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June 26, 2017

Google Travel and Book on Google Explained

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Following our recent workshops at the HSMAI Digital Strategies Conference 2017, we’d like to share some fantastic insights presented at the conference. For our first workshop, we welcomed Michael Mo, Partner Development Manager at Google, who shared some exciting information about Google Travel and Book on Google. As a recap, listed are a few key insights shared at the Workshop. Enjoy!

Mobile

As many of us know, mobile traffic has steadily increased and will continue to do so. Regarding hotel searches, almost all segments see at least half of their searches performed on mobile. For some budget-conscious hotel brands, over 75% of all hotel searches are mobile.

However, bookings through mobile devices continue to lag, as the majority of bookings are still made on desktop. Michael spoke about this in more detail, which led to a number of interesting insights regarding Google and Hotel Ads.

Google and Hotel Ads

The journey for Google and hotel ads started about six or seven years ago, as Google realized that, although they understood the intent of a user’s search, users were not necessarily receiving the best information to assist with their hotel search.

To solve this, Google spent a lot of time developing hotel ads, which include two main channels: Local Universal Search and Map Search.

Local Universal Search

A Local Universal Search occurs when a potential hotel guests searches for a specific property. This type of search creates a knowledge panel that offers a range of basic information about that property, including the property’s address, phone number, images, reviews, as well as Hotel Ads.

The greatest percentage of all price ads surface through a Local Universal Search. While users may not be specifically searching for pricing, or necessarily ready to book, a Local Universal Search provides both basic information for the user, as well as the price ads.

Map Search

A Map Search is a location-based search, which identifies a user’s current location or the location of a specific attraction to locate nearby hotels. This allows users to comparatively shop through broader categories, e.g., “hotels in Austin.” Through an interactive map, users can click on a specific property to learn more about that Austin hotel.

Google is constantly testing search filters to integrate the user’s preferences into their Map Search, allowing users to locate hotels according to specific amenities, hotel ratings, and other parameters. Google also recently implemented a price budget filter and will soon add other elements, such as number of guests.

Although the percentage of hotel ads surfaced through a Map Search is lower than a Local Universal Search, these hotel ads generally enjoy a high conversion rate, as the user’s search is centered-around booking a hotel in a specific location.

A new development

For Google, one of the biggest recent developments has been creating tools so partners can start incorporating special rates or incentives into their hotel ads for users.

For example, when a potential guest finds a Hilton hotel ad, the ad may offer a 10% rate discount or free WiFi, if the user signs-up for Hilton’ loyalty program or signs-in as a loyalty member.

Book on Google

Now, let’s talk about Book on Google, an excellent tool that hoteliers can utilize to ensure a quick-and-easy booking process through Google search. We’ll also delve into how the process works and the typical user’s journey.

In a traditional metasearch, users click on a partner to navigate to the hotel’s website, where they complete the transaction. However, Book on Google is designed to allow the user to execute a direct transaction seamlessly without leaving Google’s page. Google collects the user’s information and works with the provider to complete the booking.

For example, a user searches for a specific hotel in Sunny Beach. In the panel on the right-hand side, Google provides a direct booking option for the hotel.

Clicking the direct booking option places users into the booking flow.

  • It gives dates and lists available rooms.
  • Users click on their preferred room type.
  • If the user is logged-in (either through Gmail or Chrome), Google autofills the guest details section.
  • When the user clicks continue, they are taken to the payment page. (If the user has a credit card stored with Google, they just enter their security PIN.)
  • After providing payment information, the guest receives a booking summary.
  • Once reviewing the summary, the guest clicks Reserve.
  • The guest then receives a confirmation email with a confirmation number from the hotel.

Through this process, the user only clicked “Continue” three times to complete the entire transaction.

Book on Google and DerbySoft

The rationale and advantage of Book on Google is apparent when we consider mobile users. Requiring a mobile user to fill-out multiple fields with their thumbs, fumble with their credit card, and type-in pertinent information is a real barrier to mobile conversions.

Assisted-booking models, such as Book on Google, were developed, in part, as a response to a lack of mobile optimized booking engines. Over the next quarter, with the help of DerbySoft, Google will be launching with a few suppliers directly.

Google already has OTAs onboard, and SynXis is Google’s pilot supplier partner, so thousands of hotels are already on this system. Although there are challenges of integration on the back-end, as providers’ systems differ, Google has been working hard to streamline the process with partners like DerbySoft.

For more information concerning solving metasearch challenges and implementing an automatic bidding manager for Google Hotel Ads, simply request our Click by DerbySoft demo.

Is there an extra charge as a hotel/supplier?

As a hotel, you’re paying on a CPC, for the actual hotel ad click or a commission basis for the actual completed booking. However, you’re not paying anything extra for Book on Google. There is no charge for the direct transaction.

Summary

The recent workshops at the HSMAI Digital Strategies Conference 2017 revealed interesting developments concerning Book on Google and offered insight regarding consumer search trends.

As these trends continue to evolve, Click by DerbySoft’s metasearch solutions and automatic bidding manager for Google Hotel Ads intuitively meet new challenges. Learn more about Click by DerbySoft today!

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