On June 8, 2015, Google rolled out a beta Google Hotel Ads Commission Program. It is a Hotel SEO program in conjunction with Sabre’s SynXis booking engine. Now, whenever a hotel guest uses Google Search, Google Maps or Google+ (and the hotel uses the SynXis booking engine), they will be given the option of booking a room directly from the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) instead of having to leave the page or go to a third party OTA site.
The difference between Hotel PPC and Hotel SEO
There is a big difference between Hotel PPC and Hotel SEO. Do not decide to forsake one for the other because of this new program. Currently, you can use Google AdWords for your Hotel PPC campaigns. You are charged a PPC Rate (Pay per click), each time your keyword phrase is “clicked”. The more you pay, the higher your ad appears in the Paid Search Results. With the new Google Hotel organic search results, you pay Google a commission whenever hotel guests book a room. As with all SEO, you cannot pay for placement in the SERPs.
Examples of Hotel “Book” button in Google Maps
You can click on the “Book” button directly from Google Maps without having to leave Google’s Search Results. Below are some examples of how the new hotel seo looks with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) in Google Maps:
- Independent Hotel
In the above example of Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, you simply type in the dates you wish to travel, and if a room is available, you will see the “Book” button, taking you to the below page in Google to complete your transaction.
- Hotel Vanity Website with multiple OTAs engines in SERPs
In the above example of Antlers Hilton Colorado Springs hotel, you will see the Brand listed first, then OTAs below it on the page. Notice that the prices are all the same? The “Book” button is also highlighted in blue, making it stand out from the OTAs.Clicking on the “Book” button, takes you to the below page example on Hilton’s website. Once here, you can make choices based upon the “results” you select, making it easier for hotel guests to book their hotel room.
- Hotel Vanity Website with single OTA in SERPsI
In the above example of Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanwalk Village, you will see the Brand listed first, then only one OTA below it on the page. Notice that the prices continue to be the same. The “Book” button again, is highlighted in blue, making it stand out from the OTA site.
Example of Hotel SEO Results in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Below in an example of how you can expect to see the hotel displayed when you are in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Notice there is an “Ads” Book a room, and then below where you input the check in/ check out dates, you will see the Brand name (Hilton.com) with a link, directly to their website. There is also a “Book” link which includes the prices from $149.
Example of Google+ with new Booking Results Displayed
When you are on the ABOUT page in Google+, you will see a new tab that says, “Make a Reservation”. Once you enter the dates, a price will appear and again, let you book directly from the hotel itself, instead of having to go to an OTA.
What’s in the future of Hotel SEO?
What can you expect from Google and the future of Hotel SEO? While this initial beta program involves only the SynXis booking engine, we believe that future updates will include other booking engines. It will be interesting to see what happens to OTA’s, once Google implements this across the board for all hotels. One thing is for certain – if your hotel isn’t implementing SEO, now is a great time for you to consider adding Hotel SEO to your marketing campaign.