Google Travel and Search are rewriting the rules for ads when it comes to traveling, in preparation for post-pandemic customers. That’s based on recent reports detailing Google’s shift in direction when it comes to hotels. And to how customers and hotels connect.
Namely, Google will be making it free for hotel booking listings and ads to be shown in both Search and Travel. Underpinning the decision, Google says it wants to help get people traveling again in line with countries opening back up. That’s as vaccinations are on the rise and cases are generally on the decline.
Won’t this cut into Google Travel and Search ads revenue?
Now, this shift isn’t the first to be made by Google, even within this category. Google Flights became free for participating partners in 2020. And later, in April, the company opened Shopping for free listings for online retail. The company has made other pandemic-related changes as well. All of which easily makes it among the best travel tools available. If not in app form.
Google also indicates an understanding that offering a more comprehensive service with fewer barriers helps distinguish its services. Primarily as a go-to place for both hotels and customers.
Direct bookings, it says, are one of the top sources of online revenue for hotels globally. In 2020, for instance, direct hotel websites produced the second-highest volume of revenue for hotels in a number of markets. That’s among hundreds of distribution channels. So removing the barrier will make its own service more competitive. That’s in spite of ad-revenue that will be lost.
Does this still benefit Google?
In terms of where Google will make its money, that’s not necessarily going away entirely. Google will only direct users to a company’s websites via direct booking links for paid Hotel Ads. So the ad model isn’t going away entirely. Rather, it’s being restructured to offer a level playing field for both customers and hotels. With the availability of perks for those who do still want to pay for ads. Specifically, via the above-mentioned direct booking listings.
This change will be seen in Google Travel before it comes to Google Search, although the timeframe for the change in ads policies has not been laid out in its entirety.