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Google Hotel Ads: Choosing between free listing & paid?


Google Hotel Ads (GHA) is a meta-search engine which customers can use to search hotels. GHA displays the hotel’s current prices as is on the hotel’s website and on different online travel agencies (OTAs) for customers to compare.

Today, as most travel decisions are made online, GHA is an important channel for hotels to get discovered on Google.

So what has changed?

GHA was earlier only a paid service. Now hotels have the option to use it for free. The search giant now displays organic or free results on GHA. Google has stated that this would help collect more data about pricing of hotels and would provide a better user experience.

So if it is organic, should you opt for a paid service? Our take on it.

Your hotel will indeed find a free listing in GHA. However, this organic listing will be displayed in the second section of the second page, thereby, reducing your hotel’s visibility. Consequently, bookings through organic GHA are minuscule.

Our findings also revealed that GHA, in its organic section, displays all the available rates, but has been prioritizing the direct hotel website as of now. Google algorithms are fast evolving and we are unsure if the prioritization would change.

There is no harm in hotels opting for organic GHA. However, with the paid model of GHA, hotels now get listed in two places. Therefore, more the exposure, the greater the traffic to your hotel website!

GHA is the only place on Google where hotels can do ‘Cost-Per-Acquisition’ (CPA) bidding. It is one of the two ways you can bid on GHA, the other being ‘Pay-Per-Click’ (PPC). In PPC hotels are charged for every click, even if it does not lead to conversions.

How do you bid on GHA?

Hotels need to work with certified booking engines to integrate with GHA. They need to create a Google Hotel Center account. Then hotels can either manage it on their own or find an agency to do the same. The requirements for GHA, however, are plenty — hotel list feed, price & availability feed, and point of sale feed to name a few.

Simplotel is an authorised GHA Integration Partner! We, at Simplotel, provide hotels with this aspect of digital marketing service as well. We have a dedicated team that is abreast with trends in the hospitality sector and constantly strives to elevate your hotel’s rankings be it on GHA or Google’s Search Engine Result Pages .

So what are you waiting for? Launch your GHA campaign with the best practices, reach the right customers, and record instant growth in direct bookings! (Read Bamboo Saa's direct bookings grows to 35% of overall biz)