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 for both ads and free booking links. We evaluate price accuracy on the following five criteria:

  • When a user clicks through from Google’s site to the partner’s booking page, the total price on the booking page should 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 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.
  • Violation of the Prohibited Practices Policy may impact your price accuracy score.
Booking page: 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: The page the user is sent to on a partner’s site before taking any additional action. This is often a room selection page for a specific hotel. In some cases the landing page may also be the booking page.

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 and free booking links.

This section includes the following topics:

About your price accuracy score

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 penalties Google may give to partners. Your predicted price accuracy score and your overall (current) price accuracy score can range from Excellent to Failed.

The following image illustrates the values and thresholds:

Diagram for the Price Accuracy Score thresholds grading scale

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

Key Score Description
Price Accuracy Score legend | excellent bar Excellent Your score exceeds the Positioning Threshold. It's among the highest of all partners and your ads and free booking links are given preference in positioning over partners with lower scores.
"Positioning Threshold" (Placement below this threshold results in a negative impact on auction positioning and advertising cost for ads and placement for free booking links)
Price Accuracy Score legend | excellent bar Good Your score is slightly below the Positioning Threshold. Your score is better than those with a Poor, At Risk, or Failed score, but it negatively impacts your auction positioning and advertising cost for ads and placement for free booking links.
Price Accuracy Score legend | poor bar Poor Your score is well below the Positioning Threshold that negatively impacts your auction positioning and advertising cost for ads and placement for free booking links. Your score is better than those with an At Risk score.
Price Accuracy Score legend | at risk bar At Risk Your 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 advertising cost for ads and placement for free booking links.
"Account Suspension Threshold" (Placement below this threshold results in suspension of your account)
Price Accuracy Score legend | failed Failed Your score is below the Account Suspension Threshold. Your account has been suspended and neither ads nor free booking links will be displayed for your account.

How price accuracy scores are calculated

To calculate your price accuracy scores, Google will regularly validate the price the user is presented when landing on the partner's site and navigating through to the final booking page. Google may not check every price offered 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 or your landing page.

This validation is done with both automated tools and manual processes against the data that you send to Google, as presented in the following image:

Diagram of how how Price accuracy score works

When checks are run, Google compares the total price and room type description to the total price and room type description displayed in your ads and free booking links and computes an overall price accuracy percentage rate, or overall price accuracy score.

Numeric values are computed based on how users engage with your ads and free booking links, 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 price accuracy score, you're assigned a value of Excellent, Good, 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.

Common causes of price inaccuracies

This section describes some common reasons that your price accuracy scores might drop.

Leaving out taxes and fees are a common causes of price inaccuracies Taxes and fees

You must be sure that all taxes and/or fees are included in the overall price of a room, even those that are paid upon arrival.

Unavailable rooms is a common causes of price inaccuracies Unavailable rooms

You must ensure that rooms are available at the price provided when the end user clicks through to book them.

Stale data is a common causes of price inaccuracies Stale data

If the prices in Google's price cache don't match the prices on your website, the data might be out of date.

Google offers a sampling of the actual errors from the manual and automated validations with the Hotel Center and the Travel Partner API. When these errors indicate stale data, refreshing the data in Google's cache can often rectify price accuracy related issues. For pull or 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 from Hotel Center. The report compares the Google cached prices to the retrieved prices. For more information, visit the price accuracy report.

Changes to your landing/booking page

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.

If you're 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 retrieval mechanism.

Rates that require sign-in

If your rates require a sign-in process, then it's possible that Google considers them inaccurate.

Your rates must be bookable by all users who may be offered the rate (based on information like the Point of Sale and Conditional Rates). You may require that users complete a sign-up or sign-in process to book the rate, subject to the following conditions:

yes, confirmed Be sure that your rates are visible to users on the first landing page after redirection from Google. 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.
yes, confirmed You must make your users 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.
yes, confirmed If you provide rates that are targeted towards non-existing members, you must ensure that sign-up is free of charge and won't result in immediate or future subscription/membership fees. This restriction doesn’t apply to rates targeted towards existing members (for example, through audience lists).
yes, confirmed You must ensure that sign-up for new members is reasonably straightforward and that it doesn't require excessive difficulty or excessive amounts of personal information.
yes, confirmed If you're requiring membership, you must make sure that users are granted their membership immediately after sign-up.

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.

Price violations: Report inaccurate partner pricing data

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 hotel or hotels or blocks those prices from being presented to users. A report is deemed valid when the hotel or hotels in question on a partner’s site have 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 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 erroneous data and then request a re-validation through the Hotel Suspensions page in Hotel Center.

Learn more about how to handle Price Accuracy violations

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 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. 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.

For new partners

Google performs a price accuracy check before activating your account and listing your rates and availability. 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 a particular hotel drops below an acceptable threshold, Google reserves the right to:

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

Please notify Google when you fix the issue so that Google can re-enable your ads and free booking links for that hotel (after verifying that the reported issue is resolved). 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.

Note: Other hotels in your account are not affected.

For more information, visit How to handle 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 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.
For tips on improving your price accuracy score, visit Improve Price Accuracy.

Best practices for your ads and free booking links

  • The hotel price provided in your price feed should match the hotel price on the landing page of your site. Google may display prices differently based on region, as outlined in the Taxes and Fees Policy. We also recommend that the total price displayed on Google’s site matches the price displayed on the landing page.
  • The taxes and other fees (both collected online and collected at the hotel) provided in your price feed should match what is indicated on the landing page of your site. We also recommend that you fully disclose all mandatory rates, taxes, and fees on your landing page.
  • Each price (base price, taxes, and fees) sent to Google should also match the corresponding fields on the final booking page or landing page on your site. As a result, the total price should match as well.
  • The total price should include all the fees paid by the user (which includes fees not collected online).
  • Ensure that the prices are frequently updated (several times a day) to reflect the most current prices.
  • Make sure that the components of the price, such as taxes and other fees, are also updated frequently.
  • Indicate the taxes and other uncollected fees clearly on your site so our crawlers and manual reviewers can easily find them.
  • Check all aspects of the hotel price closely. Compare the prices of different Room Bundles, prices on mobile vs desktop, and send us accurate prices in all situations.
  • When conducting any tests on your website design and layout, inform your technical account manager or contact us so we can take that into consideration when we test for price accuracy.
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