The Google Playbook

Cook Islands Tourism

Welcome to the Google Playbook for Accommodation Providers, your ultimate guide to increasing visibility and driving direct bookings online

Google is making it easier for hotels to drive direct bookings! In this playbook, we will explore three steps that will maximize your online presence and help you reach your target audience effectively with Google My Business Listing, Google Free Booking Links, and Google Hotel Ads.

Why is Google a big deal?

  • 1-3 hotel queries start on Google Maps
  • 1-4 hotel bookings start on Google Maps
  • 70% of travellers use one or more metasearch tools (Google Hotel Ads,TripAdvisor) to refine, compare and finally decide where to stay.

Step 1: Google My Business Listing

Google My Business (GMB) listing is a free online tool that showcases your accomodation on Google Search and Maps, making it easier for potential guests to find you. GMB also streamlines the search process immediately displaying quick and relevant details to attract and engage customers. Optimise your listing by including essential details such as your business name, address, phone number, website, and business hours. Provide a compelling description that highlights your unique features and amenities. Additionally, encourage your satisfied guests to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile, as positive reviews can build trust and influence potential guests.

Click here for more information on how to create your Google My Business listing.

Step 2: Google Free Booking Links

Once you have your Google My Business listing set up, it's time to leverage Google's Free Booking Links feature. With Free Booking Links (FBL), you can allow guests to book instantly and directly with you, bypassing third-party platforms and their commission fees. This not only increases your revenue but forms and strengthens your relationships with guests.

To be eligible for FBL, you will first need to register as a Hotel Center partner, and to get your FBL started click here. With FBL, your booking link is added to your Google My Business listing, however do note that your Online Travel Agents (OTA) will get priority with visibility in the listing and your FBL will be found under 'View More' or 'Other Options'.

Step 3: Google Hotel Ads

Google Hotel Ads (GHA) is a paid advertising service that allows hotels to display their listings on Google Search and Maps. When a user searches for a hotel on Google, your listing may appear in the search results, along with your rates, availability, and photos. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad and books a stay with you.

Here are some of the benefits of using Google Hotel Ads:

  • Your listings will be displayed prominently on Google Search and Maps, which can help you attract more potential guests.
  • When potential guests see your listings, they can easily book a stay with you directly from Google.
  • GHA targets users interested in hotels and is a 'Pay per Booking' advertising service. This can help you improve your return on investment.

Is it the same as Google Ads?

No, Google Ads are non-industry specific "Pay per Click" promotional service which does not track correlation with guest conversions or bookings.

To get started see Hotel Campaigns in Google Ads.