Google Maps was founded in 2005, where it helps people to get from Location A to Location B and it was available on desktop version only. Today, Google Maps has been widely used by everyone in the world as it evolved into more than just helping people get around.
In March 2021, Google is expanding its features by introducing free hotel booking links and showing them on Google Search and Google Maps.
In my previous blog, I have explained what Google Free Booking Link is, how it works and how it benefits hoteliers around the world. If you haven’t yet read about it, I believe this is the right time for you to explore what is it about here. Let's recap some of the important information with more explanation.
Why Google Free Booking Link?
Basically, Google Free Booking Link is an opportunity to drive more traffic to a hotel website which helps to increase hotel direct bookings as well as compete with OTAs in brand queries. Below, I listed three important reasons why hotels should get listed on Google Free Booking Link.
Chances for hoteliers to increase bookings through a direct channelIf you use any online hotel booking engine systems, the chances of people booking your property online depend on which platform you install that booking engine. It’s either your hotel website, your Facebook page, your WhatsApp, etc.
Hence, if you integrate your booking engine system with Google FBL, the chances of getting more bookings are higher since you're using a giant search engine to advertise your booking channel. Many travelers are now relying on Google to do their research to make an online booking. So this is where the Google FBL becomes a hero to your business.
Watch the video below to find out how Google Free Booking Link can be found on Google
Due to the high commission charged by OTAsThere is no doubt that OTAs like Booking.com, Agoda, Traveloka play an important part in your distribution strategy. In fact, they spend millions of dollars attracting visitors to their platforms.
However, ever since OTAs increasingly popular, they are times the OTAs conducted promotions without consent from the properties host due to the competition between OTAs, hence the increase of commission fees resulted in low revenue for the hotel business.
“While official commission rates range between 20% and 25%, the introduction of promotions by the OTAs without giving notice to hoteliers can bump commission rates as high as 45%” - said Ng Hong Kiat, chairman of MyBHA Selangor.
To reach more potential customers globallyGoogle is going to turn 24 this September. As a giant search engine, they understand the users' desires and have the ability to provide high quality and most accurate results. With Google FBL features, you have a high chance to reach more potential customers all around the world without spending on paid advertisements.
The Impact of Google Free Booking Link on Hotel Business
Google Free Booking Link is proven in helping hotels to increase sales from their direct booking channel hence saving many commissions paid to OTAs, provided if the hotels offer the best rate through the Booking Engine channel.
If you are still unsure of how this is relatable, below are some infographics that explain “how”.
Now, I believe you have the idea of how Google FBL is important to hotels businesses like yours. Without Google Paid Ads like how normally many hoteliers invest, your hotel can also make more sales and revenues through Google with Free Booking Link features.
Proven Result by Google Free Booking Link User
We prove it right. Hotels with Softinn had proven that they collected numbers of bookings through Google FBL. Softinn had launched the integration with Google in the mid of October 2021. Since then, we turned on the Google FBL features for our eligible hotel clients.
Curious about what happens after that? Below are the percentages of bookings collected by some of our hotel clients through Google FBL. The reports are based on bookings from December 2021 to February 2022.
You might think the number of bookings is small. But imagine if you interpret it into the booking value. Below is how it explains.
30 room bookings can save you RM576 given the fact that you sell it slightly cheaper. So, what if the OTAs charge you a 25% commission for each paid booking? Think about it.
How to Get Listed on Google Free Booking Link?
It is quite an easy setup process. Here are things that you need to take into account:
- Make sure that your property is listed on Google Business. If you haven’t, get them listed by referring to this step-by-step guide.
- Get your hotel an online booking engine system. If you already have it, check with your booking engine provider if it integrates with Google FBL. If yes, you can inform them that you are interested to be enrolled in Google FBL. If you do not use any online booking engine system yet, you should get one by reviewing all the options in Google. Not to forget, Softinn is one of the Google-certified integration partners.
Since Google just launched this Google Free Booking Link feature last year, there are still many hotels that missed out on this big opportunity. Having said so, is it still not too late to be part of the Google FBL user.
As a hotelier who aims to maximize hotel revenue, consider adding these features to your business and provided the best Booking Engine rate to increase the direct bookings for your property. If you need more tips to increase your hotel direct booking, feel free to download our Ultimate Guide here.