Google is introducing new organic and paid features for travel and leisure businesses, including ticket booking links and pricing in search results, new “Things to do” ads and an eco-certified badge for hotel listings, the company announced Wednesday.
Ticket booking links. In addition to showing general information when users search for attractions, such as the Statue of Liberty or Tokyo Tower, for example, Google will now also show booking links for basic admission and other ticketing options (when available).
The company also has plans for a wider rollout of this feature: “In the months ahead, we’ll also begin showing information and booking links for experiences in a destination, like wine tasting in Paris or bike tours in California,” the search engine said.
Ticket booking links can be promoted at no cost. Attractions, tours and activities operators that want to participate can learn more over at Google’s Help Center.
Introducing Things to do ads. Google is also introducing a new paid product for travel and leisure businesses: Things to do ads (shown below).
These ads will appear above the search results when users search for tours, activities and local attractions on Google Search. They show details such as images, reviews, pricing and include a booking link for the activity, and are shown to users based on their search terms, location and other related details.
Things to do ads are an automated format that use data from your inventory feed based on the ad group label. Advertisers can designate a budget and target users based on their country of residence and device type. Except for target impression share, all bidding strategies available for Search campaigns are also available for Things to do campaigns. Google’s Help Center has more details on how to get started with this new offering.
Eco-certified badges for hotel listings. Beginning this week, hotels that are certified for high standards of sustainability from certain independent organizations, such as EarthCheck or Green Key, will have an eco-certified badge next to their name, in the search results.
Additionally, users can view more information about a hotel’s sustainability efforts in the “About” tab of the hotel’s profile, as shown above. Hotel listing managers can add these attributes to their business profile by signing into Google My Business or by contacting Google My Business support.
Why we care. As the world gradually moves away from the pandemic, these offerings could help travel and leisure businesses bounce back from over a year and a half of disruption.
Ticketing booking links in search results may help attract reservations or sales for ticket sellers with competitive prices. In its announcement, Google drew similarities between this feature and free hotel booking links: “While it’s still early days, we’ve found that free hotel booking links result in increased engagement for both small and large partners,” the company said, “Hotels working with the booking engine WebHotelier saw more than $4.7M in additional revenue from free booking links this summer. With more than 6,000 active hotels, WebHotelier shared that they were ‘pleasantly surprised to receive reservations right from Google at no additional cost,’” the company said.
The new Things to do ad format is another tool that attractions operators can use to reach travelers that have shown an interest in a particular destination and can be a nice supplement to organic marketing efforts.
And, the eco-certified badge for hotel listings may distinguish business profiles in the search results, which can be a unique selling point for environmentally conscious travelers.
While Google’s competitors in the travel sector may release (or already have) similar features available, these offerings strengthen Google as a travel platform by leveraging the company’s ecosystem of services and products, making it easier for users to plan their trips in one place.
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