Posts tagged with: Miraidigital

Google Hotel Ads adds children to its occupancy filter

En españolen français, em português.

A few months after adding the flexible cancellation filter, Google added the “children” concept and their ages to its occupancy filter which, up until now, only referred to “people”.  This substantial improvement enables users to receive the best available rate since they can be much more accurate in their search criteria. It is a very sought-after feature, especially in the more leisure segment, and it opens the possibility for hotels to expose their direct channel hence competing with the leading OTAs in a much higher position in the funnel than the direct channel traditionally holds. 

Main novelties and advantages for your direct sale

  •     More visibility of rates that before never appeared: Many hotels accept 2 adults + 2 children in the room, but not 4 adults. These hotels couldn’t show this inventory in Hotel Ads since searches were only available for up to 4 people (which didn’t include 2 adults + 2 children parties). From now on, these occupancies will have the visibility they didn’t before.

  •     More visibility of your direct channel by eliminating competitors: Just like with the rest of filters, the user obtains a reduced amount of options, not all channels have all the hotel’s inventory available or send this information correctly to the metasearcher. By applying this filter, many OTAs will be left out, which improves the possibility of clicks and conversion to the direct channel and metasearch campaigns’ performance.

 

  •   More competitiveness of your direct channel vs OTAs: Up until now, Google searched for people without making a difference between adults and children. If you apply special discounts for children to your rates and, as long as your integration with Hotel Ads is adapted to this functionality, you will appear with a much more attractive rate and will be more competitive versus OTAs. 

  •     More visibility of your hotel in the search by destination: At the same time, you will be more competitive in your destination since your rates for children will now be visible and therefore much more attractive. In searches by destination, all hotels would show rates for 3 or 4 people. From now on, all those with specific rates for children will be able to show them and highlight them gaining visibility in these very attractive searches since they are at the top of the funnel (new demand, therefore).

The importance of occupancies with children

Reservations made with occupancies that include children represent 20% of the overall metasearch channel sales. If we analyse only hotels with rates for adults and children, it rises to 28%.

These reservations are highly valuable since their average stay is 33% higher, and their average rate  12% higher.

A 43% higher average sale will have a very positive impact on your campaigns’ performance, which will generate a higher profit than the current, giving you the possibility to bid more aggressively should you wish to do so to gain more visibility. 

How can I check whether my direct channel is adapted to children occupancies?

Very simple. Look for your hotel in Google and get into the Hotel Ads module. By default, Google selects 2 guests. Change it to select any occupancy with children.

Possible outcomes:

  • You are completely out. This is the worst case scenario as you lose all visibility that the different occupancies would give you. Check with your integration partner that you are sending all occupancies’ rates to Hotel Ads. In this other post we give more information about this case.
  • Your direct channel remains but with wrong prices. That happens when you have the different occupancies in Hotel Ads, but your partner has not updated this last feature. The result is worrying in the sense that you appear as the most expensive option (when you are not) as you are showing the price for 3 or 4 adults instead of the prices for children (that OTAs are showing). The outcome is what you expect: fewer visits and sales.

  • Your direct channel prevails and shows the correct, and best, price. If this is the case, you are all set and would be benefiting from this new feature and getting more visibility of the most interesting clients (higher occupancy means higher ADR). 

What do I have to do to appear in adult and children searches on Hotel Ads?

Verify that your integration partner is sending the information broken down into children occupancy + age of each rate to Hotel Ads and that they have performed any required setups.

At Mirai, we have adapted our technology so that all our booking engine or Mirai Metasearch  customers are already enjoying this new functionality without any hassle or additional costs.

 The adults and children filter has yet to appear in all pages where Hotel Ads results are shown (for now it appears on Google Travel and Search Experience and not in the traditional Google results search module). It is foreseeable that Google includes it soon. Undoubtedly, it is a significant user experience improvement, especially in leisure hotels, which will surely convey an increase in the quality of the reservations made on this channel.

To learn more about how to boost your direct channel in metasearchers click here or contact  metasales@mirai.com

Free booking links in Google Hotel Ads, everything you need to know

En españolen françaisem português.

Google Hotel Ads free booking links according to Mirai

 

[Update May 2021: After eight weeks we published real numbers and conclusions of free booking links impact.]

Google has just announced the launch of free booking links in Google Hotel Ads. Until today, Hotel Ads was a 100% paid showcase in which only bidding channels would appear in the results. Now, a hotel’s homepage will appear in the Hotel Ads results, even if they are not bidding. An interesting and, once again, smart move by Google.

Free booking links show up just below the paid ads. Google differentiates between “Ads – Featured options” and “All options”.

Google hotel ads free booking links according to Mirai

This new layout is very much aligned with the traditional, and very much successful, search results page (SERP). In the SERP, the top of the page is reserved for paid ads, and organic results are below. In Hotel Ads, the “organic” listings are now called Free Booking Links.

New layout Google hotel ads according to Mirai

How many entries appear in the “free booking links” results?

The results will vary, but we can assume this will be between one and ten results. If you click on the “view more options from $xx”, it pulls options that match your criteria without limiting the number of entries.

How many ads show up in the top part of the results?

This will also vary, but we have seen a range anywhere from one to four listings. 

Are “free booking links” results also shown in Google Maps?

So far, we have only seen these new organic links within the Google Travel results page. We have tested but found nothing Google Maps.

How to show up your hotel in these “free booking links”?

Besides having your Google My Business profile verified and up to date (Google released a guide last August), you need an integration partner that connects you to Hotel Ads, which is an easy process. Your hotel will be included within the integration partner feed and it will be eligible to show up in the free booking links, as long as you use an integration partner.

Do I need to be active with a paid campaign to show up results in the free booking links?

No. You can be in the free booking links without any active campaign. That is, you can be in Hotel Ads for free. 

Google hotel ads for free Mirai

I am not connected to Google Hotel Ads. What are my options?

Google published an extensive list of active integration partners. Mirai is one of them, and we are proud to offer a full-stack integration with features including photos of rooms, compatibility with all the available filters (different occupancies, flexible cancellation), room bundles and Book on Google among many others.

Is the same information shown in the “paid” and “free booking links” sections?

Entries in the “paid” section have a lot of information such as room photos, cancellation policies, logo, occupancy, call outs and all of the rates & room types. It also has the “official site” label.

Information paid Mirai

What we see in the “organic” section is simpler and has less information, showing the logo, “official site” label, occupancy, cancellation policy and price. 

google Hotel Ads information free Mirai

What is the “sort order” in the “free booking links” section?

Google traditionally values the quality of the integration (technical requirements), competitiveness of the price compared with other channels (or bidders) and the conversion rate of the channel. We’ll test in the coming weeks about what variables affect this order, but so far it’s very early to make conclusions.

Do filters affect “free booking links” results?

Yes they do. Both “free booking links” and “paid” results are affected when the “occupancy filter” or the “free cancellation filter” are applied. Having a solid integration with Hotel Ads is again crucial to take full advantage of all new features that Google releases.

Filters affect in google hotel ads Mirai

Will it be possible to differentiate the traffic from the “paid” and “free booking links” sections in Google Analytics?

Google allows you to differentiate it. However, your integration partner should work on facilitating that work for you. How? By adapting the deeplink to your site to identify when it comes from the new “free booking links” section (either using If-Ad-Click or If-Hotel-Campaign techniques). If your integration partner does not do the work for you, all traffic coming from these “organic” links will be labeled in Analytics as if it were “paid links”. 

At Mirai, we have adapted our integration and customized the “source” and “medium” variables so you see it right in Google Analytics.

Traffic Source Medium Mirai

Additionally, we’ve been recording all this traffic for quite some time. You can download, in our Metasearch dashboard, a booking report with all the detailed information from those reservations, including the source and medium it comes from: paid or free booking links.

How will this “free booking links” section affect the bids and CPCs in the “paid” sections of Hotel Ads?

It is too early to know. Top positions will definitely be more competitive, and that may translate into higher CPCs. Nevertheless, having free links in the “organic” section would also compensate for that increase in CPCs. So, we have to wait and see.

Should I expect an increase in volume and bookings with the new “free hotels links”?

It is still too early to know so we cannot say for certain. On one hand, you will get more traffic as you have a new placement for your direct channel. On the other, this new entry may somehow cannibalise traffic coming from the paid section. In essence, we’d argue that you should be getting more traffic and bookings in general. That being said, we will know more as we use the tool.

What percentage of the total traffic should I expect to be “free” and what “paid”?

So far, our data suggests that roughly 3% of the total traffic came from these new “free hotels links” in the last weeks. However, we do not know what percentage of users saw this new section and in what hotels. Therefore, this 3% is a conservative estimate. We’ll closely monitor this piece of data in the coming weeks.

Conclusion

Google is putting a strong emphasis on enhancing search for hotels on Google to not only improve user experience, but provide advertisers with more campaign optimizations. For hotels and the direct channel, any change to this product represents a new opportunity to compete with OTA’s and drive more direct traffic. As a hotelier, it is crucial to pay attention to two things: adding to your core business with these features and using them to their full potential, and finding the best integration partner to help you execute these best practices.

Interested in knowing more about free booking links within Hotel Ads? Please visit Mirai Metasearch or contact us at metasales@mirai.com.

Mirai selects Koddi to help hotels better compete in metasearch

En españolen françaisem português.

Metasearch already scaled to become one of the most important online marketing channels in 2019, continuing its growth trajectory faster than traditional Ads. The difference has grown even more in 2020 as hotels, due to the covid-19 crisis, moved a large amount of their CPC investments to available commission models in metasearch such as Google commission per stay or CPS (formerly known as GHACP) or the recently launched trivago CPA. We expect, nevertheless, that this move will be reversed once we overcome this crisis.

Mirai + Koddi LinkedinRegardless of the bidding model, it is certain that metasearch is here to stay and will continue to be a crucial channel once the demand picks up again. The assumption that metasearch is a plug an and play approach is a common misconception that can create wasted media dollars at lower efficiency. Metasearch requires highly sophisticated machine learning, automation and specialized  management. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and many hotels that operate with this assumption can lose advertising dollars quickly when the channel is not managed correctly.

Hoteliers understand that Metasearch is  the most important channel for driving demand,” said Alexander Steenbakkers-Noffke, Managing Director at  Koddi. “The complexity and tech investment around optimization set a high bar in the past to engage with this channel, to effectively compete hotels must win when it comes to optimization for Google, TripAdvisor, Trivago, Kayak and more. Koddi is thrilled to be working with an industry leader such as Mirai to deliver that competitive advantage for their customers.”

Koddi Mirai metasearch

In order to implement a successful metasearch strategy, hotels need to gain a fully understanding of how to manage the channel, or find the right partner to address and properly execute on each of the following:

  1. Service
  2. Connectivity
  3. Bidding Optimization

Mirai is a service-driven company, being at the pulse of our client needs (always being very close to our clients), consulting on questions and giving direction on how to improve metasearch performance advising what to do in order to improve their performance in meta.

At Mirai, we have the leading  connectivity solution  with proprietary integrations with the leading  metasearch publishers (Google Hotel Ads, trivago, Tripadvisor, Kayak and Skyscanner),  supporting all all their features such as 15 best practices in Google Hotel Ads and auction levers. Our integration with metas seamlessly redirects users to any booking engine (either ours or third-party ones).

Finally, the third, and crucial, leg to make metasearch work is defining an adequate bidding strategy. Commission models might work for many hotels to establish a baseline. However, you can do better in scale and efficiency with the best marketing technology available, squeezing every dollar you invest. At Mirai, our approach is twofold. We count with a great metasearch team who masters bidding, and we rely on our technology such as Mirai Metasearch dashboard to make the best decisions.

However, if we want to truly excel in bidding optimization, we need the best automation and AI tools in the market such as Koddi’s Enterprise solution. Starting today, Mirai will license the Koddi Enterprise platform to maximize exposure of hotel properties on metasearch channels, driving more bookings and improving marketing ROI.

Our marketing team will lean on Koddi solutions to:

  • Create metasearch campaigns across the main publishers using best-in-class technology.
  • Leverage advanced bidding algorithms that can be customized to match a client’s campaign goals.
  • Utilize granular signals such as price competitiveness data, occupancy rates, cancellation rates, audiences, etc. to enhance bidding strategies.
  • Ultimately take advantage of all available opportunities and exploit them to drive bookings and revenue with maximum efficiency.
  • Create customized reporting views of client’s metasearch programs to understand the impact of campaigns at any level.
  • Access incremental marketing channels such as TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements, Google Promoted Hotels, Trivago Sponsored Listings, Kayak Inline Ads, etc.

I’m a current client of Mirai booking engine or metasearch solution, how will I benefit from Koddi?

Our marketing team counts on Koddi’s Enterprise solution to fully automate and optimize every dollar you spend. That means higher ROI and, in many cases, higher overall volume of transactions and transaction value too.

I want to manage Koddi’s Enterprise solution by myself, can I do so?

No. Koddi’s Enterprise product is designed for large hotel groups and metasearch companies which have a team of trained and highly skilled analysts managing the campaigns and that are updated and educated in real time on any met publisher or market changes. This role will play the Mirai team for you in order to ensure management in our best interest and maximum return of your investment.

Thanks to this partnership, you will be able to use Koddi’s technology through the Mirai team, who has been properly trained to use Koddi’s Enterprise and is using the tool behind the scenes for the past 12 months on selected accounts

Nevertheless, you will always have full access to your campaigns and their performance in our Mirai Metasearch dashboard.

I am a large hotel chain with direct access to Koddi’s Enterprise version. Can I use Mirai as the integration partner?

Yes. Our integration with metasearch is fully compatible with Koddi’s Enterprise solution. 

Will I pay more now that Mirai will use Koddi?

Adding Koddi’s technology is optional. You can stay as you are now, especially if all your investments are in commission models.

For those who want to put their Enterprise version to work for them, there will be an additional cost. Contact your account manager to know more details.

I want to know more about this new partnership between Mirai and Koddi, what do I need to do?

Contact your account manager to know more details.

If you do not work with Mirai yet, please contact us at metasales@mirai.com.