Paid search is one of the most effective ways for hoteliers to drive traffic and secure bookings. By leveraging the digital billboards of Google search results, on-page display ads, and social media, they can put their hotel in front of their ideal audience at the precise time travelers are thinking about booking a stay.
Yet some hoteliers find their paid advertising is an investment with very little return. Here are five tips to help secure bookings with paid ads without breaking the bank.
1Lean into the USP
Using niche keywords tailored to the audience most likely to be receptive is more cost-effective than spreading the spend across popular terms. To make sure ads are appearing in front of the right people, it helps to find out more about the target audience.
For example, an exclusive golf hotel and health spa in Surrey, United Kingdom, where there are over 400 golf courses, faced stiff competition for bookings using popular golf course search terms. The property is unique in that it is home to two world championship golf courses, and, therefore, could use keywords that project an exclusive appeal to stand out from others in the same ad space.
2Leverage Audience Insights
With more ads than ever in today’s digital space, the way to be heard over the noise is to create unique, personalized ads. All the popular ad platforms allow marketers to draw insights about their audience while their ad campaigns run. This is important because everyone responds to ads differently. The trick is building campaigns around specific audiences as well as specific service offerings or seasonal deals.
Instead of taking a shot in the dark, they can find out exactly who is likely to convert on an ad and make a booking. This enables hoteliers to spend more time on the quality of their ad and wasting less on audience targeting.
The next challenge is to prevent guests who have clicked through the ad to slip through the net at the final hurdle.
3Create Dedicated Remarketing Ads
If a hotel’s ads are working well and getting plenty of click-throughs, but customers aren’t converting, the problem may be the online booking system. Fortunately, potential guests who reach the booking stage without converting can be captured with remarketing ads. Remarketing ad campaigns fire automatically with an attractive offering to convince people who are already interested to take that final step and book a stay.
Remarketing ads can also provide insight into how to make the booking experience better for potential guests. Seeing where visitors drop off provides information to improve the user experience while relying on the remarketing campaign to secure a sale.
The remarketing offering needs to be specifically crafted to draw guests back in. At this point, it’s not necessary to waste time establishing an identity; the task is to create an offer or discount that they can’t say ‘no’ to.
4Optimize the Ads
One of the hardest parts of managing a cost-effective paid search campaign is balancing the cost of time. Setting up ad campaigns and monitoring their success requires time, which means money. Because regularly checking and improving ads is an essential part of paid search, it’s up to the marketer to determine how to best strike this balance.
The longer an ad campaigns run, the more data can be captured. This data can be used to inform future campaigns, making them more successful and cost-effective moving forward. It is important to review ads on a regular basis and divert the budget into the most successful channels while culling the ads that aren’t working.
5Test, Test, Test!
Optimizing ads requires testing. Audience insights aren’t enough; sometimes something new is needed to stand out from the paid search crowd in a particular market. Whether or not it works, the key is to test and record changes.
A/B testing is a great way to try different ads on different audiences. While this will require some upfront investment, the more that testing is done, the better the payoff in the long run.
After a while, it becomes clear which landing pages, copy, and calls-to-action work best. By first generating a baseline, marketers can then improve each and every campaign using logical, proven decisions versus emotional, gut-reaction experiments.
Paid advertising needs a little TLC to be as effective as possible. By taking a data-led approach that supports the unique offering, it is possible to create cost-effective paid ads that deliver bookings consistently.