Three Hotel PPC Campaigns To Get You Up & Running


Alex Corral

Nov 17, 2016


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Search Engine Marketing

Hotel PPC campaigns can seem intimidating at first. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars if you're not careful. This is why so many people are wary of trying out Paid Search. Once you get the hang of it, you realize that there's potential for fantastic ROI. Below are a few tips to get your PPC account up and running. If you do not know what PPC means, you should read our previous post: A Quick Google Adwords Intro for Hoteliers

Attractions, e.g., Hotels Near, Hotel Near

You should know the ins and outs of your property. Where are all the local attractions located near your hotel? Is there anything that stands out? This is Hotel GM 101. Sit down with your front desk and ask them where they see most of the traffic coming from. Once you have a list of (at least) 10 places, you can start building solid hotel PPC campaigns. You should create a campaign and an ad group for each one of the attractions from the list you made. This will act as a good starting point for your other campaigns. It should look something like this:

Campaign > Ad Group > Keyword = Attractions > Universal Studios > Hotel Near Universal Studios, etc.

SKAG Campaigns

Within the list of 10 (or more) keywords that you choose, are there any outliers? Are there any that are performing better than the rest? If there are, then you should put them into single keyword ad groups (SKAGs).

Having control of your campaigns is one of the most significant components that will determine its success. This is why SKAG's are one of my favorite structures to use. If you have a keyword that you believe will do well, then you should put it into its ad group. This way, you can have the highest level of control over the customer journey. Only the most relevant customers will get chosen for the term that you have listed.

This helps to bring up your quality score. When you have a good quality score, your cost-per-click tends to go down. Some consider it a vanity metric, but if it saves precious spend, I'm all for it. If there's a chance that your keywords will work in PPC, then this is it. If they don't work, there must be other issues. You might need to rethink your messaging since it could be leading to poor performance. I like to throw in either an exact match or phrase match and a broad modified match for the keywords. The structure would look something like this:‍

Campaign > Ad Group > Keyword = SKAG’s > Hotel Near Universal Studios > “Hotel Near Universal Studios” & +Hotel Near +Universal +Studios

Branded Keywords

I once told myself that bidding on your brand was like throwing away money; boy was I wrong. This is one of the first campaigns that you should set up in your PPC accounts. It should give you the best ROAS.‍

Make sure that you're bidding on your name! You better believe that the OTA's and other competitors are bidding on it already.

If someone already knows your name, then you need to make it as easy as possible for them to make a reservation. The less friction, the better.

There's also another bonus. If you have a trademark, you have added protection from any other competitor trying to bid on your key terms.

Not adding a branded campaign would do your hotel a disservice. It's structured something like this:

Campaign > Ad Group > Keyword = E-Marketing Associates >Brand > E-Marketing Associates


Layer In Remarketing

Once you can get a customer over to your site, that's where the real magic happens. This is when you can start to use remarketing. I choose to create audiences in Google Analytics and then use them in Google AdWords; (make note that you have to link the two together and there may or may not be extra developer work needed).

Remarketing allows you to show users ads based on what actions they took on your site. Two primary audiences that I like to use are:

  1. Users who visited the site, but didn't make a transaction
  2. Users who completed a micro/macro goal on your website, i.e., checked out a special, filled out a form, etc.

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