Email From BOOKING – UPDATED GDT – What does it mean?

Hotel Distribution

In the last few days all hotels across EU should have received the email in the picture from Booking. If not, they’ll get it soon.


A few hoteliers asked me what that means, being this email quite confusing and “techy”. So, I hope this is going to be helpful for many other hoteliers.

The important part is this: “We removed the Bidding Restrictions from our agreement with you. This means you’re free to bid on Booking via online search engines if you want, which aligns with a recent EU-ruling.

Essentially, when you signed your contract with B, there was a clause by which you, hotel, were not allowed to use copyrighted keywords in your Paid Ads, for example, the keyword “your hotel name booking . com” was forbidden.

With this email from B, this clause has now been eliminated.

Sounds good, right? (even though I don’t know who actually bid using booking . com in their ads…).

Point being, even though you can now use those trademarks as keywords, you have NEVER been allowed to use those trademarks respectively in the Headline text and the Description text of your Ads. To better understand what I am referring to, check this example directly from Google:


What’s not stated in this email is the rest of the story…

At the end of 2018 Google updated its Ads policies and the trick is in this sentence: “We recognize that third parties may properly use trademarks in certain situations, such as by resellers to describe products.“.

Here’s the link to the page on Google:

Now let’s merge the 2 statements and connect the dots.

Simply put, it is true that you (hotel) are now allowed to bid using trademarks as keywords (same as the example above “your hotel name booking . com”), but at the same time:

  • You can NOT use “booking . com” as part of the Headline, nor the Description of your Ads.
  • Instead, as a reseller, B can use your registered trademark in the Headline and in the Description of their Ads.

The full picture…

Alright, this was about the content of the email.

A few words now about its “copywriting”. I really LOOOOOVE copywriting being a real “art” and having myself seen how good copy can change everything. Especially in the case of B, these guys are really the masters…

First, pay attention to the introduction and the conclusion of the email, respectively:

Dear Partner, As part of our ongoing efforts to improve transparency…


With these updated GDTs, we hope and trust we can continue and further grow our partnership with you.

With the introduction, before telling you what the email is about, they use reassuring words to put you in your comfort zone, so to speak. B doesn’t know your state of mind before opening the email, so with this simple technique they ease you in a more relaxed mood by making you picture them as the ones standing and working for you. The word “transparency” itself is a very potent mental trigger.

Then, the content. Confusing, quite technical, lacking of some important information and, because of this, misleading.

This is not poor copy, this is great copy written by someone who does NOT want the reader to understand.

Last but no least, the conclusion that highlights the “partnership” between you and B. Another powerful word (partner) used as a mental trigger. Again, great closing to keep hoteliers relaxed and peaceful.

Ok, I probably ran out of context with this copy thingie, but it’s really part of how brands “sell” their stuff and this tiny little details are worth huge money.

Do you now think B sold you this GDT Update properly?