Should Hoteliers Take Advantage of Google’s Free Hotel Ads Listings?
By Max Starkov
Monday, 8th July 2024

Hotel metasearch has existed for over 25 years now, but has been elevated in importance ever since Google launched its Google Hotel Finder product back in 2010, which later became Google Hotel Ads (GHA).

Traditionally, metasearch players have used predominantly the CPC (Cost-per-Click) model (Kayak, Trivago, TripAdvisor, GHA, etc.).

Some metasearch players like Kayak, Trivago and until recently - Google, also use the CPA (Cost per Acquisition) model, charging a commission for every booking originating from their metasearch program.

Three years ago, Google resorted to its masterful freemium model and offered hotels free booking link listings in GHA to lure more hotels into its metasearch program.

By flooding each destination with free booking options, Google is forcing hotels, OTAs and other booking sites to compete for visibility and buy the sponsored/paid premium listings.

This is the same freemium principle used by Google for 24 years in its free/organic listings and Google Ads/premium paid listings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Since Google’s share of metasearch clicks, leads and bookings is larger than all other metasearch players combined, joining Google’s metasearch program is a top priority for any hotelier. Today Google controls more than 75% of the metasearch market.

Should hoteliers join the free GHA program? Of course!

Hotels should take advantage of these free booking listings in the same manner as they take advantage of the free organic listings in Google Search, free Google My Business local listings and free YouTube profiles.

Ask your PMS, CRS, WBE, Channel Manager or digital marketing firm to activate your property listing in GHA. ASAP. If they cannot do it - fire them! There are so many tech vendors out there that can do this with ease.

Max Starkov
Hospitality & Online Travel Tech Consultant & Strategist

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