This new collaboration between Guestline and Google will enable hoteliers to increase direct booking volumes and revenues by automatically exposing rates and inventory directly to Google as part of their free booking links.
Guest search results will include placement of a Google free booking link (or Google Hotel Ad) in metasearch panels across Google Search and Google Maps. Bookings are facilitated by Guestline’s own booking engine, which is directly integrated into the hotel’s Guestline PMS, to capture more of the direct market.
Historically there have been a number of elements required to enable hoteliers to work with online search engines to drive bookings. These include a metasearch channel, the data itself which if manually uploaded is often out of date and therefore redundant almost straight away, or a booking platform to fulfil a booking and invariably a high cost to the hotelier to acquire the guest. Guestline’s partnership with Google now delivers a much more efficient approach so that hoteliers can deliver their data and booking engine link direct to Google.
Chris Jones, Product Manager at Guestline comments: “2022 looks set to be the year when hoteliers really sharpen the focus on direct business. The last two years have seen hoteliers prove their mettle and the appetite to capitalize on the direct channel is stronger than ever.
Our new connectivity partnership with Google and this direct connection to their free booking links offers hoteliers a solution that will enable them to realize that ambition. Not only with the opportunity to improve search listings but also the ability to deliver an enhanced and integrated guest experience that takes them seamlessly from search to booking via our PMS.
“It has been built with a guest and hotelier-first approach, to deliver a host of benefits. Not least an increase in direct bookings and revenues but also the opportunity to own the guest relationship and the guest journey end-to-end. From the outset hoteliers have more autonomy and can have full ownership of the guest data, rather than via an often costly third-party OTA. Higher engagement also presents more opportunities for upselling and guest loyalty.
“With the focus it places on integration and price parity between the search price and bookable price coupled with its growth in the ever-advancing metasearch market, Google was the clear choice when it came to selecting a search partner and developing a search product that was fit for purpose in the direct market. We look forward to working with hoteliers to build their search and listings capabilities now and in the future.”
Google free booking links are unpaid links which Google ranks according to their utility to the user. They display hotel name and room rates and when users opt to select a hotel they are taken directly to the web page nominated by the hotelier. Crucially from a profit perspective, hoteliers do not pay a fee for free booking links, as there is no contract required between the hotel and Google. For those hoteliers interested in free booking links, they will firstly need to set up a Google Business Profile.
Alternatively, Google Hotel Ads enable hoteliers to show inventory availability and rates across Google Search, Maps and the Assistant for enhanced visibility, with the option to either book direct or via Google. As a metasearch platform it displays official hotel rates alongside OTA rates. More broadly speaking, metasearch channels aren’t set up to sell direct on behalf of the hotelier, rather collate and display the best overview of the data (rates and availability) available. The ambition is that hotels will be able to drive more direct bookings and in turn reduce the guest to brand acquisition cost, operating on a pay per click rather than commission-based model as guests can book instantly.
For both options the hotel data delivers a structured deep link directly to Guestline’s booking engine, giving the booker accurate and compliant availability and pricing, with the ability to complete the reservation on the hotel’s website for a fully integrated process.