In the past few years, there has been an upward trend of travelers booking online. Travelers gather all the information required for decision making from many different websites across different channels, platforms and devices like mobile, tablets, and personal computers. Therefore, it has become important to target this qualified online traffic for your property on different channels and devices. Also, your property has to compete with Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and competitor hotels.
With the ever-growing online advertising industry, it isn’t surprising that more and more travelers are using different channels when booking online.
To be on par with the latest trends in the industry, we at milestone are constantly innovating different strategies and analyzing different channels for advertising. Let’s understand different PPC channels we manage at Milestone:
- Search: Search based PPC is best for customers who know about the products or services you offer but may not know that your business offers those types of products or services. Search ads are targeted based on the keyword, user selects as their search query. Advertisers pay only when consumer clicks on your hotel ad. Cost per click (CPC) and position is determined by online bidding. Search generates maximum bookings and revenue.
- Channels: Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- Display: Ads appear based on themes in the keyword list or websites you target that are relevant to what you’re selling. Display campaigns shows ads to people that are likely to be interested. It is a very effective medium for branding your property, getting visibility and revenue and bookings.
- Channels: Google Display Network, Google Remarketing and YouTube.
- Social Media: Ads that are showing on social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Can target ads to certain demographic profiles & location. It helps drive traffic and increases brand awareness. You may also run promotions and target niche categories like weddings, meetings, events etc.
- Channels: Facebook, LinkedIn and Yelp
- Meta Search: Ads compares hotel pricing and availability across multiple vendor sites – Hotel finder, Trip Advisor, Kayak, Trivago etc. It shows rates and allows clicks to the direct site. It helps increase direct bookings bypassing OTA and OTA commission and thus increasing profitability.
- Channels: Tripadvisor and Hotelfinder
- OTA Ads: Ads appear as sponsored listings in the search results for a destination searched like Expedia & Hotels.com. Only pay when a customer clicks on your ad. Pay the regular commission for bookings generated. OTA’s dominate space with no chance for direct bookings for most hotels (even on their own pages).
- Channels: Expedia & Hotels.com
You may choose which channel is best for you based on your business goal. The funnel in the below image shows different PPC channels, that are important to meet each of your goal and get desired bookings and revenue.
At top of the funnel consumers are shopping around, looking at reviews on Yelp, comparing pricing on OTAs or watching videos about location or browsing a hotel fan page on Facebook. Most of the users here are comparison shoppers and in the research stage of buying cycle. So it is best to target these channels if you want to gain visibility amongst these users.
At the bottom of the funnel, users are mostly in decision making stage of buying cycle and know what they want to book. It is best to target these users to get maximum bookings and revenue.
If your goal is to achieve both bookings and gain visibility then you may divide your budget between search, meta search, display, and social media campaigns.
To create a successful online marketing campaign, define your goal, determine qualified users, allocate budget, and diversify strategy across channels.