Back in January, before we knew the devastating impact coronavirus would have, I touched on the rise of Google as an online travel agency (OTA) but without the service and now, as we look to the ‘new normal’ it’s likely Google’s dominance will step up a gear.
Google is one of the most trusted global brands so it’s little surprise that in these unprecedented times hotel brands are increasingly turning to it for help to attract whatever demand is out there.
Unlike past downturns that have strengthened the OTAs’ position, COVID-19 has forced virtually all travel to stop meaning they no longer have the marketing spend and clout that they enjoyed pre-pandemic. This means that when travellers are searching online it’s Google’s travel products that dominate the results and Google is determined to take as much ground as it can during the crisis.
Google was already hot on the heels of the OTAs before the pandemic. In 2018 it passed Kayak as a source of traffic to airlines. This year’s unprecedented events and the release of new Google products for the hospitality sector look set to accelerate those gains.
In recent weeks, Google has made its “pay-per-stay” platform available to all Google Hotel Ads partners globally. This Cost Per Action approach finally gives hotels an easy, convenient, and risk-free ways of boosting their visibility.
The biggest benefit for hotels is that with pay-per-stay there’s no commission paid when a guest cancels. With cancellation rife in the current climate Google’s willingness to share the risk of cancellations with its hotel partners is a clear demonstration of its commitment to the hospitality sector and we expect there to be a significant shift from hotels to the platform.
What’s more, pay-per-stay aligns with hotels’ commission-per-stay philosophy so marketing teams don’t need to see permission from their sales manager or finance manager to launch a campaign.
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