April 27, 2015 · Meisha Bochicchio
Google Hotel Ads Placements
*Update: As of 2015, Google no longer supports the google.com/hotels URL or placement. Our post has been changed to reflect this update.
There are three distinct placement locations for the Google Hotel Ads.
1.) Google Natural Search Results (“Local Universal”)
Let’s say we are looking for a nice hotel in New York for a trip.
The hotels listed in the “hotels near New York” box are an example of Google Hotel Ads.
To be clear – the listings that appear in this box are considered natural search results but are part of the hotel ads program. Unlike traditional pay per click ads, a hotel cannot pay to show up for certain search queries. What shows up in this box is based solely on what Google feels would be a best match based on their magic algorithms and based on that person’s search history. Just stick with us for a minute – it will all come together shortly.
One can clearly see prices listed in addition to reviews, a thumbnail shot of the property, and a small amount of content (pulled from the property’s Google+ page).
The Trump International Hotel sounds swanky, let’s check that out *click*:
By clicking on any portion of the hotel box (price, hotel name, etc.), we are then brought to the individual hotel SEPR profile. This is where we get to the Hotel Ads of the equation.
The “Book a Room” box is clearly marked with the familiar bright yellow “ad” warning and several prices are listed below. Here we can see that Travelocity and Expedia are leading the pack with bids. We can also see more prices by expanding the “view more rates” link below.
This page also provides reviews pulled through the property Google+ page and a prompt to write a review. Guests can also access the website directly via the “website” link or get directions to the hotel via the “directions” link.
Once a searcher clicks on a website option (ex: Travelocity) or the “Book” button, they are re-directed to that website.
If we don’t see a hotel in the “Three Pack” that we like, we can click the “see more hotels” link that will give us a full list of relevant hotel options to choose from:
Note that local universal results also apply to branded search results. These, however, are presented very differently.
This time, I am searching specifically for the New York Hilton Midtown. Upon searching, we are presented this SERP:
Ta Da! This “knowledge graph-esque” local box on the right shows up for branded hotel search results and is pulling in information from the property’s Google+ Local Page (Google Places). We can also see the same Hotel Ads “Book a Room” information that we have pointed out in previous examples.
Also note the price drop down menu provided under the individual hotel’s organic listing:
When selected, this menu drops down to offer a full date selection calendar and hotel ads with nightly rates that will dynamically change whenever the dates are adjusted.
2.) Google Map Results
Let’s pretend that we are really concerned with the location of whatever hotel we are looking at and that we prefer to absorb this information via the Google Maps feature.
A search for “hotels in New York” presents this:
On the general Google Maps results page, one will notice tons of location dots for each hotel and a search results box in the upper left hand corner that contains similar content to what we saw on the search engine results page with hotel prices, reviews, etc.
Once a particular property is selected (The Hotel at Times Square in this case):
We can see the individual property profile appear with the same “Book a room” Ad prompt with booking options and a date selector.
Noticing a pattern yet?
3.) Google Places Page
Making it to an individual hotel’s Google Places page is unlikely, but still happens more often than one might think. A person might end up here is a search for reviews, hotel photos, or any other general property information.
If you happened to make it all the way to the hotel’s Local Places page:
Yea, there are booking options though Hotel Ads here too.
*Update: This version is no longer supported, as of 2015. Previous listings appeared as mentioned below.
Google Hotel Finder
Last but certainly not least, one can find the Google Hotel Ads listings within the Google Hotel Finder which can be found at www.google.com/hotels.
Upon entering the website, a searcher will have the opportunity to select a destination and travel dates.
By clicking a hotel, we are taken to their individual hotel profile:
As you can see, the Google Hotel ads are present throughout every stage of the booking funnel. Visitors searching for both non-branded and branded search terms are given the opportunity to book at multiple points during their research process.
So what does this mean for your hotel?
YOU NEED TO BE HERE.
Others (mainly OTAs) are already present and bidding in this space and in order to maintain (or, ideally, increase) direct bookings, your property needs to be present.
Curious about how the bidding process works?
Check out our next post on Hotel Ads Bidding and Ad Auction.
Or, drop us a line to see how we can help get your hotel set up on the Hotel Ads program today!