George Bernard Shaw once wrote that the great advantage of a hotel is that it is a refuge from home life. Yes, the prospect of escapism and the reality of affordable travel in 21st century means that millions of searches are now made for hotels every day. This means that there are millions of potential bookings being vied for online. So, you hoteliers out there, listen in!
In the past year Google have evolved the way in which hotels appear in the search results. Now, information like hotel rates, availability, locations, user reviews, editorial descriptions, Google Street View, and high resolution photos feature making hotel search more dynamic and informative than ever before. This evolution in Google’s hotel search means the gap between online hotel booking sites, and Google has narrowed.
If we go back to the beginning of the year a small number of independent hotels tested the Google Hotel Ads Commission Programme. This programme allowed hotels to be charged on the industry-standard commission basis rather than by a cost-per-click basis. This gave hoteliers the advantage of participating in Google Hotel Ads without the concern of managing a pay per click model. As Scott Koehler, senior Vice President, Product & Operations of TravelClick stated:
“Since March, hotels enrolled in TravelClick’s Demand Services program have seen, on average, a 56 percent year-over-year increase in revenue driven by Google Hotel Ads. The evolution from a pay-per-click to commission model has increased hotel revenue.”
These results are impressive and demonstrate that small independent hoteliers can use Google intelligently to drive hotel bookings and revenue.
Google has now made bookings easier
Google have also built on their Book On Google mobile device launch in 2013 by making this facility available on desktop and tablet devices. In short it is now easier for search users to book hotel rooms.
Google facilitates this process through booking payment transactions with Book on Google. However, it is the Google authorised partner who ‘owns the guest relationship, including sending the confirmation email, answering post-booking questions, and handling changes to the reservation or cancellations’.
Hotel Amenity Information
Google now provides information like availability, prices, and reviews, right in the search results and in Google Maps. Google is now adding information about hotel amenities for locations in the US and they are working to have this added to 24 more countries for 2016. Being able to see whether your hotel has wifi, free breakfast, parking availability will be available in search. So for UK hoteliers, it is important that you are fully visible on hotel advertising online.
As guests increasingly want to experience a richer hotel experience, being nimble and showing dynamic and informative information across devices can be a part of your digital ad strategy that drives a return on investment.
If you want your hotel better represented across Google, please get in touch with one of our team for a discussion.