Occasionally we’re asked for clarification around where Hotel Finder and Hotel Price Ads traffic comes from, so we wanted to take the opportunity to shine a little light on the subject. It’s easy to understand how the question comes up, since there isn’t a major path into Hotel Finder like there is with Google’s other products. As of this writing (August 20th, 2013) Hotel Finder is not promoted in the Google header, in the search results header, or on Google’s Products page. While there are probably some users that have built up an affinity for Hotel Finder, it’s probably safe to assume that most users aren’t typing “google.com/hotels” into their navigation bar to start their hotel search.
Instead, users take a common path into the Hotel Finder experience on Google. It starts – unsurprisingly – with a search. User searches trigger different Hotel Finder entrance paths (a commercial unit, in Google terminology) next to natural, map, and text ad results and give a user some immediate information based on their input. A few searches that trigger Hotel Finder entrance paths are:
After interacting with one of the results in Hotel Finder ad unit, users are brought directly into Google’s hotel search experience, landing either on a destination search page or to a specific property. All of the ads that a user engages with as a part of this experience are classified as having the type of “hotelfinder” – and we’ll touch on this in a bit more detail below.
The most direct path into Hotel Finder is by clicking on any of the links in the unit above. Even if a user doesn’t interact with the commercial unit, there is still a chance that they’ll interact with Hotel Finder indirectly through Hotel Price Ads displayed on web properties. On desktop devices, there are three more ways that users can interact with Hotel Finder and Hotel Price Ads.
Our data indicates that “hotelfinder” is the most displayed type. In order of impression volume, the other types are “placespage”, “mapresults”, and “localuniversal”. So how do users get there? The key is the universal result set:
From here, access to Hotel Price Ads of all types are fairly simple. When clicking into a specific business on Google Places / Google+ Local, the ads – “placespage” – are shown below the property description:
If a user chooses to engage with Google Maps, then they will see the hotel prices listed to the right of each of the property names. The date selection is shown at the top of the results and the set updates dynamically based on the selected dates. These are “mapresults” ads:
The last type of search or ad type is “localuniversal” and these have recently changed format a bit. This happened around the same time as the launch of the carousel launch. When clicking on a hotel result in the carousel, the hotel information will show up on the right side of the search results page. In that unit, you can see the drop down for hotel price ads:
It should be noted that all of these traffic sources are valid at the time of this writing, but they have changed in the past and will probably continue to evolve. We’ll do our best to update this post, but these sources do change from time to time.
Beyond just being good to know, this information can be extremely valuable when it comes to managing your Hotel Price Ads campaign on Hotel Finder. As you might expect, performance (click through rate, conversion rate, return) can differ greatly by the path that the user takes to your site. Sophisticated advertisers are bidding differently by each search type using bid multipliers and achieving great success by doing so. If you’re just submitting a flat bid across search types or if you’re not actively managing bids on a daily basis, you may be missing out on visibility opportunities and high performing traffic.
If you want to see how Koddi makes it easy to slice, dice, and analyze opportunities to improve positioning across the search types and maximize return on your campaign, you can e-mail us to schedule a demo.