With an estimated 5.6 billion searches made per day, Google has 90.46% of the search engine market share worldwide. It's a no-brainer and we've been saying it for a long time - using Google Hotel Ads will help you gain a significant increase in direct and qualified traffic to your hotel website. We are consistently seeing standout client results on Google Hotel Ads especially over the last two years. For example, in May of this year, we noted a GHA revenue increase of 145% - and our average CPA is sitting at 4.3%.
The metasearch landscape is developing fast. Over the last year, many positive updates have been made by metasearch giants, one notable update being Google eliminating fees for hotel booking links in order to make the booking process easier and more comprehensive for consumers.
65% of hotel bookings generated by a digital media (search, metasearch & display) have been done via Google advertising service, and out of those bookings in 2022, nearly 16% are due to clicks on Google free booking links
In a Skift interview this week, the CEO of Trivago Axel Hefer said Trivago would also consider adding free links to supplement paid links from advertisers.
'The broader comprehensiveness that free links could generate would be particularly useful in Europe, where independent hotels, and not chains, dominate.' - Axel Hefer, Trivago
Another thing that has happened when we look around is an increase in effort from OTAs to gain more market share in the metasearch space - an example of this is Booking.com's expanded loyalty program, Genius. This requires you to be more mindful and attentive to your metasearch rates, continuing to monitor and ensure your direct rate always appears as the best and lowest.
What are the obstacles in relation to metasearch?
Real time data
Metasearch platforms work by providing the customer with the most recent prices and availability for a given room. Making sure that this data is in real time is crucial for metasearch engines to be able to drive accurate results.
Hotels with rate parity issues often see lots of impressions but low performance. In addition, hotels who fluctuate their rate significantly up and down see a degradation of their performance over time. Consumers will always click on the lowest rate!
What will influence and impact performance on Google Hotel Ads?
Google Hotel Ads
The Google Hotel Ads connection and bidding is controlled via your connectivity partner, who push live rates and availability from your booking engine into the Google platform.
What are the factors that affect your success?
Price accuracy and competitiveness
Some questions to ask about your prices on Google Hotel Ads:
- Does the price shown in the search results match the price displayed on the booking engine?
- Are your prices competitive?
- How do your prices compare to competitors’ prices and other prices on OTA’s on the same dates?
Significant amount of traffic from hotel ads is driven from map results. Given that Google Map results have an intelligent proximity algorithm, this means that unless your hotel is located where the user is intending to stay, you have a low likelihood of gaining impression share.
Google My Business
In order to use the Google Hotel Ads product, you must have a verified Google My Business profile. It’s imperative that this profile is optimised as much as possible, ensuring the content and imagery used best represent your hotel.
Devising metasearch KPIs
As with all elements of your marketing, it's important to know what KPIs to put in place that will give you a clear idea of how the platform is performing for you.
The key performance indicator for metasearch activity is Cost Per Acquisition. Given that the lowest OTA commission is generally 15%, we assume that a CPA lower than 15% is a cost saving for the hotel.
In order to calculate the true CPA, we must take into account the commission cost and any cost of advertising.
It's important to remember where this activity sits in a user’s path to purchase when you compare it to other marketing channels. Activity further down the funnel will more likely achieve a greater ROI due to being closer to the actual booking for many users. However, this shouldn’t impact your decision to keep metasearch activity running - in fact, it's another strong reason for using a CPA as the main performance indicator.
What are the benefits of driving direct traffic through metasearch channels like Google Hotel Ads?
- You can promoting other products and services like weddings, conference rooms, spa, F&B
- You own your brand on those channels – and OTAs don't
- You can build true loyalty with customers as they're booking direct
- If users visit and don’t book immediately, you can use marketing techniques to get them back into your booking funnel. These might include:
- Google Remarketing across the display network
- Social Remarketing on Facebook & Instagram
- Booking re-targeting via email for anyone who hasn't completed their booking
- Newsletter subscriptions