From researching extensively for keywords, to monitoring which terms convert into traffic or bookings, to making adjustments depending on the season, weather, destination, special events…yikes. It’s a lengthy and thorough process that requires more time than most hoteliers realise.
The good news: Hotels that take the time and effort to learn what really matters will see an uptick in their ROI and conversions.
Raisa McDonald, search engine marketing manager at Tambourine, has provided seven ways hoteliers can boost profitability and improve their hotel PPC campaign performance.
1. Use both broad and exact match keywords
This is about quality over quantity. “Be sure to include exact match and broad match so your ads are displayed whenever someone does a search that is relevant to your keywords,“ Raisa pointed out. Many hoteliers waste money investing solely on broad match keywords, which is Google’s default option. However, this means you are spending money on irrelevant traffic that isn’t converting or qualified in the first place. Broad keywords will pull up in searches that include your key terms in any order and even with misspellings. For example, a broad search term of ‘Nashville hotels’ means your hotel will come up even for ‘Nashville Schools,’ ‘nashville gyms’, ‘san diego hotels’ or ‘hotels.’
Instead, turn to more restrictive match types, like exact match keywords. Your volume will decrease, however, your hotel ads will be shown to a more relevant audience, meaning more conversions and clicks.
2. Avoid going over your daily budget early in the day
It’s important to stay on top of your PPC spend. “Going over your budget too early can limit the amount of potential customers seeing your hotel’s ads, which can mean you may be missing out on conversions,” warned Raisa. To avoid this from happening, she suggests using an ad schedule to control when your ads are displayed.
3. Monitor and track conversions
The foundation of any successful hotel PPC campaign is analytics and tracking results. After all, having a strategy in place for conversion tracking is key to knowing how well (or poorly) your campaigns are performing. “Not all conversions are the same nor are all conversions about immediate bookings,” Raisa explained.
So, if your conversion goal is to get more calls from your ads, you should make sure your settings are properly configured to track when and where the calls are coming from, she suggests. Only with this insight will you know which placements, ads and key terms lead to conversions and are actually worth bidding on.
4. Max out all possible extensions
Google AdWords extensions allow you to add more information to your hotel ad beyond the basic URL, ad copy and headline. The more space your ad takes up and the more details you include makes it more likely for your ad to stand out and get clicked on. And more clicks usually means you’ll pay less per click, as well as boost your conversions. “So, make sure your ads have all the extensions possible to get the most ad real estate on the Google search page,” Raisa advised.
5. Bonus tip: Add in information about recent hotel promotions
One of Google’s newest Adwords features is called the promotion extension, which can be used by advertisers to show a current promotion or sale going on at their property. This extension is displayed as a part of the search ad and can help to bring more customers to the site and increase bookings.
6. Test, test, and test again
Frequent adjustments are usually necessary throughout the lifetime of your PPC campaign. So, testing is the best way to optimize your PPC spend. “Implementing different ad copies to see which one performs better is a good way to see what works for your campaign and gets the most conversions,” Raisa explained.
Alter just one variable at a time to get the test data you need. “Be sure to write quality ads and check for any grammatical errors,” Raisa added. Also, don’t leave your test running for too long. A common mistake is allowing the ‘losing’ ad too much screen time which diminishes the visibility of the ‘winner.’
7. Tap income levels
One of Raisa’s advanced tactics includes household income targeting. “This is a good way to advertise to users within a certain geo-location based on their average household income,” Raisa explained. Data gathered from the IRS is used with this strategy to help your ads reach a more qualified audience.