SEO – Google introduces three new travel products for hotels
Hotels looking to book new travelers and capitalize on this summer’s travel frenzy will soon discover a much easier way to manage and change their rates.
What’s new. Earlier this week Google announced three new features to actively open the onboarding process for hotels wanting to list their rates or provide booking links through Google.
Update 1: Industry-standard protocols. Google will support industry-standard protocols for bringing hotel rates online. These protocols are created to help different hotels remain consistent with booking, uploading new rates and making changes.
Update 2: No more spreadsheets. Hotels will no longer be required to upload complicated spreadsheets and files to add rates to their Google Business Profile. Instead, Google is simplifying this process by allowing to directly input their rates into their profiles. This change should make it easier for hotels to keep up with demand and change rates quickly, without getting technology providers or partners involved.
Update 3: Open access to Hotel Ads. Soon, hotels will no longer need a Hotel Center account to run campaigns. This means that any Google advertiser can search for and run campaigns for any hotel’s website. When asked whether they would phase out Hotel Center accounts altogether, Google stated “We will not be phasing out Hotel Center accounts. Current hotel advertisers with existing Hotel Center accounts will continue to operate and serve ads as usual.”
Launch date. Google is actively supporting industry protocols and allowing hotels to input their rates into Google My Business. However, there is no word yet on when the Hotel Center account requirement will be lifted.
What Google is saying. In regards to the reason for the changes, a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land: “We’re streamlining this process to help more advertisers utilize hotel ads, and activate them more quickly. This is part of our overall efforts to help more hotel businesses get online.”
Travel on the rise. Google indicates that searches for passport appointments increased 300% over the first four months of 2022.
Earlier this week Snapchat also announced the introduction of Dynamic Ads for Travel. The new feature allows brands such as Booking.com to create catalogs and serve to audiences based on travel intent. The focus on travel-related products should give us an early indication of where the industry is headed.
The good and the bad. Adding rates to a hotel’s Google Business Profile allows them to appear in search, maps, and YouTube. Those free booking links will also direct users to book on a hotels actual website – not a third party. Which means more revenue for the hotel and less for sites such as Booking.com or Hotels.com. Hotels are also not allowed to add multiple rates for different room types, minimum stay restrictions, or discounts for multi-night stays.
Official announcement. Read the complete announcement and current setup documents here.
Why we care. Travel is bouncing back and consumers want an easy streamlined process for booking hotels directly, as well as real-time room prices. These updates should help advertisers and hotels managing the listings stay ahead of the competition by being able to change rates directly on their Google Business Profiles.
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