A promising start to Google’s Free Booking Links

Jacopo Rita
March 30, 2021
free hotel booking links - promising start

Since Google launched Free Booking Links in early March we’ve put live over a hundred hotels. Today our Metasearch team completed some early performance testing.

Our Metasearch team analysed the performance of 50 client hotels using Google’s new feature. They chose hotels that were already live on Google Hotel Ads to compare performance between the paid Hotel Ads link and the free Hotel Booking Link.

15% clickshare

Early indicators are positive both in terms of traffic and conversion. The analysis reveals that free Hotel Booking Links accounts for circa 15% of overall Google Hotel Ads click throughs and about 10% of conversion.

Official Site and Best Price wins

Although Google is not sharing information on how to improve your ranking on the free listings, we can clearly see two important factors:

  1. The official brand website always ranks first.
  2. Hotels that offer the best price on their official website get the highest click through rates.

The message is clear for hotels. Whether your hotel is already active on Metasearch or has never engaged with Metasearch before – every hotel should avail of Google’s Hotel Booking Links. This a fantastic opportunity for the direct channel. You have nothing to lose here, and it’s free. If for some strange reason you choose not to use your free Hotel Booking Link, be aware – the OTAs will be there with their free link for your hotel!

Don’t ignore your paid listing 

Hotels already active on Metasearch are advised not to ignore or underestimate the importance of their paid listing: 

  • The paid listing performs much better, driving over 85% of traffic and 90% of conversion. Your free listing will help to drive more traffic but it will not replace the bookings you get from your paid listings. 
  • Your paid listing gives you total control over the targeting of your ad, resulting in much high conversion from highly targeted traffic.
  • Free Booking Links do not show up within the hotel knowledge panel which is the most engaged area of Google Hotel ads. Free listings will only show up within Google Travel immersive pages where users have to click view more rates, and so the potential for traffic is much reduced.

Ready to get started?

It’s good news for Bookassist Booking Engine clients – Google’s free Hotel Booking Link feature is waiting for you and just needs to be enabled – complete the form below to get started. 

Don’t worry if you are not a Bookassist client  – we work with hundreds of booking engines and channel managers. 

Get started with Hotel Booking Links by filling in the form below:

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