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5 of the Best PPC Practices for Hotel Marketers

By Rory Witt    |    February 20, 2017

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Marketing a hotel can be tricky business in the digital age. This is especially true if you’re not part of one of the major hotel chains scattered across the country.

But you don’t have to be affiliated with a major chain to find success in the digital marketing realm. With the right tools in your arsenal, you can generate significantly higher conversion rates for your PPC campaigns—and yes, there are tactics specifically designed to help hotel marketers.

So how do you tap into the power of PPC marketing and get your hotel booked to the brim each night? Here are five key practices that can help you make a difference.

1) Get Mobile

These days, you simply can’t ignore the influence that mobile devices have on the world of search. Mobile has certainly made its impact felt on SEO, but having a mobile-optimized focus is just as important for your hotel PPC campaign.

Mobile search is growing at a rapid clip for the travel industry—in fact, in 2015 alone, conversion rates for mobile-friendly travel sites grew by a staggering 88%, while the total number of searches grew by over 50%.

When someone is dreaming of a vacation, getting organized for their trip or making frantic last-minute adjustments to their travel plans, they’re far more likely to have their smartphone on hand than a laptop.

It doesn’t matter how good your PPC content is—if your site isn’t optimized to help mobile users quickly and easily complete their booking, you might as well be flushing away your marketing budget.

2) Focus on the Right Query

Another pitfall that often besets hotel marketers is determining which travel-related keywords should be the focus of their PPC campaign. When you look at the list of top travel industry search queries, it can be easy to get discouraged—the vast majority of these queries are for specific companies, like TripAdvisor or Marriott.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. A careful perusal of this list reveals a few keywords that can certainly be relevant to your PPC campaign: “hotels near me,” “booking” and of course, “cheap hotels.”

Let’s take a closer dive into “hotels near me.” Think for a moment. Why would someone be conducting this search in the first place?

The answer should be fairly obvious: many of the people conducting this search are looking for a quality hotel that they can book immediately. They’re already in the area and need a place to stay the night. In other words, these are high-intent searches. They tap into the power of local PPC advertising to help the people who are most in need.

As you target these and other relevant industry keywords (especially location-specific keywords for your city or state), you’ll be able to tap into this important segment of the travel market.

3) AdWords Hotel Ads

Google wants companies to succeed when they use PPC and other marketing channels, and nowhere is this more apparent than with the use of their Hotel Ads product.

These ads are designed to give Google users a quick comparison of hotels in the area, offering an overview of prices, reviews and more.

But you don’t need to limit yourself to the basics. Hotel Ads can connect with Google’s photo tools to give potential guests an extensive look at your hotel. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even give users the option to view interactive, 360-degree virtual tours of your hotel.

Hotel Ads have proven highly effective for both chain and boutique hotels. In fact, some companies have even reported a return on investment that exceeded 2,400%.

Quite simply, these specialized PPC ads drive conversions among travelers—if you’re not using them, you really ought to rethink your marketing strategy.

4) Give Them Quality

Of course, it’s not enough to merely start producing Hotel Ads in Google AdWords. To say that Google places a high priority on quality is a bit of an understatement. Quality content is everything with Google, and that’s just as true for PPC as it is for SEO.

While Hotel Ads and other tools are offered to help you succeed, you need to make the most of them if you want to avoid paying more for those precious clicks.

Google’s Quality Score is determined by your ad’s clickthrough rate, its relevance to a particular search term and the experience users have when they reach your landing page.

Essentially, if you create an engaging, relevant ad that generates clicks, you’ll get a higher Quality Score—and your cost per click will go down. A low-quality ad will do just the opposite, however, forcing you to pay a much steeper price for the few clicks you get.

Remember, your quality score involves more than just the PPC ad itself—it is also based on what happens after a user visits your site. Make sure that your guests’ entire PPC experience is helpful and engaging, and you’ll be well on the way to success.

5) Use Extensions

When a traveler is searching for hotels near their current location, they probably don’t want to waste their time navigating a website and trying to make a booking online. They have an immediate problem that requires an immediate solution.

Thankfully, PPC advertising enables you to help these customers get the information they need as quickly as possible thanks to location and call extensions. With these helpful extensions to your PPC ads, you can quickly provide travelers with a map of your location, your phone number or other important pieces of information.

The option to call your hotel is especially valuable to travelers who want to find out as quickly as possible if you have any vacancies. In fact, Google reports that over 70% of mobile users have used this feature.

PPC extensions give potential customers instant access to your hotel—and when they need to make a quick travel decision, that could make all the difference as they decide where to spend the night.

Conclusion

The travel industry is extremely competitive, but thanks to today’s digital marketing techniques, you have a much better chance at standing your own against major hotel chains and others who would take your business.

As you use these tips to create high-quality PPC ads for your hotel, you’ll be able to stand out in the crowded travel marketing arena.

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