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Google announces free hotel booking links

Google announced that a new Hotel Booking Links program was previously offered through the Hotels Ads system. Hotels and tour operators are encouraged to join. Current Google Hotel Ads advertisers don’t need to change anything, as their ads will show automatically.

According to the announcement:

“Partners who already participate in the Hotel Prices API and Hotel Ads do not need to take any further action to appear in the free booking links…”

Google Hotel Ads and free booking links

Hotel Ads displays information about room availability and rates when a consumer searches on Google Search, Google Maps, and in the Assistant.

When users actively search, Hotel Ads displays relevant information such as rates, which helps hotels gain more travel business.

Free booking links are displayed below ads as shown in the screenshot below.

Screenshot of Google Hotel Ads and free booking links

The Hotel Ads program has helped many businesses generate more revenue from people actively searching for rooms. Free booking links should also become a quality source to convert customers.

In a 2015 Think with Google video, Ted Schweitzer, SVP Marketing & E-Commerce for La Quinta Inns & Suites, called the Hotels Ads program a winner.

He told :

“Hotel ads perform at a significantly higher conversion rate, which is double what we see on regular traffic on mobile. And that makes a big difference in terms of results.

Being able to deliver the right kind of content at the right time allows us to improve that conversion rate and meet customer demand. »

If the ads do it well, the free hotel booking links should work well too.

Free Hotel Booking Links

According to Google’s announcement, Google makes it free to appear in hotel booking links.

“Now we’re enhancing that experience by making it free for hotels and travel agencies around the world in hotel booking links, starting this week on google.com/travel.

…For all hotels and travel agencies, this change brings a new free way to reach potential customers.

For advertisers, free booking links can extend the reach of existing Hotel Ads campaigns. Our testing of this new feature shows that all types of partners – from individual hotels to online travel agents – benefit from free booking links through increased booking traffic and user engagement.

Google under anti-trust investigation

Google’s stated goals for free booking links are to provide more options to users. But… the decision to provide free booking links could be linked to anti-trust issues that Google is currently facing.

In a filing with the SEC in 2019, Expedia noted that Google was their biggest challenge.

“We believe our biggest challenge remains Google pushing its own hotel products into search results and siphoning off quality traffic that would otherwise find TripAdvisor through free links and generate high-margin revenue in our hotel-based auction. clicks.”

Nonetheless, free booking links should be welcome in a travel industry that is undoubtedly on the hunt for good news.

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Read the official announcement:

More choices for travelers with free hotel booking links