Google is becoming a relevant player in the online hotels sector, something which makes the big existing players like Booking.com or TripAdvisor uncomfortable.
However, Google’s strategy is different to the one of its competitors. It’s not becoming an OTA per se (such as Booking.com or, as it appears, TripAdvisor) and neither is it creating a metasearch engine such as Trivago or Kayak.
Google Hotel Ads (GHA) is a platform of inventory and prices distributed over the different Google products: its search engine, its maps and the new Google Destinations. Is there any doubt now that we will see these prices on Gmail or Google Now sooner rather than later? On the other hand, strangely enough, the product that Google created as a pure price-comparison tool, known as Google Hotel Finder, was shut down in September 2015. That wasn’t Google’s war.
By the way, GHA is the new name of what was previously known as Hotel Price Ads (HPA), a name that has now been removed from its vocabulary.
Using the search engine or the maps, the importance that Google is giving these prices in real time is evident, particularly on mobile devices where its prominence in proportion to the screen size is much higher. Google calls it micro-moments and it consists in giving users what they are looking for at the right time and naturally.
Why participate in the Google Hotel Ads programme?
As a hotelier, it is key to be in GHA since you are occupying an essential display window such as Google and are directly competing with the OTAs in a field in which they have consolidated themselves in by diverting many sales to their pages. All of this takes us to our final objectives: reducing the cost of intermediation and gaining independence from it.
Remember that you are already participating in GHA through OTAs and you are financing their campaigns for them. In other words, OTAs do not invest a single cent in order to place your hotel in metasearch engines, you are paying for everything.