do not activate paid campaigns. All you need is the connection with Google Hotel Ads via an integrated partner.
How do I connect to Google Hotel Ads?
Google has a small list of partner companies that allow linking to the metasearch. RoomCloud is one of them. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any request or clarification on the connection to Google.
How do I differentiate the bookings that arrived through paid and free campaigns?
In the reservations section of RoomCloud, you can distinguish the two types of reservations. As you can see from the screenshot, reservations that arrived via the free link have the word Google FBL.