Price Accuracy Policy
The Google policy for prices exists to ensure a good end-to-end experience for users engaging with your prices on Google. At a high level, this means that (1) you must provide a user-friendly referral experience, (2) you must fully disclose all mandatory rates, taxes, and fees, and (3) whenever a user sees a price on a Google site and clicks through to the landing page, the landing page will offer the same total price as seen on the Google site.
By adhering to the policy described here, you ensure that end-users have a good experience and you maximize conversions for your ads.
This section includes the following topics:
- How are Price Accuracy Scores calculated?
- What is my Price Accuracy Score?
- What can cause a drop in Price Accuracy?
- What happens if I violate this policy?
- How can I improve my Price Accuracy Score?
How are Price Accuracy Scores calculated?
To calculate your Price Accuracy Score, Google regularly validates your booking site and examines the total price for a sample subset of hotel itineraries. This validation is done by both automated tools and manual processes against the data that you send to Google, as the following image shows:
When the checks are run, Google compares the total price and room type description to the total price and room type description displayed in your Hotel Ads listings and computes an overall price accuracy percentage rate, or Price Accuracy Score.
Numeric values are computed by sampling the price-cache or the actual impressions/clicks periodically. Google validates those values with manual processes and automated scrapers against your web site data. The validations use your Points of Sale (POS) to generate URLs which are checked for a set of user parameters (such as language, country, device, and Google property).
Based on your resulting Price Accuracy Score, you are assigned a value of Excellent, Good, Poor, At Risk, or Failed, as described below.
What is my Price Accuracy Score?
Information about your account's price accuracy can be found in the Hotel Ads Center. Navigate to Tools > Prices > Price Accuracy screen, and you can see both your average accuracy score and your most recent accuracy score.
Your average accuracy score serves as one of many inputs to your overall quality score for Hotel Ads auctions, and Google uses a combination of your most recent scores to determine your average accuracy score.
Your recent accuracy score is an indicator as to whether your average auction score will trend up or down in the coming days. If your recent score is higher than your average score, you should expect your average score to go up. If your recent score is lower than your average score, you can expect your average score to go down if the trend continues.
The Price Accuracy screen also features a graph showing historical values for your average Price Accuracy Scores. You can use this chart to see how your score has trended over the recent past.
To find out your Price Accuracy Score:
- Open the Hotel Ads Center in a browser.
- Select Tools from the navigation bar across the top of the display.
- Select Prices > Accuracy Score in the left-hand navigation. The Hotel Ads Center displays your Price Accuracy Score, as the following example shows:
The following image illustrates the values and thresholds:
The following table describes the possible values for your Price Accuracy Score:
|Excellent||Your Price Accuracy Score exceeds the Positioning Threshold. It is among the highest of all partners and your ads are given preference in auction positioning over partners with lower scores.|
|"Positioning Threshold" (Below this threshold results in a negative impact on auction positioning and CPC)|
|Good||Your Price Accuracy Score is slightly below the Positioning Threshold. Your score is better than those with a Poor, At Risk, or Failed scores, but it negatively impacts your auction positioning and CPC.|
|Poor||Your Price Accuracy Score is well below the Positioning Threshold that negatively impacts your auction positioning and final CPC. Your score is better than those with an At Risk score.|
|At Risk||Your Price Accuracy Score is close to the Account Suspension Threshold. If it goes below this threshold, your account will be suspended. Your score negatively impacts your auction positioning and final CPC.|
|"Account Suspension Threshold" (Below this threshold results in suspension of your account)|
|Failed||Your price accuracy score is below the Account Suspension Threshold. Your account has been suspended.|
You can also view your Price Accuracy Score using the Scorecard. For example:
What can cause a drop in Price Accuracy?
This section lists some common reasons that your Price Accuracy score might drop:
- Stale data
- Changes to your landing/booking page
- Rates that require sign-in
- Validation interruptions
- Partner complaints
In addition to these, you must also be sure that taxes and/or fees are included in the overall price of a room and that rooms are available when the end-user clicks through to book them.
If the prices in Google's price cache do not match the prices on your website, the data might be out of date.
Google shows you a sampling of the actual errors from the manual and automated validations with the Hotel Ads Center and the Hotel Ads API. When these errors indicate stale data, refreshing the data in Google's cache can often rectify price accuracy related issues.
Changes to your landing/booking page
If you block Google from fetching prices or make any changes to your landing pages or booking pages—including HTML/DOM changes that may be invisible to the user — Google might fail to gather pricing information from your site. This can negatively impact your accuracy score.
If you are planning these types of changes, please notify Google at least 5 days in advance. Google will monitor the site changes and make any changes necessary to its fetching mechanism.
Rates that require sign-in
If your rates require a sign-in process, then it is possible that Google considers them inaccurate.
Your rates must be bookable by all users who may be shown the rate (based on the Point of Sale, Fenced Rates, etc). You may require that users complete a sign-up or sign-in process to book the rate, subject to the following conditions:
- The rate must be visible to the user on the first landing page after redirection from Hotel Ads. There may be indication on that page that sign-in or sign-up is required to receive the rate. Other rates may appear on the landing page.
- Sign-up must be free of charge and may not result in immediate or future subscription/membership fees.
- Sign-up must be reasonably straightforward and not require excessive difficulty or excessive amounts of personal information.
- Membership, if required, must be immediately granted after sign-up.
Google validates prices by periodically using automated and manual tools to access your web site. Interruptions in this validation process can occur for a variety of reasons, including site outages, DOS denials, and roboting.
If the validation is interrupted, you must work collaboratively with Google to promptly identify the source of the issue and rectify it so that the validations can resume.
When one partner complains about another, Google uses the same tools that are used for validation to validate the complaint. If the complaint is valid, Google notifies the offending partner and suspends the individual hotel and/or prices involved.
After you correct the erroneous data, you can request a re-validation and re-enabling of the suspended hotel.
For more information, see Handling Price Accuracy Violations.
What happens if I violate this policy?
If you violate the Price Accuracy Policy, the actions Google takes depend on the scope of the violation.
If the rates on particular hotels' Price Accuracy drop below an acceptable threshold:
- Google adds the hotel to a suspension list and notifies you.
- Ads for that hotel are disabled immediately.
- Other hotels in your account are not affected.
Please notify Google when you fix the issue so that Google can re-enable your ads for that hotel (after verifying that the reported issue is resolved).
You can use the Price Violations tool to see your currently-suspended properties and request that properties be re-evaluated and removed from the suspension list. For more information, see Handling Price Accuracy Violations.
Account-wide drop in Price Accuracy
If your account's overall price accuracy is verified as falling below acceptable levels:
- Google notifies you of the issue.
- Your Hotel Ads account may be suspended.
- Google will reinstate a suspended account only after your Price Accuracy returns to an acceptable level.
How can I improve my Price Accuracy Score?
For tips on improving your price accuracy score, see Improve Price Accuracy.