The Google policy for prices exists to ensure a good end-to-end experience for users engaging with your prices on Google. We evaluate price accuracy on the following three criteria:
- When a user clicks through from Google’s site to the partner’s booking page, the total price shown on the booking page should be prominently displayed and be the same as the total price displayed on Google’s site.
- The booking page must comply with our Taxes and Fees Policy, which ensures all mandatory rates, taxes and fees are fully disclosed to the user.
- The hotel booking flow must comply with our Referral Experience Policy, which is intended to make sure there is a friendly user experience when clicking off of Google’s site.
By adhering to the policy described here, not only will 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.
This section includes the following topics:
- What a Price Accuracy Score is
- How Price Accuracy Scores are calculated
- Where partners can see their Price Accuracy Score
- Common causes of price inaccuracies
- How Google enforces Price Accuracy
- How to keep your prices accurate
What a Price Accuracy Score is
Google computes a score for each partner based on how often prices are compliant with our policy. This Price Accuracy score is meant both to inform partners about whether their prices are considered accurate, and as a basis for potential rewards/penalties Google may give to partners. Your overall Average Score can range from Failed to Excellent.
The following image illustrates the values and thresholds:
The following table describes the possible values for your average Price Accuracy Score:
|Excellent||Your Average 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 Average 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 Average 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 Average 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 Average Score is below the Account Suspension Threshold. Your account has been suspended.|
How Price Accuracy Scores are calculated
To calculate your Price Accuracy Scores, Google will regularly validate the price the user sees from landing on the partner's site though the final booking page. Google may not check every price shown to users, but at a minimum chooses a representative sample. For partners where the booking doesn't 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.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 overall Price Accuracy Score.
In addition, Google calculates the average scores per the hotel’s country, and will show up country-specific scores in the Price Accuracy report for countries whose accuracy score is significantly different from your overall score.
Numeric values are computed by sampling the price-cache or the actual impressions/clicks periodically. Google validates those values with manual processes and/or automated scrapers against your website data. The validations use your landing pages to generate URLs which are checked for a set of user parameters (such as language, country, device, and Google property).
Based on your overall average Price Accuracy Score, you are assigned a value of Excellent, Good, Poor, At Risk, or Failed, as described above.
Where partners can see their Price Accuracy Scores
Information about your account's price accuracy can be found in the Price Accuracy report. This report shows your average and most recent accuracy scores, score trends, and a sample of recent inaccuracies that we have identified.
Google shows country-specific scores in the Price Accuracy report for countries whose average score differs significantly from your overall score.
Common causes of price inaccuracies
This section describes some common reasons that your Price Accuracy Scores might drop.
Taxes and fees
You must be sure that taxes and/or fees are included in the overall price of a room.
You must ensure that rooms are available at the advertised price 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. For PULL partners, you may include an expiration time with the rates you send to avoid them from becoming stale.
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.
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 an indication on that page that sign-in or sign-up is required to receive the rate. Other rates may appear on the landing page.
- Users should be made aware that a rate is a “Member” rate or requires sign-in while on Google’s site. This can be done using Conditional Rates or Qualified Rates.
- For rates that are targeted towards non-existing members, sign-up must be free of charge and may not result in immediate or future subscription/membership fees. This restriction does not apply to rates targeted towards existing members (e.g. via audience lists).
- Sign-up for new members 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 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 Fail.
When one partner reports about systemic accuracy issues of another partner for a hotel or group of hotels, Google uses the same tools that are used for price accuracy scoring to validate the report. If the report is valid, Google notifies the offending partner and suspends the individual hotel(s) or blocks those prices from being shown to users. A report is deemed valid when the hotel(s) in question on a partner’s site show a consistent and repeatable issue, not simply 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 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 erroneous data and then request a re-validation through the Hotel Suspensions page in Hotel Center.
Google checks individual prices for compliance with our accuracy policy. The aggregate of checks results in a partner Price Accuracy score. Detected violations hurt 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 or for country-specific segments. Reduction in score can lead to reduced auction competitiveness, reduced rank, or reduced reach for your ads.
- Suspend an individual hotel from your feed if recurring issues are found with a specific hotel. See the “Single hotels” section below for more detail.
- Remove you from the Hotel Ads program if you do not show the ability to comply with Price Accuracy policies. See the “Account-wide” section below for more detail.
For new partners
Google performs a price accuracy check prior to being activated on Hotel Ads. Failure to maintain an adequate score consistently will delay (or prevent) a new partner from being activated.
Consistent inaccuracies on single hotels
If the accuracy rate for particular hotel drops below an acceptable threshold, Google reserves the right to:
- Add the hotel to a suspension list and notify you.
- Disable Ads for that hotel.
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.
Note, other hotels in your account are not affected.
For more information, see Handling Price Accuracy Violations.
Consistent inaccuracies account-wide
In addition to penalizing for low Price Accuracy scores, Google may take additional action in more serious cases. If your account's overall price accuracy is verified as falling below acceptable levels, or you show you cannot comply with the Price Accuracy policy:
- Google will notify 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.