Google Hotel Ads: How Google’s Free Booking Links Work
In 2020, Google surprised the entire hospitality industry when they announced that it would have available, for all hotels around the world, the option to appear for free in Google Hotel Ads booking links. This is a great opportunity for all small hotels since now they will no longer have to pay for expensive ads to get Google to show travelers the option to book directly with the hotel.
Here we will explain to you in detail everything you need to know about this Google tool, as well as how through LobbyPMS you can appear in hotel search results.
First, what is and how does Google Hotel Ads work?
Google Hotel Ads is the Google search platform specialized in hotels, hostels, and lodging establishments of all kinds. Here you can find the offer of accommodation that exists in a certain area, in addition to the prices they have, the platforms from which they can be booked, and the corresponding characteristics. These links are displayed in the search engine results, on Google Maps, and also in Google Travel.
The way Google Hotel Ads works is basically like any other Google tool. It means that all the offers of the search appear listed, but only if you pay for an ad, your accommodation will appear in the first search positions. However, although this still works in this way, the truth is that with the recent changes any hotel will be able to count on some relevance in the Google list thanks to the free booking links that Google has just activated.
This is an example of how the booking links are displayed when you find a hotel in the search engine. Surely you have already seen them many times and if your hotel is indexed in Google, then it must already have some active links to Booking.com or to some other platform.
Advantages of free Google Hotel Ads links
Until now these links could only be activated through paid ads in Google Ads and for this reason in most cases you find that the only links available are those of Booking.com and other OTAs (Online Travel Agencies). These OTAs invest large amounts of money to maintain their positioning on the internet and hence their sales results.
Sometimes you can also find large hotels and well-known hotel chains, as some of them have these reservation links active that will redirect the client to the hotel’s official website. To achieve this, they also pay for these ads, in addition to hiring a booking engine that has integration with Google. This is the only way to do it.
However, Google launched the free booking links, which are basically the option to activate these links but without having to pay in Google Ads. So if you are an owner or manager of a small hotel, you will have great benefits from this:
- Your chances of promoting the business from Google are now substantially increased with this tool.
- With these changes you can seriously consider investing in a web page to have constant direct traffic and thus avoid paying unnecessary commissions to third parties.
- You will be able to control the information you want to deliver to the client
- The rates offered may be more competitive.
- The discounts and rates campaigns that you put on the market may have more direct impact on the customer.
- You won’t have to invest money in expensive Google ad campaigns
- Your money will not be invested in competing with large companies that have high budgets for digital marketing.
And what about small hotels? How can I add my hotel to Google Hotel Ads?
In theory, small hotels could activate these links in the same way as the rest of the large hotels and hotel chains. They hire a booking engine integrated with Google and pay for ads. But in practice, we find that today the vast majority of these businesses do not have these links activated. The reason? Costs. The ads in Google Ads can be very expensive for a small hotel, at the same time as buying an integrated booking engine.
However, now the way Google Hotel Ads works is more aligned with its philosophy of presenting information in the fairest way to the final customer. So today we can witness new possibilities for small hotels with this new free links tool. To take advantage of the new benefits, you will still need to hire a booking engine integrated into Google, but the high ad costs will no longer be necessary. If you have, for example, a booking engine such as LobbyPMS, which is already integrated with Google, you can simply take advantage of its low prices to hire it and you will automatically have a position in Google Hotel Ads. No additional steps will be necessary to achieve a presence on Google!
What restrictions do free links have?
Like all new functionality, free links have their restrictions and are not available for now from Google Maps. Additionally, it is necessary for the traveler to click on the option “see more rates” link to be displayed.
Finally, this is how the free link at your hotel will look like when a traveler displays all the rates to book.
It is clear that paid links continue to have the main role, but keep in mind that travelers are also aware of this news. Travelers know that if they can book directly with the hotel there are chances of finding a lower rate. Additionally, this will change and surely Google will bring new news very soon.
So start activating your free links right now with the following guide
Step-by-step guide to activate free links using LobbyPMS
- First of all, you must make sure that your hotel is correctly indexed in Google. To do this, perform a Google search with the name of the hotel and verify that the business is displayed on the right side. Also, that the location on Google Maps is correct. If your hotel is not showing up on Google or if the location is not correct, then it will not be possible to activate the links. You can solve these problems by setting up your business in Google My Business. This is totally free.
- Login to your account at LobbyPMS and look for the Google Hotel option within the booking engine settings. This functionality is only available for premium accounts. Click the “activate connection” button and that’s it. After 40 minutes you can enter Google to find your hotel and when you click on “see more rates” you will see your active link.
If you are a LobbyPMS customer, enter right now and activate your connection. In case you need a premium account, contact our support team to explain to you how to activate it.
But if you are not yet a LobbyPMS customer, request a demo with one of our advisors right now, by clicking here!