Bidding overview for hotel ads

The following bid strategies are available for hotel campaigns in Google Ads:

  • Commissions (per stay): You pay a percentage of the room booking value only for guest stays, removing the cost of cancellations.
  • Commissions (per conversion): You bid a fixed percentage of room booking value for every time a traveler books through your ad.
  • Enhanced CPC: Used with CPC or CPC% bidding, this strategy helps you achieve higher total conversion value while trying to maintain the same ROAS you would get with manual CPC. This bid strategy is designed to work with in-house or third-party bidding systems.
  • Manual CPC (cost-per-click): Bid a fixed amount whenever a traveler clicks on your ad.
  • CPC%: Bid a percentage of the room price per night when a traveler clicks on your ad.

This article contains the following sections:

Choosing a bid strategy

Bid strategies are set at the campaign level during campaign setup. Learn how to change your bid strategy

Bidding strategy

Type

Optimizes for

Pay by...

Why use it?

Commissions (per stay) Automated (Smart Bidding) Post-cancellation return on ad spend (ROAS = conversion value / cost)

Complete guest stays

  • Eliminates cancellation risk
  • Preserves cash flow (no payment until guest stay is complete)
  • Guaranteed ROAS
  • Bidder automatically optimizes for ROAS based on advertiser-set commission rate

Commissions (per conversion)

Automated (Smart Bidding)

Pre-cancellation return on ad spend (ROAS = conversion value / cost)

Bookings (conversions)

  • Eliminates non-conversion risk (no payment unless booking happens)
  • Guaranteed ROAS

Enhanced CPC

Semi-automated (Smart Bidding)

Conversion value

Clicks

  • Works with existing in-house or third-party bidding systems
  • Lets advertisers manually control bids while automatically increasing total conversion value
  • You can bid using CPC or CPC%

CPC

Manual

N/A

Clicks

Not recommended to use alone

CPC%

Manual

N/A

Clicks

Not recommended to use alone

Note: Conversion tracking and purchase conversion values (full booking amount) is required for all Hotel Ads Smart Bidding bid strategies. Learn more about conversion tracking for hotel campaigns

About Smart Bidding signals

Smart Bidding uses auction-time signals to help you automatically improve your performance at a more granular level than what is possible through manual bidding. Learn more about real-time signals in Smart Bidding

Important: If you are testing Smart Bidding for the first time, you should allow the campaign to run for at least 2 weeks before evaluating performance. This allows the Smart Bidding algorithm to learn and adjust.

Bid levels

For Commissions bidding, you can set the bid amount, or your commission rate, at the campaign level.

For Manual CPC and CPC% bid strategies, you set the strategy at the campaign level. For CPC% you can set a maximum effective bid limit at the campaign level. Specific bid amounts need to be set at the ad group level. Learn how to change your ad group bid

The following table summarizes where bids of each type can be set and whether they can be combined with Enhanced CPC or manual bid adjustments.

Bid strategy

Level where bid amount/target is settable

Strategy works with...

Campaign Ad group Hotel group ECPC Bid adjustment controls
Automated
Commissions YES Pause only** Pause only** NO YES
Manual
Manual CPC (fixed) NO YES YES YES YES
CPC% NO * YES YES YES YES

Notes:

You can't set a specific CPC% bid at the campaign level, but can set a maximum effective bid limit. For Commissions bidding, you can pause ad groups and hotel groups from running in a campaign, but can't set their bid amounts at the ad group or hotel group level.

Bid adjustment controls

Bid adjustments can be used with all bid strategies. You can adjust your bid by factors such as traveler location, device type, length of stay, check-in day, date type, advanced booking window, and audience list.

Learn more about bid adjustments for hotel campaigns

Qualifying for auctions

When a traveler conducts a search that would result in hotel ads being displayed, Google first fetches available prices for hotels and then runs the auction. After the results of the auction, Google displays the ads with the winning bids to the end-user.

Several factors can affect whether your bids qualify for inclusion in the auction:

  • Itinerary matching: Rates from your Hotel Price Feed must match the end-user's exact itinerary. For example, if the traveler searches for a 3-night stay that starts on July 14, then you must have submitted rates that exactly match 3 nights, starting on July 14. No other rates for any other combinations of lengths of stays/check-in dates will be considered for the auction.
    • Note: For a particular itinerary, only one Central Reservation System (CRS) is eligible to show their ads.
  • All-inclusive vs itemized rates: Your participation in an auction can depend on whether you provide all-inclusive rates or itemized rates (rates that break out taxes and fees).
    • For the US and Canada, hotels with all-inclusive rates are only included in the auction if no hotels with itemized rates bid.
    • For all other countries, hotels with all-inclusive rates and itemized rates are treated the same.
  • Incomplete rates: Regardless of geographic location, hotels with incomplete rates are only included in the auction if no other hotels with all-inclusive or itemized rates are part of the auction. Incomplete rates are when Google detects that tax information is missing or incomplete, or if the taxes are set to 0, but the price isn't tagged as all-inclusive.
  • Account status: If your account has been disabled due to Price Accuracy Policy violations, your hotels won't be included in the auctions.
  • Campaign budget: If your hotel campaign has exceeded your budget, then your hotels won't be included in the auction and you may see a "limited by budget" status. Learn how to manage your campaign budget
  • Account budget: If you use an account budget (monthly invoicing), and the sum of your campaign spend exceeds your account budget, your ads won't serve.

Related links

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