Google Testing New Property Promotion
Ads Experience

Google is testing a new user experience (UX) that is designed to elevate consumers’ hotel searches when booking travel. In this new UX, some users are served a destination-level search, complete with Property Promotion Ads – even when searching for and clicking into a specific property’s availability page.


Standard Hotel Ads Experience

In the standard metasearch experience, after a user searches for a hotel, a metasearch auction populates with participating advertisers for that auction based on the user’s search query. 

The user could either click out to be redirected to an advertiser’s site via the “visit site” button, or continue shopping rates via the “check availability” or “view more” buttons. After clicking either of these, the user would be redirected to a prices page, where they could continue to adjust their check-in dates, guest size, etc., compare prices between advertisers, and view additional prices not shown in the prior auction. With Google’s latest PPA experiment, there’s no need to click away to find other hotels; additional hotel details are displayed next to the search results. 


The New Property Promotion Ads Experience

Currently with this test, when a user clicks on either the “check availability” or “view more” buttons, the user is redirected to a page that includes the standard metasearch auction for the property via a modal over the map results, and for the destination of the original property (e.g. hotels near New York Marriott Marquis). The results include both PPA and metasearch placements like what would be expected in a regular search.

This means that both a PPA auction and metasearch auction for the searched hotel are both present simultaneously. From there, the user can continue as they normally would by either clicking on an advertiser for the searched hotel, or this modal can be closed (as shown in the example) and navigate via the map interface to discover new hotels and see updated promoted ads.


What This Means for Travelers
At a high level, travelers will benefit from this new experience by receiving more information about the area they plan to visit. While they will still be able to price shop for a specific property, or click through to a booking for that property in the same way they previously did, they will now also be able to explore alternative properties and compare prices for that area.


What This Means for Hotels and Advertisers
While this is currently only a test, there are a few implications should this new UX roll out across 100% of traffic.

More hotels now appear in a search, meaning that it’s more possible for your hotel(s) or your competitor’s hotels to be the user’s final selection, as options are now present in addition to the originally searched hotel. A user can continue to click through your hotel, or a competitor may have a more appealing ad or property listing. 

    • Curb Appeal Matters
      With competition now sharing the same page as your hotel, a user who may have intended to stay with their original searched hotel may be enticed by an advertiser with a PPA ad, or a hotel in the destination results. Whether you are trying to ensure you maintain your originally intended traffic, or gain new traffic from competitors, having the proper curbside appeal matters. This means ensuring you have everything for your property page setup correctly for the following:

      • If on PPA:
        • Ad Callouts
        • Ad Badging
      • Champion Image and Supplementary Images
      • Core Data
        • Hotel Name
        • Address
        • Phone Number
        • Hotel Website
      • Additional Information
        • Full List of Available Amenities
        • User Reviews
        • Hotel Details
  • Metasearch
    Typically, users who are interacting with metasearch ads have a clear idea of where they intend to stay. This means they are likely to continue to book their stay at their searched hotel. In other words, click-through rates for metasearch ads may not be severely impacted by this new test, as most users will continue to book where they originally searched.
  • Property Promoted Ads (PPA)
    One of the main impacts we have seen so far with this new UX is an increase in the overall eligible impressions for PPA. The total amount of PPA ads eligible to be served is getting a boost from this new real estate. Previously, PPA ads were only triggered via a specific route, a destination search and selecting “View More Hotels,” or going to Google Maps view directly. 

It has yet to be determined what impact this new UX will have on the effectiveness of PPA ads. However, one indicator we will be monitoring is the user behavior for the two different pathways to this new experience:

“Check Availability” clicks:
These users are likely to be further along in their decision to book the originally searched property, and are primarily concerned with adjusting check-in and check-out dates at this point in their journey. We hypothesize that the overall click-through rate for PPA ads served after this click will be lower than the “View More” click traffic.

“View More” clicks:
These would be for the users who have scrolled through all of the initially advertised rates and then selected “View More.” They are likely to be more price sensitive and not as committed to booking the exact property from the original search. In these instances, the Property Promotion Ads and organic listings may be more impactful in the new experience and likely to see better overall click and conversion rates.

Where PPA ads have historically been a tool to advertise further up in the funnel and sway a user’s decision to book a property that they had not previously considered, they now take on an additional purpose of either re-affirming a user’s decision by delivering an ad for the original search, or they have the potential to competitively conquest a user into selecting an alternative property.


What’s Next?
For now, this appears to be a brief test by Google that is only available to a subset of users. However, being prepared is the best course of action you can take as a hotel or advertiser today, as these changes can quickly happen. 

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