Flywheel News | May 2023 Hotel Digital Marketing News | GCommerce

  1. June Marks The Last Month Google Universal Analytics Will Process Data

As you read this, you’re currently in the last month that data will flow into your Google Universal Analytics account. If you don’t have GA4 setup by now, there’s a good chance you won’t have any analytics data available for your site for website traffic past June 30th. Reach out to GCommerce today if you’re unsure or need assistance on where to start with your GA4 setup.

  1. Google Ads Sitelinks vs Promo Extensions For Short Term Deals - What’s Better?

In the world of Google Ads, ad extensions (now referred to as assets) give your valuable extra real estate and call-outs in the SERP. But which ones are better for advertising your hotel’s short term/flash sales, sitelinks or promotion extensions? Read more in one of our recent tests.

  1. Google Marketing Live Focuses on AI in 2023

As the industry continues to lean into AI, Google’s Marketing Live 2023 seemed to focus solely on it’s investment of incorporating AI into all facets of it’s products. Exciting announcements included AI generated campaign builds, helping to automatically create text and images and better match messaging to search queries. We’re also pretty excited to test out the newest campaign types announced at GML23, most notably the Demand Gen campaign type which seems to target a social media style ad placement and “will show across YouTube Shorts, YouTube in-stream, YouTube in-feed, Discover, and Gmail to drive conversions”.

  1. Hotel Metasearch Channels Overview

Overwhelmed with all the different metasearch options? Metasearch marketing has been a proven way to increase bookings for your hotel, but there are many options in this space. Check out this quick-start guide to determine the best option for your hotel. Learn more here.

  1. How To Choose The Best Marketing KPIs

Not sure what KPIs you should be focusing on to judge the success of your hotel marketing campaigns? Read our blog post on how to choose the best marketing KPIs.

  1. Meta Announces AI Powered Ad Tools

Similar to Google’s use of AI, Meta is also incorporating AI into it’s platforms and tools to help provide more personalized advertising as well as give advertisers more text and image AI tools. Learn more here.

  1. FAQs for the Hotel Digital Marketer

Find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions in hotel digital marketing in this insightful blog. What questions would you add to the list?

  1. Bing Chat Adds Visuals To Travel Queries 

Bing Chat has now added more visuals to travel queries with links directly into Bing’s Travel Planner.  Our hopes is that this means more impressions for the high ROAS yet low volume Bing Hotel ads placements. Learn more here.

Hotel Deals On Paid Search: Sitelink vs. Promo Extensions


Limited-time offers are essential to any hotel marketing strategy, but promoting them can be complicated. There are so many options that it can be challenging to find the best approach, especially when it comes to paid search. 

This is especially true when it comes to Google Ads extensions. GCommerce has seen great success with both sitelinks and promotions for hotel deals, but we have yet to crown one extension type as superior. So let’s figure it out once and for all - Are sitelink or promotion extensions better for promoting limited-time hotel deals?

Our Google Ads Optimization Test

This test compared the efficacy of sitelink and promotion extensions when marketing limited-time hotel deals. If you’re unfamiliar with these extension types, see our full guide on Google Ads extensions for background on their format, strengths, and limitations.

We gathered data from 13 deals across Google Ads accounts for 9 boutique hotels in the United States. The content of each deal varied, covering percent discounts, convenience packages, unique experiences, and more. 

Each of the 13 deals ranged from a few days to a few months in length, taking place at various times throughout the year. For each individual offer, though, sitelink and promotion extensions ran simultaneously for the duration of the deal. 

All extensions were added to both Brand and Market (non-Brand) Terms campaigns using single keyword ad groups. In addition, each hotel’s Google Ads account also ran non-deal extensions during the test period, though competition with other extensions was fairly even between sitelinks and promotions.

The Results

This chart combines data from all 13 hotel deals. 

When combined, promotion extensions outperform sitelinks in all but cost per conversion and conversion rate. 

This is also supported when looking at results by individual deal. In this chart, the listed extension type performed better for a given Key Performance Indicator (KPI), with “Tie” indicating that the difference between extensions types was less than 5%.

In both cases, promotion extensions are the clear winner for most KPIs. They offer higher awareness, better CTR, and more total interactions than sitelink extensions. 

However, sitelinks do edge out promotions in conversion rate and cost per conversion, which is something to consider. If your hotel is running on a limited budget and values conversions over clicks, sitelinks may be the better option. 


Promotion extensions are great at driving awareness for hotel deals and should be incorporated into your hotel’s marketing strategy. They’re a valuable Google Ads optimization tool, and adding them to your hotel’s campaigns is a great way to reach future guests.

However, this test also proves the value of sitelink extensions. They’re never too far behind promotion extensions in terms of performance and do have the edge when it comes to conversion efficiency. There’s also something to be said for their unique extension properties, such as the ability to add a description with more details on a hotel deal. 

When possible, we highly suggest using both sitelink and promotion extensions to market hotel deals. They both add value to an account, especially for hotels with multiple priority KPIs. A good mix of extensions will create a good mix of results, making a diverse optimization strategy the most effective.

For more hotel marketing tips, check out the rest of our digital marketing blog.

FAQs for the Hotel Digital Marketer


We've compiled answers to the most commonly asked questions related to hotel digital marketing in our most recent blog. Whether you're a fellow digital marketer or a hotelier, this list of FAQs will be one that you should bookmark for a later date.

General Hotel Marketing FAQs

Why is booking direct better than letting the OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) do all the work? 

Competing against the OTAs can be a daunting task with their multi-million-dollar budgets, loyalty programs, and great online booking experience, but for all hotels, it is worth the fight. When a guest books through the OTA, not only do you pay a fee upwards of 25% commission, the hotel only has access to a limited amount of data on the guest. So unless you have a front desk that collects email addresses 100% of the time, you lose the ability to truly own the guests’ data and the ability to remarket to them in the future. 

"Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%." 

Are hotel loyalty programs important? 

Hotel loyalty programs can definitely play a role in driving conversion. They should be introduced during the booking process and in remarketing to past guests. The loyalty program needs to provide a benefit to joining that means something to the guest such as earning a free night stay or amenities like free breakfast. Providing a loyalty program such as GuestBook or Stash helps hotels compete against the OTAs that have strong loyalty programs. In fact, we've seen clients convert 10% more when they have a loyalty program. 

What is a bounce rate on a hotel’s website? 

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who visit the hotel’s website site and then immediately exit without further engaging, or triggering a second request on the site. While we don’t have a “magic percent” that all clients should be hitting, you do want to continually work to make that bounce rate as low as possible.

Does call tracking matter for hotel marketing?

Even in today's digital age there are many times when a customer still prefers to call a business to engage, ask questions, and ultimately book. We see this most often with more complicated or expensive products and it's true no matter what kind of hotel you are. If you don't have call tracking, such as through Navis CRM, you'll be missing out on valuable conversion data that gives a deeper understanding of campaign performance. We've had properties show no online booked revenue through a campaign but thousands in revenue booked over the phone. If you're only able to make decisions based on online booked revenue, you could be missing valuable data that shows the full performance of your hotel’s marketing campaigns.

What is the most important KPI (Key Performance Indicator) by channel for hotel marketing? 

It depends on what your objectives are for each hotel marketing campaign. If you're running a branded paid search campaign, you'll be more interested in conversions and ROAS vs an awareness campaign on Facebook where you’d want to pay more attention to impressions and reach. Campaigns aimed at driving more traffic to the site would want to focus on improving outbound clicks and click-through-rate while lead generation campaigns would measure success by number of leads submitted. KPIs are very subjective, but it’s also important to be seeing the whole picture when measuring success.

How do you define a performance KPI for different types of hotels and marketing channels? Do travel industry benchmarks matter? 

KPIs should measure value to evaluate success across all marketing channels for the hotel. They should be both:

  • Quantifiable Metrics - ones that are representative of the goals of your organization. For hotels, this is often Reservations, RFP Submissions, Newsletter Signups, or Membership Additions, but there can be other, supporting KPIs as well.
  • Leading Indicators - these are useful in marketing as it can show time and effort associated with a certain impact. Perhaps people that spend several minutes on a page that contains an RFP form or people that abandon during the booking process.

KPIs should avoid measurements that you are unable to impact. A good rule of thumb is that if you are unable to change it, then it should not be a KPI.

Like many other goals, KPIs should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART). Examples of KPIs and Supporting KPIs could be: Impressions, Followers, Engagement, Delivery Rate, Referrals Gained, Engagement, Site Visits, CTR, Open Rate, Bounce Rate, Conversions, Content Shares, Cost per Acquisition and Revenue.  

Why do direct booking tools help hotel website conversion rates? 

You can have the best hotel marketing campaigns in the industry, but if you're sending traffic to a site that doesn't convert then your performance is going to be dismal. Your website is your online storefront and you should be testing functionality to help increase conversion rate. Direct booking tools like The Hotels Network offer a great way to incorporate new features, personalization, and conversion rate optimization tactics to help drive better conversion rates on your hotel’s website.

Different attribution models - why is position based better than last click? What is the best attribution model for hotel marketing campaigns? Why is it important to look at data through different attribution models? 

If we think about a user that interacts with multiple platforms prior to booking (Display, Video, Facebook, Paid Search, Organic, Direct, etc.), how do we attribute revenue? In other words, which channel should get credit for the booking? If we only choose one, then we are essentially saying that a single source of traffic gets all the credit and the others are not as valuable.

Each platform needs to have its own attribution model in order to accurately describe how users are interacting with that source prior to booking. Attribution models often reflect where in the booking funnel a user is targeted and the relative success of that targeting. This becomes especially important as we use 3rd party automation tools in Display, Social Advertising, Video Advertising and Paid Search in order to automate bids, budgets and targeting for our potential audience. An attribution model that best analyzes the entirety of a users interaction through a specific traffic source is often most efficient when paired with automated tools.

A good highlight for us is the Default Position-Based Model that we use for Paid Search. Almost all of our accounts are targeting both Brand (bidding on your own name/brand terms) and Non-Brand (bidding on terms that are not associated with your name/brand). The Default Position-Based Model is as follows:

  • 40% of Revenue is attributed to the first click
  • 40% of Revenue is attributed to the last click
  • 20% of Revenue is split between all other interactions as measured by the system

If we were to only use a last click attribution model, the model would attribute more Revenue to the last clicks before booking, which are generally Brand Terms. As Brand Terms typically have lower search volume and lower CPC, we generally have difficulty spending our entire budget. We also are not representative to people who are searching in the market outside of the Brand Terms and overall Revenue typically decreases since we aren't growing our market share to potential new customers.

Using only a first click interaction has an opposite impact; we typically spend our budget very quickly, we are less representative to people who are searching for your specific brand, and we have a similar impact of overall Revenue declining as we are not representative to the people who are more likely to reserve through a Brand Term.

We find the best balance with a Default Attribution Model where we are targeting people at the top of the funnel, outside of Brand Terms, while also allowing for Revenue to be equally attributed to the bottom of the funnel where people are more likely to book. For this reason, we have found the best results in using this attribution model for Paid Search.

Each advertising platform uses a unique attribution model specific to that source in the hopes of best targeting the entirety of the funnel that users might be experiencing prior to making a reservation.

Hotel Digital Marketing FAQs

How often should I change our hotel’s display advertising creative? 

We recommend changing your hotel’s display advertising creative quarterly (every 90 days). This will ensure that our ad platforms have enough time to optimize your ads while also preventing what is called "ad fatigue." Ad fatigue happens when users are used to seeing the same ads over and over and thus stop engaging with them. Even a simple image change or text update would do the trick if the content or offer needs to stay the same. When it comes to the minimum amount of time ads can run we suggest two weeks to a month, as it could take two weeks for the ads to optimize and for us to have any sufficient data.

How often should I change our hotel’s  Facebook advertising campaign?

Similar to display advertising, we recommend that new Facebook campaigns go through a 90-day flight. This gives Facebook enough time to finish the "learning process" and really optimize the ads. The learning process is important because Facebook will analyze performance over the select period of time and then use its machine-learning functionality to better serve your ads to the correct audience.

Existing Facebook campaigns that go through ad refreshes or new ad creation should run for at least two weeks to a month. Short promotions or flash sales can be better utilized with the "offer" functionality in the adset level.

How can you show a return for our hotel’s prospecting (brand awareness) campaign? 

The best way to show a return for your hotel’s prospecting campaign is to run it alongside retargeting. Although you won't see the revenue being attributed directly to prospecting, you will know that those campaigns bring in the audience who will eventually book through retargeting ads.

Alternatively you could use more niche targeting (using keywords on display rather than geo-targeting or narrowing your audience by interests and demographics on Facebook).

The important thing to remember is that hotel prospecting or brand awareness marketing campaigns are not meant to show a return. They are meant to bring in new audiences to the booking funnel which works directly with your retargeting campaigns to provide a return.

Why is video advertising important for hotels?

Video advertising is important for hotels for a number of reasons, but mainly because it's THE trend in the digital marketplace right now. Display platforms and Facebook prioritize video ads over regular images and it's proven to provide more user engagement and higher ad recall rates. 

Why is email marketing important for hotels?

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing for hotels is not dead, but rather one of the best channels for directly engaging with your present and past customers. In fact, on average email returns $44 for every $1 spent. 92% of adults use email so if you aren't sending segmented and relevant emails to your lists then you are missing out on some serious revenue. Learn more about email marketing today! 

Hotel Paid Search FAQs

Why is hotel metasearch important? 

Google's domination of the search engine market share and hyper-focus on expanding its travel planning products, including hotel search, means that hotels need to optimize their exposure in this area to capture people throughout the consumer buyer journey. Optimizing your GMB listing, increasing and responding to guest reviews, and metasearch all have a great impact on exposure here. The OTAs are present and competitive on metasearch and your hotel needs to be to if they want to capture more direct bookings.

Why do I need to pay for my hotel’s own name in paid search terms? 

There are many reasons proven to support purchasing your hotel’s branded name terms within paid search. Here’s a list of the top ones:

  • Control the top position of search results for your brand
  • Be more in control of the messaging that your potential visitors might see
  • Provide users with more information through ad extensions
  • Possibly minimize negative content impacts such as poor reviews
  • Better highlight promotions, specific landing pages or need periods through extensions
  • Be present on more of the "real estate" of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) for your brand terms by appearing both in paid results and organic, this has shown to have an impact on overall (paid plus organic) traffic and revenue
  • Increase your CTR - "89% of traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks" 
  • Take opportunities away from your competitors and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
  • Increase your PPC Account performance and overall quality score
  • Brand Name bidding is relatively cheaper than other forms of referral traffic, like OTA's, which might take as much as 30% of the final purchase
  • Users searching for your brand are often your most qualified audiences, helping to possibly uncover new customer segments
  • Can help with poor performance through organic, often getting a site to rank well organically is a more long-term strategy while branded PPC bidding can be a faster strategy to gain exposure in the SERP

Should I run a hotel paid search campaign targeting a competitor?

"Conquest" or competitor paid search campaigns for hotels can be a great tool to gain exposure to consumers who are already interested in a similar brand or product. These can be a great tactic for new hotels entering a market that need to grow their brand voice among consumers already looking to travel to the area. Conversely, these competitor campaigns are targeting branded keywords of other hotels so it is likely that people searching for these keywords have already done a lot of research and decided they want to stay at that particular hotel, so the chances of swaying them to book at your hotel are slim. 

If you do decide to target these keywords, we recommend not using the competitor's name in the ad copy but instead focus on key competitive advantages and present reasons why they should stay at your hotel instead. Historically, we do not see high ROAS for these campaigns. Success should be directed at awareness metrics such as impressions.

Hotel Website Development FAQs

What makes a good hotel booking engine?

First and foremost, a good hotel booking engine needs to be mobile-friendly. The hotel’s booking engine also needs to have the same look and feel as the hotel website so that once the guest is in the booking engine, they do not notice that they are on a new website. It should also be easy for a user to get back to the main website. Booking engines should also have high-resolution room images and the ability to easily book and access packages.

Why do hotel websites break? 

Hotel websites generally break for one of three reasons:

  1. A software update goes wrong. Sometimes it's the software sitting on your server (WordPress, a plugin, etc.) and sometimes it's the server software itself (PHP, Apache, etc.). Generally, someone clicked on an upgrade button and boom, the site breaks.
  2. A user breaks something important in the CMS. An accidental file deletion, removal of a critical plugin, or the wrong settings in a plugin can all cause a site to crash and fail.
  3. A bill goes unpaid. A lot of different pieces work together to keep a website working, from keeping the domain name registered to making sure the hosting account is paid. As employees and owners change over time, occasionally the person with the right access to the right service leaves, then when the time comes to pay the relevant fee, no one can get in to pay it. In the worst-case scenario, you might even lose control of your site completely!

Clearly there are many other factors involved, but over the years these are the most common reasons hotel websites break.

Why does hotel website tracking break? 

In our experience, the number one issue that tends to reliably break or disrupt our hotel’s tracking configuration is site updates with no notification to your analytics implementation staff. Often when enterprises are updating a hotel’s website, they're so concerned with how it will look and function as a front-facing product that they either forget to notify their analytics staff, don't think that the changes will have any effect on tracking, or in the case of full rebuilds forget to carry over key elements of tracking all-together. These can and do derail tracking on just about every level and can be easily avoided.

The second most common issue is not providing analytics staff with access to a testing area leading up to when major site changes do occur and then depending on them to change things on the fly as problems present themselves. Depending on the complexity of the hotel’s website, it can take weeks or even months to determine how your tracking platform interacts with a site update so running tests and QA measures should be exercised when pushing major site updates. This issue is less obvious and requires a more significant commitment but making that transition smooth goes a long way towards assuring that tracking is consistent.

Hotel Digital Marketing Acronym Translator

There are many different acronyms to try to keep straight between the hotel industry and the digital marketing industry. Here’s a quick reference guide to the most frequently used ones. 

CTR: Click-Through Rate

CPM: Cost Per Thousand

CPC: Cost Per Click

CPA: Cost Per Acquisition

CPL: Cost Per Lead

CPE: Cost Per Engagement

ROAS: Return on Ad Spend

CTA: Call To Action

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

SEM: Search Engine Marketing

UX: User Experience

CMS: Content Management System

CRM: Customer Relationship Management

GA: Google Analytics

PPC: Pay Per Click

SERPS: Search Engine Result Pages

Do you have a question we missed or do you need more information about any of the topics above? Submit an inquiry and reach out to GCommerce today! 

How To Choose Marketing KPIs


Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are the backbone of your hotel’s digital marketing. They inform decisions about marketing channels, help with campaign optimization, and, most importantly, let you measure the success of your marketing efforts. 

But how do you choose the right marketing KPIs for your hotel? 

If you focus on too many KPIs, your digital marketing campaigns start to get muddy. You can’t optimize for everything simultaneously, especially if your KPIs relate to multiple goals. Revenue and awareness are in direct opposition to each other since a high-revenue campaign requires a highly qualified audience. Broader reach means less qualified traffic, so you can’t have it both ways. 

Instead of trying to perform well across the board, determine your hotel’s main goal and choose your marketing KPIs from there. Below, we’ve listed some suggested KPIs based on your primary digital marketing goal. 

Revenue-Focused Marketing KPIs

If your hotel wants to increase cash flow with your digital marketing, choose KPIs that relate directly to bookings. 

Conversions and Revenue

Looking at the raw amount of conversions, along with their value, is a great way to determine how much money is being generated by your digital marketing campaigns. 

Conversion rate (CVR)

A high conversion rate usually indicates a high number of bookings per ad, also suggesting a high revenue for your campaign.

Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)

ROAS is arguably the best measure of a campaign’s profitability, giving you the best reference point for your bottom line. 

Awareness-Focused Marketing KPIs

If you are looking to target as many people as possible with your digital marketing, choose KPIs that measure reach.


Impressions are awareness in their purest form, referring to the potential number of eyeballs on your ad. This KPI doesn’t tell you anything about follow-through, but it does give you a general sense of brand reach.


Driving people to your site is a step above showing them your ad. Actively engaging with your content makes your hotel more memorable, making clicks a slightly more accurate representation of awareness than impressions.

Impression Share/Market Share

Part of building awareness is cutting through the noise; impression share can help determine if you’re doing so successfully. While this KPI is not available for all campaigns, high impression share suggests that you’re being shown more than competing hotels and online travel agencies, creating recognition for your own brand.

Mixed-Focus Marketing KPIs

If you truly can’t decide on just one goal, choose KPIs that measure a little bit of both. Neither revenue nor awareness will be as strong without a focused goal, but these are great middle-of-the-road KPIs for an overall balanced performance.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

A low cost per click suggests high efficiency in your campaigns, squeezing your budget for max awareness without sacrificing profitability.

Cost Per Conversion

Cost per conversion is similar, giving you the best bang for your buck by increasing revenue and ROAS without the inherent need for a small audience. 

Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

CTR, like conversion rate, suggests a qualified audience with a decent number of interactions per ad. However, CTR allows a bit more breathing room, letting a few non-converters through for the sake of more clicks. It’s an effective middle ground between engagement and eyeballs. 


Choosing a KPI for your hotel’s digital marketing comes down to prioritizing one goal for your campaigns. The real trick is understanding that you can’t have everything at once and deciding which elements of your business’ success to focus on. 

If you’d like more help with KPIs or want to get started with digital marketing, contact GCommerce Solutions using this link.

Why “Set It & Forget It” Doesn’t Work for Hotel Metasearch


If you're not using hotel metasearch yet, you should be. A mind-blowing 94% of travelers reported using hotel metasearch sites to find the best hotel rates when planning travel. You should be valuing hotel metasearch on par with Google Search Ads and other channels in terms of brand exposure. And just like Google Search Ads, you're missing out on your best possible performance with a "set it & forget it" campaign management approach. 

It's easy to think that once you've established your connection with your metasearch partner and your rates are being displayed that there's nothing left to do but wait for the bookings to roll in. However, the truth is that there are several bid adjustments that can be made to fine-tune your hotel's performance to ensure you're getting the best bang for your buck.

We all know seasonality can affect hotels to a greater extent than many other industries. What you may not know is that there are many bid adjustments that can be made in hotel metasearch to help account for those expected highs and lows.

Hotel Metasearch Seasonal Optimization Tip #1: Adjust Your Bids Based On Days To Arrival

Let's look at an example of a beachfront hotel in the Northeast United States. From 5/1/2022 to 8/31/2022, this particular hotel saw only 27% of their bookings as 30 days or more to arrival. 52% of all bookings fell in the 7-29 days to arrival range. When we compare that to 11/1/2022 to 2/28/2023, where guests were over 2x more likely to book 30+ days out (61% of all bookings), it's clear that seasonality can indeed have an impact on our hotel metasearch channels.

So, what can we do about it? 

By taking the time to review the data and using the bid adjustment tools within Google Hotel Ads and other platforms, you can ensure your hotel is more likely to be visible to the guests that are most likely to book. In our previous example, bid adjustments were implemented to increase bids for potential impressions for the 1 to 3-week booking window during the peak summer season and reduced during the offseason. Similarly, higher bid adjustments have been put in place on the 30+ day window as guests begin to plan their summer travel during the colder months. 

Hotel Metasearch Seasonal Optimization Tip #2: Adjust Your Bids Based On Check-In Day

Check-in day is another influenceable seasonally-based variable we can optimize for within hotel metasearch campaigns. Using the same example hotel, during the peak summer months, guests were more willing to arrive on nearly any day of the week, with roughly even distribution (except for Tuesday) at 21% (M), 0% (Tu), 12% (W), 15% (Th), 15% (F), 15% (Sa), 21% (Sun). But once we shift into our colder months, 55% of guests booked stays checking in on either Friday or Saturday. Again, we used this trend for data-driven optimization, this time by reducing bids for weekdays during the colder months and increasing bids for weekends. 

Several other factors can be adjusted and dialed in, including the device type being used, length of stay, specific arrival date, and more. Reviewing all of this data, making bid adjustments, and staying up to date with the seasonality are all essential to ensure you are best positioned to drive bookings with guests who are most likely to book. It goes to show that even if you're connected and "running" hotel metasearch ads unless someone with expertise is taking the time to ensure all the campaigns are well-optimized, you're leaving potential revenue on the table. 

Fortunately for you, GCommerce Solutions has that expertise. Contact us to learn more.

Google Ads Extensions: Hotel Basics


What are Google Ads Extensions?

Google Ads extensions (now known as Associations) are optional add-ons for your hotel’s paid search advertisements. Extensions give you more space to add information about your hotel, often opening up unique messaging opportunities that aren’t available with standard ad copy. 

Google Ads extensions occasionally show alongside the ads in your campaign, their placement dependent on extension type, search query, user history, and other algorithmic factors. There is no guarantee that a given extension will show, nor is there any way to force them to appear. However, they can still be a powerful addition to your hotel’s paid search account. 

There are a number of extension types, and all are a great way to call out highlights of your hotel and entice users to convert. Below, I’ve gone into detail on some of the most common Google Ads extension types for hotels. Google offers more extension options than what I’ve listed, but these are the most relevant and efficient extension types when trying to attract hotel room bookings.

Google Ads Extension Types For Hotels

Each Google Ads extension type serves a different purpose, with unique strengths and limitations. When used right though, every extension type listed here has the potential to boost ad performance and increase key performance indicators. Below, we’ve provided a brief overview on each type with the most potential for hotel paid search, to help you get started with Google Ads extensions.


Sitelink extensions allow you to add multiple page links to your ad, occasionally with a short description of what each page contains.


Sitelinks can be a great way to drive traffic to specific pages on your website, since they are prominently displayed with your ads. Sitelinks may also increase clickthrough rate, by offering multiple topic options to provide more relevant information and help users navigate your site quickly.


Character Restrictions

  • Link Text: Max 25
  • Description line 1: Max 35 
  • Description line 2: Max 35

Other Restrictions

  • Link Text must be unique from other sitelinks
  • URL must be unique from other sitelinks
  • URL must match domain of the ad


On desktop, sitelinks may display with a 2-line description to add more context. Sitelinks will never appear with just 1 description line.


Callout extensions are short additions that highlight key features or perks about your hotel.


Callouts are a great way to emphasize key benefits of a stay at your hotel, without taking space away from your ad.


Character Restrictions

  • Callout Text: Max 25


Callouts will display the same way on mobile and desktop, added to the end of your ad and formatted like standard ad copy.

Structured Snippet

Structured snippet extensions consist of a header and a static list of values relating to the header topic.


Like callouts, structured snippets are a way to highlight hotel advantages without taking up ad space. However, they have the added benefit of organizing these advantages under a specific topic.


Character Restrictions

  • Value Text: Max 25

Relevant Header Types

  • Amenities
  • Destinations
  • Featured Hotels
  • Neighborhoods

Other Restrictions

  • Up to 10 values per extension
  • Headers can repeat, but values can not


Structured snippets will show up the same way on mobile and desktop, added to the end of your ad and formatted like standard ad copy. 

When a structured snippet extension does show, all values will show in the same order you choose when setting up the extension.


Call extensions add your phone number to an ad.


Calls make it easy for users to contact your hotel, increasing the likelihood that they follow through. This is especially helpful if your hotel’s paid search account tracks phone calls as a conversion. 


Other Restrictions

  • Must be verified by Google
  • Must be accurate and current


Calls will appear differently on mobile and desktop. 

However, the number will always be displayed with whatever formatting you choose at extension setup. In this example, we opted for something other than the traditional (XXX) XXX-XXXX format.


Promotion extensions highlight monetary deals at your hotel.


Promotions are an easy way to call out exclusive offers and persuade customers to book with you instead of your competition.


Character Restrictions

  • Text: Max 20

Format Options

  • $ off [text]
  • % off [text]
  • Up to $ off [text]
  • Up to % off [text]


Promotions will appear differently on mobile and desktop, but will always follow the ad. 

In this example, “Valet Parking” was the text.

Using Google Ads Extensions

Overall, Google Ads extensions are an efficient way to highlight benefits of your hotel without distracting from your core message. They’re a great way to grab the attention of customers, and can even increase clicks, conversions, and other key performance indicators when used correctly. They’re easy to set up, and don’t take much effort to maintain due to their simplicity. 

So what are you waiting for?

Learn more about Google Ads extensions by contacting GCommerce Solutions below, and get started today.