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Google’s latest hotel ads changes: the winners and losers

Google Hotel Ads

This blog post was first published by Evan Davies for channex.io. You can find the original version here.

Just this week we had some exciting news that now Google Hotel Ads will always show some of the Google Free Links on the front page of Google Hotels.

The best part is that it is FREE.

When you search for a hotel using their name in Hotel Ads Google Search, you will see their prices on the right hand side.

Google Hotel Ad Zoom

The hotel “Official Website” always gets the No1 spot!

The Winners

Surely, the winners here are: hotels, guests, booking engines and Google Ads. It’s a great opportunity for hotels to get top placement in the “Other” section without cost. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Google Hotels

All hotels who are using the Google Ads are obviously the winners here. Previously to get shown on Google Hotel Ads on the front page hotels could be paying 100s or 1000s each month for hotel ads and potentially without any ROI. Now it’s free there is no risk to participate and the consumers see all the rates available. Also the placement in Google Hotels is very prominent and has a bonus title of “Official Website”.

Booking Guests

Guests are huge winners here, now there is one place to look for all the best prices available including even the hotels direct rate. Other websites like Trivago don’t don’t include the hotels websites prices usually so this is a huge advantage of Google Hotels Ads.

Hotel Booking Engines

Someone needs to power the Google Ads connection and that is called the booking engine, the hotel booking engine has suffered a long time because of the dominance of online travel agents like Booking and Expedia. Now it’s time for their huge comeback in importance.

Google Ads 

Yes Google is a big winner here that it becomes even more popular (if that’s possible) and get much more data in the form of hotel direct prices in Google Ads for hotels.

Now onto the losers and there are some painful losers here…

Who loses in this change?

Trivago and TripAdvisor

It’s no secret they have both been losing to Google for years but this will be another nail in the coffin. Google Hotels will soon hoover up all the hotels direct rates and show to the consumers, these websites will not be able to match that unless they also offer free links to hotels also.

Online Travel Agents (OTA)

Showing the hotels direct rates in comparison to the prices on the OTA will cost them conversions and bookings while also at the same time increase their hotel ad bills. I see some heavy handed threats to hotels who sell cheaper on their website but this also comes with an anti competitive risk from local governments especially in the EU.

Meta Search Players

There are companies that connect hotels to Meta Search websites like Google, Trivago and TripAdvisor. Only large hotels can afford these services. With the whole market being dominated by Google Hotel Ads and also no huge need to pay for placement, it’s hard to see why hotels should pay big fees and pay for hotel adverts anymore. I see a lot of hotels just needing the free placement and putting budget behind better prices for direct bookings.

Commission Programs

There are “Demand Plus” commission programs offered by some big hotel tech companies where they offer to advertise on Google Ads for hotel for a 18% commission. These are money printing machines even before these changes and now they will go into overdrive since most of them still charge the 18% even if the booking came from a free link.

However this 18% commission service will die off in popularity when the hotel finds out it can be free and especially when they could put some discounts into direct Google Hotels bookings instead of paying a tech company for some hotel ads at extortionate prices.

Conclusion

  1. Overall the hotel and guests win big here and large tech companies lose out, can’t complain with an outcome like that.
  2. Having your prices right on every OTA and your own website becomes more important than ever before. RoomPriceGenie is here to help you automate your hotel pricing decisions with live data of your property and the market around you. Book your personal demo now to see, how we can help you.