Google just rolled out a full slew of updates for their Hotel Ads platform.
From API updates to new and exciting features, there’s plenty that paid search marketers and hoteliers need to be aware of.
Take a peek at what’s new with Google Hotel Ads for Fall 2015.
August 5th, 2015 | Update to new local search UI for chain queries
The recent local update impacted more than just local SEO results. The update also created more local results boxes specifically for chain queries (ex: Starbucks).
The Google Hotel Ads tie in with this deals with chain-specific hotel queries. We have seen this rollout in the Myrtle Beach market for “Holiday Inn” related searches and are anticipating the rollout with other chain-related searches soon.
Also note the organic search implications with the additional rollout of more local & Hotel Ads results – natural search results are being pushed below the fold.
August 5th, 2015 | Fenced rates
Hotel Ads began showing a specific hotel rate based on device-specific and domain-specific parameters. These specific rates are only visible and bookable to searchers who meet the specified criteria (ex: mobile device search). Partners are able to specify their own hotel rates across all platforms and domains and provide them to Google for display.
September 7th, 2015 | Hotel ads price dropdown link to be removed from Google.com SERP results
Much like Google Hotel Finder itself, the organic search price drop-down is now a thing of the past. Previously, natural search results would present a hotel price with an arrow drop down with other pricing and booking options and these clicks were attributed to the local universal placement. These price drop downs have disappeared from organic search results all together.
September 15th, 2015 | API Migration to Oauth 2 & Update to API v1.1
Google rolled out a new API this month and will soon retire the old API so be sure you have updated!
If you need help, just check the Hotel Ads API Center.
September 17th, 2015 | Bidding: New bid multipliers for day of the week and booking window
Advertisers have asked for more control and optimization options and the Google Gods have finally answered! Hotel Ads just rolled out two more bid multiplier options – “day of week multiplier” and “booking window multiplier”.
The day of week multiplier will allow advertisers to increase or decrease bids based on the searched check-in date. In hotel ads, the multiplier will be specified as a set of 7 numbers, one for each day of the week, and the multiplier that is assigned for that number of the week will be used for the check-in date searched.
The booking window multiplier will allow partners to define up to 10 multiplier “buckets”. Each bucket will contain an assigned advanced booking window (ex: 1-7 days) and will then have an assigned bid multiplier specific to that booking window.
These particular additions allow advertisers more flexibility when it comes to being more aggressive during low occupancy times or less aggressive when occupancy is high.
September 22nd | Hotel Finder (google.com/hotels) Going Away
The official “Hotel Finder” site (google.com/hotels) is no more. Google has officially gotten rid of the site where Hotel Ads found its humble beginnings. If you attempt to go to the site now, you will be greeted with a friendly 404 message:
An interesting move on Google’s end considering the success of Google Flights (google.com/flights), the message reminds visitors that hotel prices and information is still readily available via search results and Google maps.
RIP Hotel Finder.
September 22nd, 2015 | Room bundles to appear for desktop hotel search
Room bundles, which were initially rolled out via mobile search results earlier this year (2015), will now begin to roll out for desktop search results throughout the month of September. Room bundles allow an advertiser to show multiple room options and rates versus just the lowest available room rate.
The key benefits of utilizing this new room bundle functionality include more SERP space, a potentially higher click through rate, more options for searchers, and the potential for increased revenue by showing higher priced rooms.
You can learn more about room bundles and how to implement them on the Hotel Ads Help Center.
Pilot | Google Hotel Ads Commission Program (GHACP)
Google is following the lead of other travel industry partners and is testing a commission-based model. The new structure would convert a commission percentage and estimated conversion rate into a cost per click bid (CPC) for an individual hotel ad, which will compete in the hotel ads auction just like any regular CPC bid.
The commission based hotel price ads model is currently in a limited beta and information on the commission percentage or future rollout dates has not been released.
Pilot | Hotel ads callouts pilot
Those familiar with AdWords will recognize the name and concept of the callout extension. Hotel Ads is taking a similar approach by allowing advertisers to further customize their ads with the Hotel Ads callout extension.
The hotel ads callout extension will follow the same format as the AdWords callout extension – 2 text snippets with up to 25 characters. The primary benefit of this additional text would be the clear and concise communication of your unique selling proposition, a clear differentiating factor.
Callout extensions will only be available at the account level and not at the chain or hotel level.