Google has become synonymous with the internet in the digital era. Its exceptional suite of online services and products is for all – businesses and end-users alike. The hospitality industry is no exception. The search giant has launched ingenious products for the travel and hospitality industry in the past, including Google hotel search, Google hotel ads (hereinafter referred to as “GHA”), and travel insights with Google. Recently, Google deployed an addition to its excellent line-up of offerings – The Free Booking Link Program (hereinafter referred to as ‘FBL’).
With Google FBL, travel companies and hotels will be able to have their exclusive presence on the booking links’ list. Properties will be able to showcase their real-time booking rates and availability on Google hotel search and maps, enabling them to have:
Direct, commission-free bookings: Since the organic listing now features individual property’s booking link, it strengthens the chances of receiving direct bookings.
Better reach: FBL improves online presence by appearing on Google search and maps to reach potential customers.
Revenue growth: Better reach will result in improved online visibility, and in turn, uplift revenue generation opportunities.
Furthermore, Google FBL indirectly impacts:
User engagement: The organic appearance of a property through FBL will play a significant role in acquiring a new user-base. By having an active presence, the accommodation providers will engage users by keeping their business positioned where customers are.
Brand recognition: Hotels’ appearance on the #1 search engine will attract relevant traffic onto the website, making visitors stay and explore the property. As a result, prospects online will be aware of the property. There’s no reason why hotels wouldn’t want to subscribe to FBL. It attracts 100% organic traffic to the websites and drives bookings.
Additionally, it would be imperative for hotels to have a fast, responsive, and mobile-friendly website to cater to online traffic effectively. By placing suitable offers, a gallery of the property, enlisting amenities and perks, hotels can influence users to book rooms directly on the website and record commission-free bookings. To promote participations, Google has partnered with a few cutting-edge hospitality tech-providers for its launch of the FBL. Hotels and accommodation providers can now collaborate with one of the authorized partners through booking engines to register for FBL and seize advantages associated with it.
eZee is one of the initial FBL integration providers. As a Google FBL authorized integrator, eZee has further consolidated its dedication to delivering value-oriented solutions to hotels and other hospitality providers. Some of eZee’s enrolled customers have recorded a rise in direct bookings through Google FBL and are affirmative about further revenue impact. BRG Budget Stay has acquired astonishing 161 direct bookings, 10% bookings growth in a single month. The Strabon Hotel, Mexico, has received 14 direct bookings from FBL and is confident that FBL will represent 9-10% of the annual revenue.
Travelers across the world are hopeful in 2021: According to Travel Pulse, 70% of their travel survey participants want to travel in 2021. The world is gearing up for a change, so should the hospitality industry, and that change is Google FBL. Google has crafted a path to provide hotels with a fair chance to enhance visibility, augment business opportunities, achieve profitability, and sustainability.
According to some key travel agency statistics, it is estimated that 700 million people will be booking their hotel rooms online by 2023. Google FBL also facilitates travelers to have a superior booking experience.
Moreover, it presents the hotel tech-providers with an opportunity to introduce service variations and expansion of their offerings to accommodate FBL integration. For the selected FBL partners like eZee, this effort from Google stands as a means of extending the booking engine software to a colossal customer base, making them eligible for the FBL enrolment and revenue enhancement. Initially, booking links were a part of Google Hotel Ads only which had fees ranging from 10-20% of the booking amount. Now, with FBL, hotels will be organically listed at zero cost, expanding their online reach. It’s a never-before moment for hospitality businesses to associate with Google and encash the scope of revenue generation through FBL.
About Aeijaz Sodawala
Aeijaz Sodawala is a Chief Executive Officer at eZee Technosys – the global leader in hospitality technology. His roles and responsibilities at the organization involve making strategic decisions, managing the company’s overall resources as well as operations, and being the voice of the company. Aeijaz joined eZee in 2008, and in a short span, developed a sharp understanding of hospitality business processes. He started his journey at eZee in customer support and gradually participated in sales, marketing, partnership and business expansion activities. He has contributed greatly to the formation of Indian as well as international sales teams at eZee. Aeijaz holds a track record of successful entrepreneurship in the South-East Asian market acquiring vast experience in start-up establishments. He has been a key driver in creating the foundation for the hospitality software business of eZee outside India. He worked on multiple projects in Thailand where he discovered immense opportunities for eZee solutions in the ASEAN hospitality market. Aeijaz is an intuitive leader. He is a resourceful decision-maker, skilled at identifying and successfully solving organizational problems. He has strong analytical, organizational, and long range planning abilities.