The channels advertised on Google Hotel Ads (among them the hotel’s direct channel) can now show, as well as their prices, photos of the different published rooms. This new feature has arrived thanks to Room Booking Module or RBM, the newest feature that Google has added to its product, Google Hotel Ads.
Undoubtedly, its intention is to continue presenting more information and options to the user in order to facilitate their decision-making process. Images are a fundamental element to choose one room over another, thus facilitating the sale of products of a higher quality and, consequently, a higher price. Therefore, this is another step towards providing Hotel Ads with features normally associated to OTAs, which will make users go to them to choose a hotel. Google does not want to be yet another price-comparison site but rather the main searching, decision-making and even booking point with Book on Google (launched in 2017, despite it only being active in the United States and the United Kingdom).
In your current Google Hotel Ads campaigns (which Google calls Standard), you can choose whether you want to redirect the user to your website or to the Book on Google funnel so they can finish their booking there. It is your decision to activate it or not.
On the other hand, in campaigns which are part of Room Booking Module, all users will be redirected to Book on Google, without the possibility of redirecting them to your hotel’s website. We understand that this move by Google is to boost Book on Google and looks increasingly strategic.
As of today, RBM results are not shown on standard Google searches of a hotel name on a desktop computer. However, funnily enough, they appear on searches from a mobile device. On a mobile device, in the Overview and Prices tabs, you can see the RBM room photos.
RBM shown on mobile in 20 seconds.
On a desktop computer, you can see them in Google Maps when you search for ‘hotel + destination name’, e.g. ‘hotel Barcelona’, and all the options to choose dates, occupancy, etc. appear.
RBM shown on desktop in 20 seconds.
If we analyse the content of RBM we see the following elements:
RBM is currently only active in sales points in the United States. In other words, its results are only shown to US users on google.com. Google is planning to expand this feature to other markets in the future.
Not all OTAs that advertise on Hotel Ads are on RBM. For example, the complete absence of Booking.com is quite striking (Agoda, however, is there), but we do frequently see Expedia and its different brands like Hotels.com, Travelocity and Venere. There are mainly two reasons which justify this:
Like we previously said, the results order in Standard campaigns is not the same as in Room Booking Module, and there are two reasons for it:
The same bids, costs and commissions as your current Google Hotel Ads campaigns are maintained:
RBM activation offers the user two adverts of your direct channel: the traditional Hotel Ads (Standard) and RBM.
Fortunately, Google has incorporated a new filter to the Hotel Ads dashboard to differentiate Standard and RBM campaigns, which will easily allow us to see results from one or the other or combined.
Impressions: If the user finds your hotel and views results from the traditional Hotel Ads and from the new Room Booking Module, two impressions will be counted instead of one.
Clicks: Each module counts the clicks. If a user clicks on both entries, you will have two clicks. According to Google, RBM is complementary (in other words, it does not cannibalise Standard campaigns), so it is improbable that clicks will be made on both adverts.
CTR (click-through-rate) and conversions: Once the impressions and clicks are separated using the aforementioned filter, each module will have its CTR, conversions and conversion ratio numbers. All of this information will be accessible from the Hotel Ads dashboard.
Since it is linked to Book on Google, you need a Google Hotel Ads integration partner that can also offer Book on Google (BoG). As of today, there are very few partners with this technology available to them. At Mirai, we are proud to be one of them since November 2017. You can request a complete Book-on-Google partners list from Google (you can also find Google Hotel Ads partners here).
Even though RBM is linked to Book on Google, you can still maintain your Hotel Ads campaigns redirecting traffic to your website and not to Book on Google:
In other words, if you activate RBM you will not be automatically activating Book on Google for your normal Hotel Ads campaigns.
With this new module. Google Hotel Ads continues to improve its result to offer the same level of detail as other metasearch engines and OTAs. Recently, it added the occupancy filter to its searches and now it allows you to show photos of the rooms without leaving the same page from where the search was made.
With this improvement of its search options, Google continues its path towards becoming an essential node where travel users can do everything they need: get information, decide and book their entire trip (hotels, flights, packages, experiences, etc.).
We believe that RBM is a good opportunity to attract your potential client visually, showing your rooms and reaching where some OTAs still can’t. The potential pros considerably outweigh the cons. It is worth trying it out and analysing the results.
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