Slotting into Google’s Hotel Finder product, the ads will provide real-time pricing information to consumers, allowing them to book directly on the hotel’s branded website.
The solution is seamless: Hotels within the Open Hospitality reservation and bookings system opt-in and OH takes care of the rest via a campaign customized to the individual property’s needs.
Advantages for the consumer are the branded experience, especially for those who would rather book directly with the hotel rather than with an OTA. In addition, the real-time pricing ensures that they get the same pricing information that they would get elsewhere.
The hotels, for their part, are able to not only benefit from the more profitable direct booking outside of the OTA ecosystem, but also have the opportunity to sell ancillary products such as dining, spa services and other activities, ultimately boosting their revPAR numbers.
David Millili, CEO of Pegasus Solutions and Open Hospitality:
â€śGoogle has emerged as a central channel in the hotel shopping process. It may be used for a quick reference or as the actual booking channel, but it canâ€™t be ignored as one capable of driving valuable direct business to your website.
For a typical hotel website, Googleâ€™s organic search is responsible for generating 1 out of every 3 visits. Paid search programs from Google, such as AdWords and Hotel Price Ads, provide additional opportunities for generating highly targeted traffic that converts well into bookings. Actual results vary significantly from property to property, as they are influenced by both online and offline factors.
Many of the participating properties experienced double digit ROIs during the trial period, on par with or surpassing their standard search pay-per-click campaign returns. However, program returns are contingent on a number of factors, including the completeness of the propertyâ€™s Google+ Local page, and both the quantity and quality of guest reviews.”
In their continued push into travel, Google has been tweaking the placement of hotels in search results.
Earlier this year, Google moved the Hotel Finder placement from the first postion above the paid results to the first organic position. Labeled with a white “Sponsored” box, this move might have been an attempt to placate advertisers who didn’t respond well to having their paid results usurped by Google’s own product.
Nonetheless, before Google moved the placement down beneath the paid results, Expedia had nothing but good things to say about participating in Google’s Hotel Finder.
In remarks at the Citiâ€™s 22nd Annual Global Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco onÂ January 5, 2012, Expedia’s CEOÂ Dara Khosrowshahi said,â€śWe participate in every way with Google because it is a big channel and a growing channel.”
Previous tweaks include adding point-to-pointÂ transit data via Google Transit, and launching the full-fledged Promoted Hotels product that pits OTAs against hotels for direct bookings via the Hotel Finder listings.
Real-time pricing in Google products is getting international attention as well. Solare Hotels, which manages over 12,600 rooms in Japan, has also just announced technology that will allow its affiliates to place real-time pricing for hotel inventory on Google Maps and Google Places.