Google has recently announced
that hotel booking links, previously provided through Google Hotel Ads, will be free for hotels and travel companies starting this week on google.com/travel
. The free booking links will appear beneath hotel ads
, generating a free source of traffic for companies even if they’re not a Google Hotel Ads partner. Here’s what you need to know about Google’s free booking links that will soon be released.
Reasoning Behind the Free Hotel Booking Links
In Google's announcement, the company states that this move is to “ensure people have access to all offers available to them by providing free and easy ways for businesses to connect with people on Google.” Earlier last year, Google made it free for partners to participate in Google Flights and opened its Shopping tab to free listings for online retail. Google says it will continue building an open platform to allow partners more opportunities to highlight their information and help people book flights, find places to stay, etc.
Anti-Trust Claims May Have a Part
While Google says it’s offering free hotel booking links to provide more options to people, recent anti-trust claims
might have a part too. Although the true motivation isn’t exactly clear, the free booking links will be welcomed news to the travel and hospitality industries.
Benefits of the Free Booking Links
The major benefit of free booking links is that they will offer a new, free way for hotels and travel companies to reach potential customers. Advertisers will also be able to take advantage of the free booking links to extend the reach of existing Hotel Ads campaigns.
Partners who already participate in the Hotel Prices API and Hotel Ads won’t need to do anything to appear in free booking links. Additionally, any hotel or travel company is eligible to participate via their Hotel Center account. Google expects that all partner types — from individual hotels to online travel agents — will experience increased booking traffic and user engagement with the free feature.
Generate More Search Traffic
Regardless of Google’s motivation, there’s no denying that the free hotel booking links will provide new opportunities for the travel and hospitality industries. Generating traffic is a crucial element of an effective digital marketing
strategy which is why leveraging new features can help your business stay ahead of the competition and increase your campaign’s ROI.