In the world of online advertising, the travel industry is one of the most brutal and cutthroat verticals around. Whether you are competing in Google Ads with big travel brands, or trying to gain back some control from Online Travel Agents, you are matched up against billions of dollars of ad spend and marketing budgets that continue to grow. Chances are if you are not a big hotel brand like Hilton or an OTA like Priceline, your online marketing budget pales in comparison. Below are three targeting tips to help you stretch that five or six figure monthly budget and convert more lookers to bookers using Google Ads.
- Utilize remarketing lists for search (RLSA)
Unless a customer is familiar with your brand, turning that looker into a booker will most likely take more than one attempt, which is where remarketing comes into play. Create remarketing lists based on how visitors interact with your site. Are visitors poking around on your website, checking all available rates on certain dates and then deciding not to book? If this sounds all too familiar, you’re probably losing those potential bookings to a nearby competitor. Combat this by creating a remarketing list targeting those who spend more than 5 minutes on your website, checked out your rates, but decided not to book. Once the list has been created, setup a Google Ads Search Network campaign with key phrases focused on nearby competitors. Create compelling ad copy to entice that user back to your website for a second time and then convince them to convert on a landing page specifically designed for this campaign. If losing bookings to competitors is not the problem, but instead losing those bookings to OTA’s due to price parity perception or price shopping is the issue? Feel free to employ the same method.
- Customer Match + Remarketing Lists
A colleague of mine recently gave some great tips on taking your email lists beyond the inbox which includes utilizing Google Ads Customer Match. Google just recently provided what may be an even more powerful targeting method by allowing advertisers to combine Customer Match with remarketing lists. Imagine the following scenario. A guest booked and stayed at your hotel last year for a nearby business conference. You have their email address from this booking. Now imagine that 10 months later this same guest is again looking to attend that same business conference. The guest performs a search on Google for hotels near the conference location, comes across your website, looks around, but decides to check out other options this year and goes back to Google to search again. If your email marketing and remarketing lists were working together, you could hyper target this guest when they started searching on Google for ulterior options and provide them with extremely customized ad copy (possibly introducing your brand new loyalty program), giving you another great chance to gain back that booking.
- Target Across Devices
I mentioned above that a consumer is likely to check out their options before booking a room at your hotel. They are just as likely to perform this search on a different device than the original search. Make sure you have a mobile specific targeting strategy that works for your hotel property. As of recently, both of the targeting methods listed above will now allow you to reach your customers and prospects across devices. And if you are going to go through the process of creating a mobile specific advertising strategy, please don’t neglect the most important piece, your website. Makes sure your site loads quickly, provides the info the customer is looking for and please, please don’t make the customer jump through hoops to book.
Employing one or all of these Google Ads travel tips should help stretch your advertising dollars by delivering a more targeted advertising program.