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 four 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.
- Violation of the Prohibited Practices policy may impact your Price Accuracy Score
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:
- 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
- Best practices for your ads and free booking links
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 and Overall Price Accuracy Score can range from Failed to Excellent.
The following image illustrates the values and thresholds:
The following table describes the possible values for your Price Accuracy Score:
|Excellent||Your score exceeds the Positioning Threshold. It is 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" (Below this threshold results in a negative impact on auction positioning and advertising cost for ads and placement for free booking links)|
|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.|
|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.|
|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" (Below this threshold results in suspension of your account)|
|Failed||Your score is below the Account Suspension Threshold. Your account has been suspended and neither ads nor free booking links will be shown for your account.|
To calculate your Price Accuracy Scores, Google will regularly validate the price the user sees from landing on the partner's site and by navigating through to 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 or your landing page.This validation is done with 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 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 are assigned a value of Excellent, Good, Poor, At Risk, or Failed, as described above.
Information about your account's price accuracy can be found in the Price Accuracy report. This report shows your overall (current) and predicted accuracy scores, score trends, and a sample of recent inaccuracies in your ads and free booking links that we have identified.
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 all taxes and/or fees are included in the overall price of a room, even those that are paid upon arrival.
You must ensure that rooms are available at the price shown 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 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.
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 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 retrieval 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, Conditional 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 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.
- 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 (for example, 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 Failed.
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 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. See the “Single hotels” section below for more detail.
- Suspend your account 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 activating your account and showing 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 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 Center account may be suspended.
- Google will reinstate a suspended account only after your Price Accuracy returns to an acceptable level.
- The hotel price provided in your price feed should match the hotel price shown 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 & 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.
- Look closely at all aspects of the hotel price: 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.