Advertising your hotel or hotel chain on Google can be very costly and inefficient. It is easy to waste money on irrelevant traffic and poor search terms.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies that—when applied correctly—can have a major impact on the success of your hotel AdWords campaigns. In this article, we’ll go over these strategies and how we’ve used them to double ROI in just over a month!
1. Bid on Your Branded Terms
When it comes to hotel advertising, branded terms are gold. If you are not bidding on branded terms for your hotel you should be.
Branded terms are worth their weight in gold because they drive cheap hotel bookings that are extremely likely to convert. Think about it, the potential customer already knows your name so they are way more likely to convert then someone who does not. Also, your cost per click will be significantly cheaper because you own the brand.
Generally speaking, Google gives preferential ad space to advertisers who are advertising on their own brand, so your ads will take up more real estate on the page. In addition, you can customize your messaging while directing clicks to a high converting landing page.
As a result, branded terms can be an excellent way to capture low hanging fruit and maximize your return-on-investment.
Now, many hotels and chains are already bidding on their branded terms, but often they aren’t bidding enough on their branded terms. For example, I recently started working with a hotel client who had a branded term campaign, but their impression share on their branded terms was very low. By adding more branded terms and maximizing their impression share, I was able to significantly improve the performance of their campaigns.
2. Bidding Strategies Matter
“Maximize conversions” is a new bidding strategy Google recently rolled out to help advertisers get the most conversions out of their budgets. Using historical data about your campaign, “maximize conversions” bidding automatically determines the “ideal” cost-per-click (CPC) bid for your ad each time it is eligible to appear.
Generally speaking, I am somewhat skeptical of giving Google control of my bidding, so I decided to test this new bidding option by split testing “maximize conversions” against my manual bidding strategy.
The results were eye opening.
Almost overnight, our conversion rates and conversions skyrocketed and our cost-per-conversion started to drop. We let the test run for another week to gather enough statistical data before making our decision that Google conversion bidding was a clear winner.
Here are the final results of the test:
With results like this, it’s obvious that the “maximize conversions” setting outperformed manual settings. Better results and less manual effort? Sign me up!
Now, as exciting as these results are, “maximize conversions” is not the right setting for every account. That being said, I have tried using “maximize conversions” with multiple hotel clients and seen great results, so it’s well worth trying out in your own campaigns.
3. Maximizing Budget and Impression Share
Once you’ve set up effective branded campaigns and tested out the “maximize conversions” setting, it’s time to make the most of your advertising budget. Essentially, the better your ads are performing, the more impression share and budget they should be getting.
For example, with the client we just discussed, once I saw how the “maximize conversions” settings was affecting our conversion rate, I focused the client’s budget on the ads and keywords that were delivering the best results. As a result, the client’s campaigns started producing even more revenue because we were getting every possible conversion out of our ad spend.
Often, hotels and hotel chains have numerous high-performing keywords and ads that are only showing a small percentage of the time because their poor-performing ads and keywords are eating up most of their budget. By focusing your ad spend on what is working best, you can ensure that your most profitable ads are getting the majority of your money.
As I said before, each hotel AdWords campaign has it’s own set of unique challenges, but I’ve tried these three strategies with several clients and seen great results every time.
So, if you aren’t making the most of your branded terms, take things up a notch. If you are driving enough clicks and conversions to test “maximize conversions”, see how this setting will affect your account performance. And, if you want to get the most out of your campaign, identify your top ads and keywords and devote your budget to maximizing their impression share.
By the way, if you’d like me to take a look at your hotel AdWords account and give you some specific recommendations, let me know here or in the comments. I’d love to help!
Are there any tips or tricks for hotel AdWords campaigns that you’d add to this list? Leave them in the comments!
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