What is your biggest headache as a hotel marketer?A likely answer is: battling against OTAs on Google’s search result pages.
But what if there was a cost-effective and powerful tool that allows your hotel to successfully compete with the likes of Booking.com and Expedia?
Google Hotel Ads is your answer.
Be where your customers are
When travellers search for your hotel on Google, they are shown information about your business in a box to the right of their search results. This box – called the knowledge panel – will display room rates linked to OTAs and metasearch engines.
Do you want your hotel listed too?
The good news is that you can – you just need to opt into the programme.
Google Hotel Ads allow users to look for availability and compare prices without ever visiting your website. Available across all devices and in over 100 countries, the ads can appear within Google’s search results page, on Google Maps or using the Assistant, the tech giant’s virtual assistant.
Whether users typed in a generic term such as ‘city hotels’ or searched specifically for your hotel name, you can get your website in front of potential guests at multiple stages of their research.
Feature your best rate
Google will display your latest rates and up-to-date availability. It will always pull your cheapest rate for the dates selected, including advance purchase or other discounts. Google Hotel Ads follows the risk-free pay per click set up. The hotel website will only appear if there is availability for the selected dates and you are only charged when a user clicks on the ad.
There is one very important condition of your success though.
Your hotel must commit to offer a lower price than OTAs, otherwise there is no incentive for travellers to choose you. As you rely on the best rate to generate a click – not on the expensive position one – it ultimately results in better Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) for cheaper Cost Per Click (CPC).
Protect your hotel’s visibility
Naturally, Google does everything in its power to push users towards their hotel ads. There are clear efforts by the search engine to divert attention away from direct website links.
Take these examples:
If you conduct a location-based search for hotels (‘hotels in Cork’ for example), prominence is given to Google Maps over organic listings. Properties are listed alongside their competition and links to the individual hotel sites are buried many pages deep. Clearly, users are funnelled towards Google hotel price ads over official hotel websites.
Hotel rates are now sometimes displayed in a bar chart format within the search results. This shows the user the cheapest days to book, while also encouraging them to interact with Google Hotel Ads instead of the less prominent website button.
As Google shifts the user’s attention away from organic channels, it becomes vital for your own website to compete within this space.
Invest your budget with confidence
Our search marketing specialists have recently conducted a 3-month study to review the performance of Google Hotel Ads with promising results.
- Trusted channel: In 58% of cases on average, Google hotel prices were the booker’s first and only touchpoint on their path to purchase. These travellers viewed rates on Google Hotel Ads and clicked straight away to complete their reservation on the hotel’s booking engine. In other words, over half of Google Hotel Ads bookings were completely new reservations. On occasion this figure was as high as 70%.
- Instant return: For every euro the surveyed hotels spent, they generated 14 euros in return. By industry standards, 14:1 return on advertising spend is considered a strong performance.
- Powerful effect: The conversion rate of Google Hotel Ads – number of bookings divided by the number of clicks – has proven to be high at 5.5%. In some cases, we have even seen Google Hotel Ads convert up to 9.2%.
- Steady growth: In addition to these results, we delivered an average growth of 4.3% in Google Hotel Ads bookings for our clients in the first few weeks of this year.
Drive bookings through your own website
By adding Google Hotel Ads to your digital marketing mix, you are making a sound investment in your hotel’s future. Let us outline our top reasons for recommending this platform to our clients.
- Book direct drive: As online travel agents rule the market, independent hotels constantly seek better ways to attract customers. Getting back clicks that once belonged to OTAs, Google Hotel Ads build a stronger relationship with your guests and promote the culture of booking directly with the hotel. Direct bookings also foster loyalty and encourage return business.
- Enhanced visibility: With the prominent position Google Hotel Ads grant to businesses, customers can find your hotel earlier in their decision-making process. Your hotel’s search engine visibility will be increased – especially on the all-important mobile devices. Better visibility is also proven to drive more new bookings that wouldn’t have reached your website otherwise.
- Low risk, high return investment: Google Hotel Ads offer impressive conversion rates and up to 5% extra direct bookings for your hotel. Get regular performance data that allows you to make informed, data-driven decisions.
- Ease of management: Aró will take complete charge of your campaigns and manage your account to extract the best value for your hotel.
- Cost-effective marketing: Aró does not charge any setup, management or reporting fees for Google Hotel Ads if you are an existing booking engine client. Your commission rate will remain the same. If Aró is not your current booking engine provider, we can set up Google Hotel Ads on our platform for a low commission fee, separate to your current provider.
About the authors
Anna Moran and Judith Pasztor Duffy are Marketing Strategists at Aró Digital Strategy. Aró Digital Strategy is a creative web design and digital marketing agency with over 20 years of experience, specialising in delivering technology solutions, sleekly designed website interfaces and digital strategies to the hotel and luxury brand industry. As a hotel digital marketing agency, Aró Digital Strategy has made a difference to over 300 businesses online through efforts in SEO, email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, visitor engagement and conversion analysis.
Find out more at www.aro.ie.