Hotel PPC: “Vacancy” to “Sold Out” Is a Click Away, Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

Invest in the Best

Once you’ve honed a branded, targeted hotel PPC or pay-per-click campaign that has shown positive results, don’t be afraid to invest more money up front to enhance your chances for good/more frequent placement. PPC is one of the best ways for smaller hotel operations to get on a level advertising field with “the big cheeses” of the hospitality industry.

How do you create a branded PPC campaign? It takes some time, patience, and persistence. Studies have shown that a name must appear in front of a potential customer’s eyes an average of seven times before it begins to “stick.” Here are some tips that may prove helpful:

  • Always bid on your hotel’s brand name. Without fail. Thus, when emergencies like a rash of cancellations pop up, you’re ready at a moment’s notice for the next step.
  • Once you’ve put that brand name solidly in the game, you can begin to branch out into slightly more generic (and more expensive) keywords based on location, such as “hotels near Wrightsville beach.” Or, as in our cancellation scenario, you can drop in those flash sale keywords to generate interest.
  • Keep it hands-on. Letting an automated software program do all the work is a sure path to failure. And if you’re using an agency to manage your hotel PPC campaign, make sure they offer the individualized attention your company needs. The payoff in increased revenue should more than cover their cost.

Prepare Your Landing Page

Don’t forget to update your hotel’s web site to coordinate with the PPC ad. Nothing frustrates a potential customer more than clicking on a link for a fantastic deal and then having to hunt around on the hotel’s web site to find it.

Empty rooms? No need to panic. Let us help you develop a hotel PPC strategy that works. Contact us today!

Hotel PPC: “Vacancy” to “Sold Out” Is a Click Away, Part 1

Wouldn’t it be great to have a marketing contingency plan ready to go at a moment’s notice? You can with hotel PPC or pay-per-click.

Cancellation? No Problem

Say it’s wedding season, and at the last possible minute, one of those weddings is cancelled, suddenly freeing up a huge block of rooms. Or a major rock concert is called off due to the lead singer’s bad throat, and room cancellations start pouring in. Either way, you’re left scrambling instead of hanging out the “no vacancy” sign.

Now’s the time to deploy a good PPC campaign. What kind of campaign is most likely to fill those empty rooms on short notice?

  • Tried and True

It’s good to have a thoroughly tested PPC campaign in your back pocket, one that you’ve tested before and found to turn over a good number of reservations. Hopefully it’s one that promotes your hotel brand as well as an attractive deal.

  • Aim for a Moving (Mobile) Target

A PPC campaign can be perfect to catch the attention of travelers who are just passing through and looking at the last minute for a place to lay their heads. People on the move aren’t typically going to take the time to dig out their laptops, but what’s the first thing travelers do when they step off the plane or pull over for gas or a meal? Check their mobile phones. Adjusting your PPC budget toward mobile devices can catch more of this type of potential business.

  • Take it One Night at a Time

Combined with a mobile-targeted campaign, one-night-only deals on room rates can attract a lot of attention. Further narrowing the campaign’s focus by location (nearby) and time of day (last minute) can spark that get-it-now-or-miss-out sense of urgency.

  • Become Geo-Smart

“Hotels in Cleveland” may sound like a good PPC keyword selection—until you’re wasting your budget with customers who are looking in Cleveland, Tennessee instead of Cleveland, Ohio. Limiting your potential audience to those looking in your specific area will save you money.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series! In the meantime, contact us today for more expert advice on how to develop your hotel PPC strategy.

Hotel PPC: Are You Doing it Wrong?

Hotel PPC (pay-per-click) is quite the buzzword these days. It looks deceptively easy—set it up, wait for customers to spot it on their search engine results page, and let the reservations roll in. However, the reality is it’s not that easy, and if you’re doing it wrong, you’re wasting money. Find out how to get it right using these five tips.

 

Tip #1: Good SEO Isn’t Enough

You may be thinking, “Why should I employ PPC when my web site’s search engine optimization (SEO) already puts my hotel at the top of most customers’ natural search results? Isn’t PPC a waste of money?”

 

Not necessarily. On average, a customer needs to see your hotel’s name at least seven times before it begins to “stick” in his or her mind. Ensuring your hotel’s name appears twice on the same page is like getting a two-for-one advertising deal.

 

Tip #2: You Can Set it and Forget it—Sort of

Sure, you can set up a hotel PPC campaign and let it do its thing, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it. That’s a recipe for disappointment and a conclusion that “PPC doesn’t work.” It does work, but you have to work it. Check on the progress at least once a week and tweak it as needed.

 

Tip #3: Google Isn’t the Only Game in Town

Arguably, Google is the biggest and baddest paid search engine on the web, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the other search engines or treat them all the same. Studying how PPC works differently for each one will help you gain even more clicks.

 

Tip #4: Just Throwing Money at PPC Doesn’t Help

Conventional wisdom says if your PPC campaign isn’t generating enough click-throughs, simply raise your bid to improve page positioning. But it doesn’t work that way. Much like SEO content, search engines look at more than just how much you’re willing to pay when determining optimal page positioning. They look at the quality of the clicks you’re generating, which includes the click-through rate and the relevance of the ad content to your landing page.

 

Tip #5: A Good PPC Campaign Won’t Fix Everything

If your web site isn’t prepared to meet the expectations of the potential customers clicking through, you’re wasting your advertising money. Make sure your site is user friendly, especially the booking system. If a visitor has to click more than twice to find what is needed, you’re at risk of losing business to an easier-to-navigate competitor’s site.

 

Let Smart eHotels™ help you get your hotel PPC campaign right the first time. Contact us today!

Hotel PPC: Smart Keyword Targeting Saves Campaign Dollars

When selecting keywords for your hotel PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaign, it’s tempting to pick words and phrases that seem to make the most sense, such as “hotels in San Francisco” or “hotels near Yellowstone.” In reality, this is a good way to burn through your PPC budget in nothing flat.

Before you target your keywords, you need to target your campaign. Ask yourself what goals you’re aiming for when you set up a PPC advertising effort.

Are you staking out your territory?

If your goal is to prevent your competition from highjacking your hotel’s name to drive traffic to their web sites (hey, it happens), allocate a healthy amount of campaign dollars toward keywords that include your hotel’s name. If this sounds like a no-brainer, it is—so much so that its importance is often underestimated. You may not even be aware you’re being “brandjacked” until you investigate why your previous hotel PPC campaign was unsuccessful.

Do you want to attract customers looking for hotels in your region?

Another way to target your hotel PPC campaign is to go after travelers who are already planning a trip to or through your area. Let’s say your hotel is located near a professional sports team’s game venue. The team’s top rival is coming to town for a game on a certain date. Therefore, you already know customers will be looking for “hotel near Giants stadium” or “hotel near Fenway Park,” and pretty much when they’re going to be searching. Voila, you have the keywords and the time frame for your hotel PPC campaign. This is one of the most efficient ways to spend your PPC dollars.

Are you looking to establish your brand name?

No way around it, getting your hotel’s name in front of as many eyes as possible is an expensive proposition. A branding mission is the most expensive type of hotel PPC campaign, but if your hotel is new on the block, it’s still a bargain compared to other types of traditional advertising.

Establish Your Presence

One ever-present goal is to make customers aware your facility exists, so it’s essential that you make every click count. How? By ensuring that every customer who clicks on your PPC link is greeted with a top-notch landing page that’s attractive, informative, and functional.

SmarteHotels.com can help you build a hotel PPC campaign that pops. Contact us today!

Hotel PPC: Make Those Clicks Pay Off

The next time you do a Google search for a hotel and wonder why certain hotel ads pop up on the top and right side of the screen, consider the last time you went to the grocery store. Do you assume the placement of products on the shelves is random or based on the whims of the stockperson? Think again. There’s a reason cans of brand-name green beans are at eye level or placed on aisle end caps—extra fees are paid to be there, relegating generic or less well-known brands to the very top or bottom shelves.

Hotel PPC (pay-per-click) marketing works much the same way:

  • A customer starts shopping by entering a search term like “hotels in (destination name).”
  • Your hotel’s PPC ad, triggered by those key words, appears in the prime spots at the top or right side of the screen.
  • If the customer clicks the ad, it leads to your hotel’s web site (preferably a dedicated landing page for your PPC campaign, which will make it easier for you to monitor traffic generated by the PPC ad).
  • Only after the customer clicks your ad do you pay. For example, if you’ve set up your hotel PPC campaign with a $2,000 monthly budget and the cost per click is $2, you can reasonably expect up to 1,000 clicks a month. If you aren’t maxing out on clicks, it’s time to rethink the key words and phrases you’re using.

How does PPC advertising enhance your hotel’s digital marketing campaign and result in more bookings?

  • It’s easy to customize a PPC ad to draw attention to a specific, limited-time special rate. For example, run a PPC ad in January to call attention to your hotel’s Valentine’s Day package.
  • The right key words can open up new markets. For instance, they can put your hotel’s name in front of business meeting planners looking for fresh venue ideas.
  • Those who click the hotel PPC ad are saved from searching your site for the most relevant information—the ad’s link will take them directly to that place.
  • With the correct coding on your web site, you can easily track which visitors arrived on your page via a PPC ad and which ones went on to book a stay.

Is there ever a time when hotel PPC advertising might not be the best choice? Yes. If, when you do a test run of specific key words and phrases, your hotel already lands on the first page of search engine results, it doesn’t make sense to spend money on a PPC ad using the same key words. Use PPC advertising to expand your market and to get your name in front of customers who might not think of your hotel when they search for “business meeting venues.”

Effective hotel PPC campaigns don’t happen accidentally. Let SmarteHotels.com help you reap the benefits of this tool. Contact us today.

 

Hotel PPC: Pay-Per-Click Advertising 101

Hotel marketing can be expensive, but hey, that doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know! If you haven’t looked into pay-per-click advertising (PPC), here’s a primer on its advantages and disadvantages. Hotel PPC can easily fit into your marketing budget because you’re the one in control of what it costs – as long as you know exactly what you’re doing.

Advantages

  • No web site overhaul required
    Search engine optimization (SEO) requires on-site adjustments, fresh content, keyword changes to each page, and other changes.. In contrast, PPC advertising typically doesn’t require any additional work on your hotel’s website.
  • Quick Results

Hotel SEO can take between 3-6 months to gain traction in search results. With PPC, you can jump to page one rankings almost immediately, depending on your budget and keywords, which brings us to our next point.

  • You decide the budget
    Set a maximum bid per click, based on research of typical bids for your target keywords. For example, Google AdWords suggests a bid of $2-4 for some popular hotel-related keywords. Then set a limit on how much you want to spend per day.
  • Easy to set up
    The process to set up PPC advertising is relatively simple. For example, there are only a few simple steps to set up PPC advertising through Google AdWords:
    – Create a Google account and password (or use an existing account).
    – Open a Google AdWords account.
    – Choose a budget.
    – Create a short, snappy ad with a to-the-point headline, such as “Historic Boston Hotel.”
    – Build a list of search terms and keywords customers typically use to find your hotel, and set location parameters.
    – Enter billing information and click to start the campaign.
    – Check back occasionally to see which keywords are getting the most attention, and tweak the list as needed by adding new terms and deleting unproductive ones.
    – Especially for hotels, it might be a good idea to set up two separate campaigns, one local and one global.

Disadvantages

  • Easy to go hog wild
    Remember that you must pay for every potential customer’s click, even if they don’t end up booking a stay. Make sure your keyword list is carefully honed so you don’t burn through your budget too quickly.
  • Ad burnout
    Over time, web users have become immune to enticing PPC ads. That’s one reason impactful ad copy is so important. Even if the ad is only ten words, you might want to get a professional PPC specialist to help you get the best results.
  • Selecting the right marketing partner
    Search for an online marketing expert, and the results page will be crowded with potentially fly-by-night firms who claim to know what they’re doing. Look for a firm that knows the ins and outs of your particular industry – hotels!

Why trust your hotel PPC campaign to anyone else? At Smart eHotels, we’re all hotels, all the time. Contact us today!