Price Accuracy Policy

This article reflects Google’s updated price accuracy policy, which will replace the current policy and go into effect on October 10, 2022.

The Google policy for prices exists to ensure a good end-to-end experience for users engaging with your prices on Google for both ads and free booking links. We evaluate price accuracy based on the following criteria:

  • When a user clicks through from Google’s site to the partner’s booking page, the total price on the booking page must be prominently displayed, be the same as the total price displayed on Google’s site, and be for an overnight stay (no day use rates).
  • The booking page must follow our Taxes and Fees Policy, which ensures all mandatory rates, taxes, and fees are fully disclosed without requiring additional user action.
  • The hotel booking flow must follow our Referral Experience Policy, which is intended to make sure there is a friendly user experience when clicking off of Google’s site.
  • Refundable rates must be specified according to our refundable rates policy.
  • Violation of the Prohibited Practices Policy may cause price accuracy penalties and account suspension.

This article covers the following topics:

Booking page: This is the page on the partner’s site where the user has selected a room rate and (in most cases) can start entering purchasing details (for example, name or credit card).

Landing page: This is the page the user is sent to on a partner’s site before taking any additional action and is often a room selection page for a specific hotel. In some cases, the landing page may also be the booking page.

About your price accuracy score

Google computes a score for each partner that provides rates based on how often prices are compliant with our policy. This price accuracy score informs partners about whether their prices are considered accurate and is used as a basis for potential penalties Google may give to partners. Your overall (current) price accuracy score and your predicted price accuracy score can range from Excellent to Failed.

The table below describes the possible values for your price accuracy score:

Key Score Description
Price Accuracy Score legend | excellent bar Excellent Your score reflects an excellent experience for users. Your ads and free booking links get preference in positioning.
Price Accuracy Score legend | excellent bar Fair Your score reflects a fair experience for users. This has a negative impact on your auction positioning, advertising cost, and free booking links placement.
Price Accuracy Score legend | poor bar Poor Your score reflects a poor experience for users. This has a negative impact on your auction positioning, advertising cost, and free booking links placement.
Price Accuracy Score legend | at risk bar At Risk

Your score is almost below the acceptable threshold. Some prices may still be shown to users, but most of your ads and free booking links will be turned off.

If your score falls below this threshold, all of your ads and free booking links will be turned off.

Placement below this threshold causes your ads and free booking links to be turned off.
Price Accuracy Score legend | failed Failed Your score is below the acceptable threshold. Your ads and free booking links will be turned off.
Note: Inaccurate prices may not be shown to users regardless of your price accuracy score.

How price accuracy scores are calculated

To calculate your price accuracy scores, Google will regularly validate the price the user is presented with when landing on the partner's site and navigating through to the final booking page. This validation may be done with a combination of automated tools and manual processes.

Google may not check every price offered to users, but, at a minimum, chooses a representative sample. For partners who don’t have the booking happen on your site (for example, metasearch partners who take users to another site), Google will still validate the price through the final partner's booking page or your landing page.

Based on your overall price accuracy score, you're assigned a value of Excellent, Fair, Poor, At Risk, or Failed, as described above.

Where partners can find their price accuracy scores

Information about your account's price accuracy can be found in the price accuracy report. This report reflects your overall (current) and predicted accuracy scores, score trends, and a sample of recent inaccuracies in your ads and free booking links that we've identified.

Price requirements

By adhering to the requirements described here, not only can you keep your price accuracy score high and ensure the best performance on Google, but you’ll also provide users with a great hotel booking experience that will help maximize conversions for your ads and free booking links.

Note: All price requirements apply to both hotels and vacation rentals.

Price

  • Prices must be accurate and bookable online: The total price the user views on the partner site must match what they viewed on Google for their selected itinerary, be a complete representation of the price, and the user must be able to complete the booking at that price.
  • If you provide prices for multiple rooms, the rate shown on Google must match what the user is shown for the pre-selected combination of rooms on the partner website.
  • Optional payments, fees, and services must not be included in the total price by default on Google or the partner site.

Taxes and fees

  • Taxes and fees must represent all mandatory charges collected by the partner or the hotel, regardless of when they‘re due.
    • For example, if a boat transfer is required to stay at the hotel, and the boat transfer fee is collected by the hotel, then that fee must be a part of the total price provided to Google.
    • Resort fees must be included in the total price provided to Google.
  • Taxes and fees must not be manipulated to create an artificially low base rate. If your taxes and fees appear to be unusually high compared to other partners, we may display your price as a total price even in countries where we display a base rate by default.
  • Taxes and fees must be clearly disclosed on the final booking page without requiring additional user action.

The section above applies to taxes and fees collected during the online booking process and onsite at the hotel. Learn more about our Taxes and Fees Policy.

Rates

Several rate type clarifications are provided below.

Rate type Definition
Occupancy

The price displayed on the partner's landing page and booking page must be for the occupancy that was selected by the user on Google.

The number of guests the room can accommodate must be greater than or equal to the occupancy selected by the user on Google.

Check-in / check-out date The price displayed on the partner's landing page and booking page must be for the check-in and check-out dates selected by the user on Google.
Day-use rates Rates that have the same check-in and check-out date aren’t supported. A rate advertised on Google must be for a minimum of an overnight stay. (Overnight means 12 hours of continuous duration with a separate check-in and check-out date.)
Member rates

These rates are subject to the following conditions:

  • The rate shown on Google must be bookable by all users once they complete a sign-up or sign-in process.
  • The rate must be clearly marked as a member rate on the partner site.
  • Partners must use private rates to indicate on Google that sign-in or sign-up is required to receive the rate.
  • If the member rate requires a login to proceed to the final booking page, partners must provide Google with a single login that works on all hotels providing member rates.
  • The member rate must be visible to users on the room and rates page on the partner site after redirection from Google. There must be an indication on that page that sign-in or sign-up is required to receive the rate.

For a free membership program, partners can offer customized rates to users who are already a member of (or are willing to sign up for) the partners’ membership or loyalty program. The sign-up must be free of charge for rates that are targeted to non-existing members and membership must be granted immediately after sign-up.

For a paid membership program, members agree to pay a recurring membership fee or an upfront fee for benefits towards future stays, room upgrades, dining discounts, and more.  Partners can offer rates by targeting them towards existing members through audience lists. These rates can’t be targeted to non-existing members.

Refundable rates

Refundable rates must be specified according to our refundable rates policy. This information must be clearly available on the landing page and final booking page without requiring additional user action.

“Free cancellation until <date/time>” must indicate the latest date and time, in the local time of the hotel, that a full refund request (including taxes and fees) will be honored.

If there is a time on your site, you must send that time when you configure your refundable rates. If no time is specified, then the time will be considered 23:59:59 on the specified date.

Conditional rates

Rates based on specific user conditions can be implemented as conditional rates.

We accept rates based on:

  • Country
  • Device
  • Language
  • Whether the user is signed in to their Google account

We don’t accept rates based on other conditions, including (but not limited to):

  • Location (besides country)
  • Age restrictions
  • Birthdays
  • Paid third-party association memberships (such as AAA rates)
Accessible room rates Accessible rooms are held for someone who needs mobility accommodations. We accept these rates only if an alternative rate for the same room type isn’t available and when no verification is required to book that rate.
Gender-specific room rates We accept rates for gender-specific rooms. This doesn’t require conditional rate implementation.

How Google enforces price accuracy

Google checks individual prices for compliance with our price accuracy policy. The aggregate of checks results in a partner price accuracy score that affects the auction positioning and advertising cost for ads and the placement for free booking links. Detected violations lower a partner’s score. Based on the scope of violations, Google may take the following actions:

  • Lower your average accuracy score for an entire price feed. This reduction in score can lead to a negative impact on your auction positioning and advertising cost for ads and your placement for free booking links.

  • Suspend an individual hotel from your feed if recurring issues are found with a specific hotel. Visit the “Single hotels” section below for more detail.

  • Suspend your account if you don't show the ability to comply with price accuracy policies. Visit the “Account-wide” section below for more detail.

Consistent inaccuracies account-wide

In addition to penalizing for low price accuracy scores, Google may take further action in more serious cases. If your account can't comply with the price accuracy policy:

  • Google will notify you of the issue.
  • Your Hotel Center account may be suspended.
  • Google will reinstate a suspended account only after your price accuracy returns to an acceptable level.

Consistent inaccuracies on single hotels

If the accuracy rate for a particular hotel drops below an acceptable threshold, Google reserves the right to:

  • Add the hotel to a suspension list.
  • Disable ads and free booking links for that hotel.

You can use the “Suspended Hotels” page to find your currently suspended properties. Properties suspended due to consistently inaccurate prices are periodically validated. Once your prices are fixed, your property will be removed from the suspension list automatically after the next validation.

Note: Other hotels in your account aren’t affected.

Price violations: Report inaccurate partner pricing data

A partner can report another partner’s violation of our price accuracy policy. If the report is valid, Google suspends the hotel or blocks those prices from being presented to users. A report is deemed valid when the hotel in question on a partner’s site has a consistent and repeatable issue, not when a transient accuracy issue is noticed.

This is intended for cases that fall outside of standard accuracy errors, such as when a partner always fails to display taxes on the booking page for a hotel or region of hotels, or when prices always appear to be a fraction of the actual cost (perhaps due to a currency issue).

You can flag a specific partner property using the Price violations tool in Hotel Center.

If your property was previously suspended, you should correct the data and then request a re-validation through the Hotel Suspensions page in Hotel Center. You can use the “Suspended Hotels” page to find your currently suspended properties and request that properties be re-evaluated and removed from the suspension list.

Learn more about how to handle reported price accuracy violations

Price validation interruptions

Google validates prices by periodically using automated and manual tools to access your web site. Interruptions to 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. Failure to do so will cause your score to be considered Failed.

Best practices for your ads and free booking links

This section describes best practices for keeping your ads and free booking links active.

Base price, taxes and fees, and total price setup

  • For new partners: Google performs a price accuracy check before activating your account and listing your rates and availability. Without a consistently Excellent score, your activation will be delayed (or prevented).
  • Google may display different parts of the price based on region or other criteria, as outlined in the Taxes and Fees Policy. We recommend the price on your landing page exactly matches the one displayed on Google.
  • We recommend showing the total price, including a breakdown of all taxes and fees, on your landing page.

Updating rates

  • If you’re using pull pricing, ensure that the prices are updated several times a day to reflect the most current prices.
  • If you’re using ARI or changed pricing, ensure that prices are updated on Google whenever they’re changed in your system.
  • When Google validates prices, we check them in the currency that a user would find on Google. The price is validated against what’s shown to the user on your site. You don’t need to send us all prices for the various countries and currencies you support. To prevent currency conversion issues, we recommend that you keep your site’s conversions updated every few hours.
  • If the prices in Google's price cache don't match the prices on your site, the data might be out of date. Google offers a sampling of the actual inaccuracies with the Hotel Center and the Travel Partner API. When these inaccuracies indicate stale data, refreshing the data in Google's cache can often rectify price accuracy related issues. For changed pricing partners, you may include an expiration time with the rates you send to avoid them from becoming stale. You can download a price accuracy report in Hotel Center that compares the Google cached prices to the retrieved prices. For more information, visit the price accuracy report.

Landing page layout

For more information, refer to the Referral Experience Policy.

  • If you’re planning changes to your website design and layout, please contact us at least 5 days in advance. Google will monitor the site changes and make any changes necessary to its retrieval mechanism. If you block Google from retrieving 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, ranking in the auction, minimum bid for ads, and free booking links placement.
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