First, the status quo – Google has a large market share and plenty of experience with hotel-search. In late 2019, more than 88% of search engine traffic took place in the U.S. For years now; the search engine has seamlessly helped its users research and find hotels while comparing features and prices through its Google Hotel Ads. Once a user wants to book a hotel, Google sends them off to a third party for booking.
What is Book on Google?
With Book on Google, which is available to both hotels and online travel agencies, customers don’t click away to an OTA to complete a reservation and payment. Instead, they remain on Google search throughout the entire buying cycle, booking, and paying there. Afterward, Google sends the reservation and payment details to either the hotel or OTA.
It’s important to note that Google does not operate as a traditional OTA. It does not take a commission from the hotel bookings it facilitates, meaning it’s an excellent opportunity for hotels to earn more semi-direct revenue. Google’s revenue, instead, continues to come from brands paying for placement within its Google Hotel Ads.
This method leads us to our next point: Book on Google does not mean a hotel should stop running a Google Hotel Ads campaign. In fact, that would be counterproductive. A hotel needs to have a Google Hotel Ads campaign in place to benefit from Books on Google.
What are Google Hotel Ads?
The reason for this is because Google uses the same revenue and search strategy for Book on Google as it does on the rest of its site. Hotels that buy Google Hotel Ads see their hotel listings at Book on Google rank higher than those who do not.
This all sounds great, but what else do you need to consider? Booking and paying straight from Google means the customer does not click through to a hotel’s website but instead remains at Google, which can affect brand awareness. Since the hotel doesn’t receive the traveler at its site, there’s no option to use personalization, messages, popups, or chatbots to build awareness.
It also means you can’t use contact forms or newsletter subscriptions to gain that customer as a lead, which means missing out on upselling and conversion possibilities. That, too, can affect your future relationship and ability to increase more business from the customer over time.
Keep in mind that while a hotel receives booking and payment information from Google, it does not get information such as customer views, conversion rates, and other information valuable for marketing. When payment is made on Google, that customer information doesn’t make it into the hotel’s Customer Relationship Management system.
Book on Google, which works on both desktop and mobile, is an exciting model that may bring additional revenue to your hotel without increasing distribution costs. Consider a trial to see whether your conversion rate and profitability improve.