About commissions (per stay) for hotel ads

Note: We're migrating commissions (per stay) to Google Ads. Learn more about the migration to commissions (per stay) in Google Ads

Commissions (per stay) is a bidding strategy for hotel campaigns that allows partners to pay only when the guest stay has actually occurred. Commissions (per stay) helps partners leverage the power of Google’s machine learning to efficiently acquire guest stays without having to worry about the risk of cancellations.

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

How commissions (per stay) bidding works

  • The partner creates a campaign. In the campaign’s bid settings, the partner sets a commission rate (%age of booking value).
  • When a user searches for a property, Google’s bidding algorithm automatically calculates a bid using auction-time signals to achieve an overall target ROAS (booking value/cost) based on the commission rate that the partner has set.
  • The user clicks on the ad and converts on the partner’s website. Days, weeks or even months later, the user will complete their hotel stay.
  • Once the user’s stay is complete, the partner will need to reconcile the stay (tell Google if the booking was completed or cancelled) via a reconciliation upload in Google Ads within 45 days of the user’s check-out date. Once reconciled, Google will bill the partner for the guest stay based on the campaign’s commission rate multiplied by the booking value. If the booking was cancelled, Google will not bill the partner for the booking at all.

Requirements

Note: Customers based in Turkey must be billed in Turkish Lira (TRY).

Getting started

Set up conversion tracking transaction values

Review the full instructions on how to set up conversion tracking for Hotel campaigns. Be sure to submit your transaction data using the global site tag with the following required parameters:

'start_date'

'end_date'

'id' 'value'

'currency'

'value' is used to compute the cost for each conversion. If 'value' and associated 'currency' aren't provided, Google will use the default value in the conversion settings, and the bidder will adjust bids accordingly. We default to click-date parameters when the 'start_date' and 'end_date' aren't available.

Note: The conversion transaction values are only for Hotel campaigns.

Configure your landing page URL (optional)

Hotel Ads includes the following new landing page URL parameters to support commissions (per stay):

(PAYMENT-ID): Resolves to a predefined string 'commission', or Google’s assigned IATA number (for example, '01234567') if you use a commissions collection agency. To change the formatting of your IATA number or predefined string, contact your TAM.

(IF-PAYMENT-ID): Resolves to 'true' for hotels using commissions (per stay) bidding; otherwise 'false'. If 'true', then values following this condition are inserted into the URL. Otherwise, values following the ELSE directive are inserted.

For more information about building landing page links, check Building Dynamic URLs.

Example 1

The following example shows the new parameters in a landing page URL definition: http://www.partnerdomain.com?hotelID=(PARTNER-HOTEL-ID)&checkinDay=(CHECKINDAY)&checkinMonth=(CHECKINMONTH)&checkinYear=(CHECKINYEAR)&nights=(LENGTH)(IF-PAYMENT-ID)&bookingSource=(PAYMENT-ID)(ELSE)(ENDIF)
For a hotel using commissions (per stay), this resolves to:
http://www.partnerdomain.com?hotelID=ABCDEF&checkinDay=15&checkinMonth=07&checkinYear=2015&nights=3&bookingSource=123456789
For a hotel not using commissions (per stay), this resolves to:
http://www.partnerdomain.com?hotelID=ABCDEF&checkinDay=15&checkinMonth=07&checkinYear=2015&nights=3

Example 2

<URL>http://www.partnerdomain.com?hotelID=(PARTNER-HOTEL-ID)&checkinDay=(CHECKINDAY)&checkinMonth=(CHECKINMONTH)&checkinYear=(CHECKINYEAR)&nights=(LENGTH)&bookingSource=(IF-PAYMENT-ID)commissions(ELSE)GoogleCPC(ENDIF)</URL>
For a hotel using commissions (per stay), this resolves to:
http://www.partnerdomain.com?hotelID=ABCDEF&checkinDay=15&checkinMonth=07&checkinYear=2015&nights=3&bookingSource=commissions

Set up a commissions (per stay) campaign

Note: You can’t use an existing campaign for commissions (per stay). You must create a new campaign.
  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the left navigation panel, click Campaigns.
  3. Click the plus button plus, then select New campaign.
  4. Select Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.
  5. Select the Hotel campaign type.
  6. Click Continue.
  7. Set your campaign settings in the campaign 'Settings' page. Learn more about each setting
  8. In your campaign’s 'Settings' page, select Commission for your bid strategy.
  9. Under 'Pay for', choose Guest Stay.
  10. Click Save and continue.

Use the Google Ads API

If you would prefer to use the API for campaign creation, creating a commissions (per stay) campaign using the Google Ads API is similar to creating other campaign types in Google Ads. For more information, check Add hotel ad.

There are specific settings needed for PaymentMode, BudgetType and BiddingStrategyType. Check the Google Ads API for details.

Congratulations! Your commissions (per stay) campaign is ready to go. If you’re not able to find the traffic within a day, please check your settings to make sure that nothing is wrong.

Create a reconciliation report

You must reconcile your bookings within 45 days of a booking’s check-out date. For example:

  • A conversion (booking) happens on 1 January for a guest stay of 28 Feb through 1 March.
  • After the guest has checked out, you must reconcile this booking before 15 April (1 March + 45 days).
  • On 15 April, Google will bill you for the completed guest stay based on your designated commission rate. If it’s cancelled, you won’t be billed. If you don’t reconcile at all by 15 April, Google will assume that the guest stay was completed and bill you for the guest stay.

It's strongly recommended that you download the per-booking report from the 'Commission' page in Google Ads and use the download as your reconciliation template. Check Create a reconciliation report for details.

Upload a reconciliation report

After you’ve created a reconciliation report, click on the 'Commissions' tab in Google Ads to upload your file. If you don’t find it in the left-hand navigation, click 'More' to expand.

Important to know:

  • If you upload a row without a Commission ID or Order ID, we’ll try to match your guest stay to a booking event based on other available information, such as Hotel ID and itinerary dates.
  • If the stay was cancelled but you received a cancellation fee, please include that in the reconciliation.
  • You can’t modify any part of a booking after the reconciliation deadline (45 days after the check-out date).
  • Your reconciliation file is for the entire account (customer ID). Even if your Commissions table view is filtered to an ad group or campaign, your upload applies to the entire CID.
  • If you’re uploading a reconciliation report in a language other than English, use the downloaded template from Google Ads instead of the template in the help centre. To download a reconciliation report, click 'Download' in the upper right hand corner of the report.
    • If your self-translated column names differ from what the system expects, the report may not be accepted.
      • Example: Help Centre reconciliation has the column name 'Commission', but the partner’s account language is Spanish. If the partner manually translates the column name to 'La comisión', but Google Ads expects 'Comisión', the upload will fail. Downloading the template directly from Google Ads and not from the Help Centre ensures that you get the exact translations required.

If Google isn’t satisfied with the accuracy of your reporting, we may, with at least seven days' notice and on reasonable grounds, request that you provide documents or records required in order for Google to determine whether your reports or payments made were accurate at the time. If you fail to provide such documents or records, or if Google is not satisfied that they demonstrate the accuracy of your reporting, Google may stop displaying ads for your hotel.

Billing

The cost of each booking is calculated by multiplying the reconciled value by the commission rate. Advertisers have 45 days from the check-out date of each booking to reconcile any completed guest stays. Bookings not marked as cancelled or reconciled will be billed as completed stays based on the originally booked value. Reconciling before 45 days won’t cause your account to be billed early.

Best practices

Data volume: To get the best performance with commissions (per stay), each campaign needs to have at least 10 conversions per week. Consider merging campaigns if you have any campaigns that are expected to get fewer than 10 conversions on a weekly basis.

Reliable conversion tracking: Conversion tracking must be implemented on all devices and points of sale. Any conversion tracking outages can significantly impact campaign performance. Don’t remove your conversion tracking code from your website or move it to a different location while the campaign is running. If you change your conversion tracking code, please allow our algorithm at least two weeks to readjust. Also ensure that auto-tagging is turned on at all times for your account.

Setting up your commission percentage targets: Every advertiser has a different acceptable return on ad spend (ROAS) threshold for their investment. When choosing a commission rate or bid, you should start with your acceptable ROAS target, then adjust up or down to achieve the optimal balance of ROAS and traffic volume that you want.

  • Let’s say your post-cancellation ROAS target is 500% (that is, you get $5 AUD of booking value for every $1 AUD spent on advertising after cancellations), and your cancellation rate is 20%. Your pre-cancellation ROAS would be 500% ÷ (1-20%) = 625%. If you’re using commissions (per stay) or commissions (per conversion), your recommended commission rate would be the inverse of your pre-cancellation ROAS: 1 ÷ 625% = 16%
  • Once you have determined the ideal commission rate or CPC that achieves your target ROAS, monitor your campaign performance metrics to check if you’re achieving your traffic volume goals (number of impressions, clicks or conversions). Evaluate this regularly and update your commission rate as needed to ensure the right balance of ROAS and traffic volume.

Consistent reconciliation: All bookings must be reconciled within 45 days of the check-out date. Check the 'Commissions' tab in Google Ads each month to ensure that you have updated the status of every booking that is past its check-out date. You won’t be billed until 45 days after check-out regardless of when you reconcile. You’re encouraged to reconcile as soon as possible after the booking status has been confirmed to ensure that the bidding model gets timely feedback and to allow yourself enough time to fix any errors before billing is finalised.

Modifying booking value: There may be instances where a booking is changed, resulting in a modified booking value. When the booking value at the time of conversion is different from the value at the time of check-out, use the booking value at the time of check-out in your reconciliation report. This is the expected response if the booking value is either higher or lower than the booking value at the time of conversion.

Ramp-up time and campaign performance: Allow each campaign to run for at least seven days before evaluating performance and making any changes. Try to avoid frequent and drastic changes while the campaign is running (such as starting and stopping campaigns daily) to prevent performance volatility.

Frequently asked questions

How is commissions (per stay) different from commissions (per conversion)?

There are two major differences.
  • With commissions (per conversion), you don’t need to reconcile guest stays. If you find reconciliation to be too cumbersome, commissions (per conversion) may be a better bid strategy for you.
  • With commissions (per conversion), you’re charged a commission rate for conversions (bookings), not guest stays. If you’re concerned about unpredictable or high cancellation rates, commissions (per stay) may be a better option for you.

Are any bid adjustments compatible with commissions (per stay)?

Currently, only device bid adjustments set to -100% work. Country-level targeting can be separately set for the campaign.

Why does my Hotel ads booking link not show up higher in the placement?

Just like any other bid strategy, your ad placement depends in part on your bid relative to competitive bids in the same auction. If there are a lot of advertisers bidding to be displayed in Hotel ads for a popular property, your bid may not be competitive enough to outrank other auction participants, and your Hotel ads booking link may be lower in the ad placement or it may not be displayed at all. To increase your rank, you can try raising your commission rate. Remember, you don't pay anything unless a guest stay is completed. Learn more about how Google ranks your ads

How are commissions (per stay) campaigns billed?

Commissions (per stay) campaigns are billed 45 days after the check-out date for each reported guest stay in the 'Commissions' tab. Bookings that aren't marked as cancelled after 45 days have passed will be automatically billed to your account as completed stays.

How do I evaluate campaign performance?

With commissions (per stay) campaigns, your post-cancellation return on ad spend (ROAS) is always guaranteed. If you set a commission rate of 10%, you’ll only ever pay 10% of completed guest stays no matter what. Therefore, your post-cancellation ROAS will always be 1÷10% = 10 (that is, you get $10 AUD in booking value for every $1 AUD you pay for ad spend). To compare a commissions (per stay) campaign with your CPC campaign, you should make sure the ROAS is comparable. For example:
  • Assume you have a CPC campaign and a commissions (per stay) campaign running with the following setup and performance, and an average 20% cancellation rate and average booking value of $100 AUD for both campaigns:
    • Commissions (per stay) campaign:
      • 10% commission rate
      • Daily impressions: 1000 impressions
    • CPC campaign:
      • Average CPC: $0.80 AUD
      • Average CVR: 5%
      • Daily impressions: 1200 impressions
    • Your commissions (per stay) campaign effectively has a pre-cancellation ROAS of (1÷10%)÷(1-20%) = 12.5. In other words, you’re getting $12.50 AUD for every $1.00 AUD that you spend on your commissions (per stay) campaign before cancellations.
    • In contrast, your CPC campaign has a pre-cancellation ROAS of (5%)*($100 AUD)/($0.80 AUD) = 6.25. This means that your CPC campaign is getting more impressions than your commissions (per stay) campaigns while delivering lower ROAS.
    • To make a fair comparison, you should make sure that the ROAS for both campaigns is the same before comparing total volume (impressions, clicks and conversions). In this example, you can increase your commission rate to (1-20%)/6.25 = 12.8% to make a meaningful comparison.

How do free booking links interact with commissions (per stay) campaigns?

Hotel campaigns use last ad click attribution for conversion reporting. If a user interacts with an organic search result or free booking link before converting, it’s not included in the Google Ads attribution path. Additionally, if a user interacts with a hotel ad and then an organic search result or free booking link, and converts within the conversion window, the conversion will show in the Google Ads Commissions reporting.

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