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Trivago’s Free Booking Links: What they are, how they work, and benefits

Paula Carreirao

By Paula Carreirao

Imagine increasing direct bookings without spending on ads and having access to 7.8 million potential guests monthly. That’s what independent properties can achieve with Trivago’s Free Booking Links.

Trivago is a hotel metasearch engine aggregating data from multiple online distribution channels to enable price comparison in one place. As one of the most popular metasearch platforms in the hotel industry, Trivago is an essential component of the distribution strategy of a successful hotel. And what’s good, it just got even better!

Trivago enabled free booking links earlier this year to help independent properties increase direct bookings. Unlike Google’s Free Booking Links, this feature is only available to hoteliers; OTAs and resellers can not participate.

How can independent lodging properties take advantage of Trivago’s Free Booking Links? Read on to find out what Trivago’s Free Booking Links are, how they work, their benefits, and how to access them with Cloudbeds.

What are Trivago’s Free Booking Links?

Trivago’s free booking links are direct links from Trivago’s metasearch to a hotel’s website, working as free ads and allowing independent properties to promote their website rates on Trivago’s price-comparison results.


trivago's free booking links


Trivago’s Free Booking Links provide hoteliers with a unique distribution channel for their website rates and availability, giving them more visibility and the opportunity to generate more direct revenue.

With five million hotels and alternative accommodations listed in the metasearch along with more than 180 online travel agencies (OTAs), this is an excellent opportunity for independent properties to gain visibility, attract more travelers, and increase direct bookings in one of the world’s largest accommodation metasearch engine in the world.


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Who are they for?

Trivago’s Free Booking Links aim to support independent hoteliers with the means to get ahead of their competition and secure more direct bookings.

This relatively new feature is available in eight main markets – the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, and France. More markets are expected to be available soon. Currently, only independent hotels that do not have active campaigns on Trivago can participate.


How do they work?

First, as an independent lodging business, you must register your property on Trivago Business Studio. If you’re listed on OTAs, you’re probably already listed on metasearch channels too. However, your listing may be inaccurate or incomplete, so use Trivago Business Studio to update your property’s profile, images, descriptions, and reviews.


trivago's free booking links


You must also have a connectivity partner, like Cloudbeds, working with Trivago to provide the necessary integration. This technical setup allows the metasearch platform to receive your property’s website rates and availability from the connectivity provider and activate the free booking link. You can check your eligibility status when you log into your Business Studio.


Where do they appear?

The free booking links appear in the slide-out in the search results list. Travelers who click on your property’s link will be taken directly to the landing page you provide to complete the booking process. 


trivago's free booking links


What is the difference between Trivago’s Free Booking Links vs Google’s?

Unlike Google free booking links, there is no separate section for free and paid links nor a differentiating label that identifies them as free listings. They appear as regular direct channel ads, identified as ‘hotel sites.’

Another difference is that Trivago’s Free Booking Links are only available to hoteliers, unlike Google’s Free Booking Links, which allow all players to participate, including OTAs, resellers, and more.


Why are they important?

With over 12M accommodation searches daily, Trivago continues to be a popular metasearch platform and a key component of a hotel distribution strategy. Moreover, today’s travelers are more price-sensitive than usual due to the current macroeconomic environment.

As they search for the best value, Trivago enables them to compare hotel prices across different booking channels and find the best accommodation for their needs. Checking rates in one place makes decision-making faster and easier, benefiting travelers and hoteliers.


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Free Bookings Links vs. Trivago’s ads

When advertising on Trivago, you can choose between three campaign models:  pay-per-click (or cost-per-click), pay-per-booking, and pay-per-stay. 

In the cost-per-click model (CPC), the hotel pays the amount it bids for each click. You can set your monthly budget and pay for the clicks you receive on your website rates. 

In the pay-per-booking model, you choose a commission rate and pay this rate on each direct booking you receive. It’s worth noticing that you pay the rate per click, regardless of whether the booking is later canceled. 

Lastly, in the pay-per-stay campaign, the hotel pays a predefined percentage of the value of a booking. Trivago won’t charge the hotel in case of a cancellation.

Trivago’s free booking links also take users to the hotel’s website when they click on the link. But, unlike ads, Trivago’s Free Booking Links come with no cost. In other words, they do not require a bid on the metasearch engine.

Another essential aspect is that independent hoteliers aren’t restricted to how long they can have a free link on Trivago. Moreover, hotels can switch to a paid campaign anytime to maximize their reach on Trivago if they may receive more traffic due to ad positioning.

With Trivago’s free booking links, independent properties, which currently do not have active paid campaigns, can boost the traffic and booking potential of the metasearch engine without spending money. With positive results, these properties will likely consider investing in paid campaigns in the future.


Benefits of Trivago’s Free Booking Links

There are many benefits of Trivago’s Free Booking Links for independent properties, including:

  • More visibility: Your independent property will appear in more search results, helping you compete with OTAs and large chains for visibility. You’ll be able to reach more travelers, increasing your chances of more bookings. It’s important to note that OTAs cannot participate in Free Booking Links.
  • More direct bookings: Displaying your website rate increases the chances of converting direct bookings while saving on paying commissions for OTAs and advertising. Rather than going to a third-party booking site, like or Expedia, travelers are sent straight to your booking page. They will likely book directly with you if your website rate is your best option.
  • More revenue: Direct bookings enable properties to own guest data, build the guest relationship right from the start, and personalize services and upselling. This direct connection is an excellent opportunity to learn about the guest’s preferences before arrival, allowing your staff to offer the right service, enhance the guest experience, and maximize direct revenue and profitability.
  • More qualified traffic: Through Trivago’s Free Booking Links, your hotel website can move travelers down the funnel in the decision-making process. Capturing these qualified leads, who are almost ready to book with you, enables your team to get in touch and encourage them to complete the booking.


How it works with Cloudbeds

An official Trivago connectivity partner, Cloudbeds enables access to Trivago’s Free Booking Links, helping you enhance online visibility and generate more direct bookings. It’s important to note that independent accommodation providers can’t appear on Trivago’s Free Booking Links without a technology partner. If you’re a Cloudbeds customer, get in touch to learn more. 


Need to boost your online presence and reservations? Discover Cloudbeds Amplify

With Cloudbeds Amplify, lodging properties can increase online visibility while driving more reservations across key digital marketing channels, including websites, metasearch, search engine marketing, listings management, and retargeting. A hospitality-focused digital marketing solution, Cloudbeds Amplify helps you gain market share by staying competitive on metasearch engines, such as Trivago, through an expertly executed digital marketing strategy. 

Ready to learn more? Talk to our team.

Published on 27 July, 2023
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About Paula Carreirao

Paula Carreirao

Paula Carreirão has been an important voice in the hotel industry for the last 12 years, combining her hospitality experience with her passion for travel and marketing. As a hospitality expert and a Content Specialist at Cloudbeds, you’ll find Paula writing and talking about the hotel industry, technology, and content marketing. A frank and authentic advocate for the industry, you can always count on Paula’s contagious laughter to make noteworthy conversations even more engaging.

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