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Google Organic Meta Listings – Hot or Not?

With Q2 here, we are entering a critical period in not just the year, but as we move into the next phase of this COVID world we’ve been living in for over a year. The sun continues to rise, the birds are chirping, and suitcases are being dusted off in preparation for that long-awaited holiday. The topic of today’s article is THE #1 thing the hospitality industry has been talking about since Google unveiled to the world on 3/9/21 (during ITB) that they will include “organic” listings in meta search results. Organic Free Meta Listing Organic translates to a ‘no ad spend cost’ meta listing below the initial 4 top paid slots. Someone clicking on the link won’t incur any charge to the hotel for that action. There’s no OTA commission to pay after the fact. Koddi, our partner, recently did a write up on it. Some questions raised since the unveiling have been: (1) “If we don’t have a meta campaign active, our listing isn’t showing up because it’s never been created – now what?” (2) “Why should I pay for a CPC meta campaign when I can now be included in the search results for free?” Great questions. Let’s answer them. Question 1: If we don’t have a meta campaign active, our listing isn’t showing up because it’s never been created – now what? If a hotel is currently running a CPC meta campaign with us or another provider, their listing should already be showing up in the “organic /no cost” listing spot. This includes campaigns that might have run out of budget and/or recently paused. Therefore, the listing has been created, and as long as rates are loaded in the CRS correctly, the property will display the listing. Do a search for a hotel, click ‘View more rates’ and you’ll see it. With both the paid and organic listing showing, hotels’ own brand.com sites show ahead of the OTAs, which increases the chance a hotel can capture a direct booking. For hotels that aren’t running a meta campaign through anyone – they don’t have a listing created so they’re not currently showing up. How do you remedy this? The meta provider would need to create the listing, get it approved by Google and loaded correctly – this takes time, knowledge, and effort. Or… Our SHS Digital Experience team can implement this on your behalf. The one-time setup fee of $1,000 per property includes the listing getting created and set up correctly – this listing is up and running for the foreseeable future. Note: reports are not included and there will be no DX support after the initial setup. Second question, why should I pay for CPC when I have the organic listing? Our team analyzed the top 50 best revenue producing meta campaigns that we ran between 3/9/21 (when organic listing was launched) and 3/23/21. The results (as validated by Google):
  • 88% of clicks in the meta space tend to be in the top 4 spaces (paid listings only)
  • Only 11% of clicks are for the ‘View more rates’ link, which would then show the organic listings (as well as more paid options)
  • The organic listing makes up about 1 out of 3 bookings, which is over indexing from that 11% stat
Looking at the above information, you can see how much money you are leaving on the table by only doing the organic listing (no paid). If your property would like to further leverage these listings, we recommend adding the Google Hotel Ads channel for a 3-month trial. $1000 per property, per month – minimum 3 months commitment This includes:
  • Setup of the organic listing
  • Budget for Google Hotel Ads on CPC (cost per click) basis
  • Option to cancel paid Google Hotel Ads after the initial term with 30-day notice (organic listings continue)
  • Paid campaigns continue to run if no termination notice is given
  • Access to Retailing Insights for campaign performance
  • Note: There is no distinction between organic and paid listings performance on Retailing Insights; Access continues if you terminate paid Google Hotel Ads after the initial term
*Contact your Sabre Account Manager for more information! This article clearly shows the benefits of participating, click on the link to review from Phocuswire: Google’s free booking links for hotels – too good to be true?

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