Google Hotel Ads: Everything You Need to Know

by Jeremy Razook

Hoteliers should be no stranger to Google Hotel Ads. But if you have yet to dip your toes into the waters of metasearch advertising, Google Hotel Ads is the place to start. In this guide, you’ll learn about the whats, whys, wheres, and hows of Google Hotel Ads, plus helpful tips and specialist support if you need it.

Let’s dive in.

Jump to a section:

  1. What is Google Hotel Ads?
  2. Where do Google Hotel Ads appear?
  3. How does Google Hotel Ads bidding work?
  4. Why should hotels run Google Hotel Ads?
  5. Google Hotel Ads budgets and expected ROAS
  6. Google Hotel Ads best practices
  7. How can hotels participate in Google Hotel Ads?

What is Google Hotel Ads?

Google Hotel Ads (informally known as GHA) is a hotel metasearch channel that shows real-time price information to searchers on various places throughout Google and allows companies to bid on price placement.

It’s one of several hotel metasearch channels, alongside Tripadvisor CPC and Bing Hotel Price Ads, that have become of increasing importance over the years for increasing hotel visibility and direct bookings.

Where do Google Hotel Ads appear?

Google Hotel Ads feature prominently in the following places:

Google Search

Google Hotel Ads Sponsored booking links module for Grande Cayman Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC.

If a user searches for a hotel by name, a Google Business listing may appear that includes a booking module powered by Hotel Ads. This module includes a Sponsored (ads) booking links and an All options list that consists of free booking links.

Local map pack for a hotel search that includes Google Hotel Ads pricing.

When someone searches for a hotel in a specific location (“hotels in Myrtle Beach”), Google often displays a dedicated map pack with a hotel booking module at the top or side of the search results. This module showcases several hotels along with photos, prices, star ratings, and a link to book the stay.

Google Maps

Google Hotel Ads options and pricing in the Google Maps platform.

When browsing an area on Google Maps, hotel icons appear with prices. Clicking on a hotel reveals more information and the option to book, utilizing Hotel Ads data.

Google Travel

Google Travel results with Google Hotel Ads pricing.

Google Travel is a dedicated platform for trip planning. When searching for destinations, Google Travel prominently features a hotel section. This section displays listings powered by Google Hotel Ads, allowing potential guests to compare prices, view photos, and book their accommodation seamlessly.

How does Google Hotel Ads bidding work?

Bidding for Hotel Ads takes place in real time through a dynamic ad auction and hotels pay per ad click. Hoteliers have the following bidding options to choose from:

  • Maximize Conversion Value > Google will optimize ad delivery to get you the most conversion value as possible.
  • Maximize Conversion Value w/ Target ROAS > You select a target ROAS and Google will optimize ad delivery to reach your target.
  • CPC% > You set a max CPC as a percentage of the price of the booking.
  • Manual CPC > You set a max CPC and require manual CPC updates during the lifetime of the campaign.
  • Manual CPC w/ Enhanced CPC > You set a max CPC. But this strategy allows Google to modify your bids in real time to meet auction eligibility.
  • Performance Max for Travel Goals > Multi channel campaign that uses Google AI to deliver ads to the right audience.

Commission-based bidding will be sunsetted in late 2024, leaving hotel marketers with only the options above for hotel ad bidding.

Bid multipliers can also be applied to optimize bidding based on various factors such as device type, location, and length of stay.

Google considers bids and ad quality as ad ranking factors. This includes price competitiveness. This is where having lower rates than the OTAs, or at least staying within parity of OTA rates, is crucial for hotels for better ad visibility.

Free Booking Links

Free booking link option for Grande Cayman Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Like we mentioned above, Google provides two types of booking links: Sponsored and All options. The All options links are free booking links meaning that hotels and OTAs do not have to bid for placement here, hence they’re free. All hotels need to do is provide a rate feed to Google to be eligible for placement.

The downside to free booking links is that Google does not provide booking data for these links. However, using an advanced metasearch management system can help uncover these otherwise ‘lost’ bookings.

Why should hotels run Google Hotel Ads?

If you’re not convinced that Google Hotel Ads is right for your hotel, check out the benefits that come with running a successful campaign:

Increase direct bookings

Google Hotel Ads is unique in that it allows searchers a direct gateway into your hotel’s booking engine, unlike most natural search or paid search results. The ads themselves are presented in the form of a room rate that links out to your hotel’s booking engine, forcing the visitor further into the booking funnel.

Additionally, it takes the searcher off the SERP which is full of other distractions (aka, competition).

By bidding for placement here, you can ensure that your property will get that “book now” direct traffic and that it won’t be lost to an OTA or other hotel metasearch site.

Keep in mind that Google Hotel Ads is just one of many strategies that your hotel can employ to increase direct bookings but is one of the key ways to edge out OTAs and other search partners.

OTAs are already there

Working off our previous answer, OTAs are already very present in this space and they aren’t going anywhere. Major players like,, and Expedia are just a few of the brand names that you can expect to find here.

And if you aren’t bidding for a top placement here, they are. Sure, you will still get that booking at the end of the day, but those OTA fees will slowly erode your bottom line. The dollar or two that you might pay Google for that direct click is better for your revenue stream than the high commission rate that you will inevitably pay the OTA if they get that booking for you.

More SERP real estate

Google’s ever-evolving SERP ecosystem requires hoteliers to be increasingly vigilant when it comes to improving online visibility. In the search engine game, SERP territory is everything. Participating in the program is a great way to grab searchers attention and drive them straight into your booking engine.

More non-brand search visibility

A huge area where the above is particularly helpful is for non-branded search queries. Before, it was next to impossible to get an individual property to rank for broad terms like “(insert random city) hotels”. Now, however, the tables have turned. Though only a handful of selections are shown on the actual SERP map pack at a time, a whole list of hotel results is presented with the “view more option”, giving your hotel way more non-brand exposure than they would have previously had.

And, if your hotel WAS getting non-brand exposure from these high search volume terms, it was most likely through a metasearch site or OTA, which we have already discussed is not ideal for your bottom line.

Plus, Google’s Property Promotion Ads, a non-brand offshoot of hotel metasearch advertising, can put your hotel first for upper funnel travel searches.

At this point, participation is required

Google continues to push hotel ads aggressively making metasearch a regular fixture among hotel search marketing channels alongside SEO and PPC. At the end of the day, your hotel can either sink or swim; meaning, you can either bid for placement or lose direct bookings. There’s no other way around it.

Find even more reasons why metasearch marketing helps hotels.

Google Hotel Ads budgets and expected ROAS

Spending on a per property basis tends to vary greatly from hotel to hotel and seasonally depending on the location’s market, so it’s hard to nail down a direct number. TravelBoom provides spend recommendations on a client per client basis based on our internal research and we make ongoing recommendations throughout the campaign in order to fully optimize return.

As far as returns, hotels can generally expect an ROAS closely aligned with traditional PPC brand campaigns. However, this number can also vary from property to property. In some cases ROAS may closely align in-between that of a traditional PPC non-brand campaign and a PPC brand campaign. Again, these numbers will vary greatly based on many factors, but speaking in general terms, this is what we have seen for our clients.

And, if you think about it, it makes sense. You are not bidding on keywords for placement. These ads serve on both brand and non-brand search queries, so the returns match expectations. Hotels enjoy the luxury of exposure on high search volume keywords while maintaining a strong brand presence. It’s truly a win – win situation.

Google Hotel Ads best practices

  • Ensure your Google Business profile is accurate and complete with high-resolution photos, amenities, and contact information.
  • Feed accurate rates to Google based on what is present on your booking engine. Not doing so can negatively impact ad performance.
  • Use bid adjustments to fine tune your ad delivery.
  • Break out your campaigns based on location, device, etc. based on performance.
  • Ensure your pricing is competitive. Your rates should be lower than or in parity with OTAs.
  • Use hotel callouts alongside your ads that highlight special features about your hotel like ‘Free Cancellation’.

How can hotels participate in Google Hotel Ads?

Contact TravelBoom to get your hotel up and running with Google Hotel Ads or to speak with a specialist for more information.

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