Blue Magnet Hotel Online Marketing Guide

Ask the Experts with PPC Guru Tyler Young

The landscape of digital marketing overwhelms many people with acronyms and jargon. The digital marketing industry evolves and creates new ways to market to potential guests. PPC (Pay Per Click) provides an innovative solution for our clients to target new guests. To answer questions our clients have had about PPC, I spoke with Blue Magnet’s resident PPC guru, Tyler Young.

What is PPC?

“PPC stands for pay-per-click. Most people associate this with the ads that they see when searching in Google; however, PPC campaigns can be found all across the web in a variety of outlets.”

Where do these ads display?

“Obviously you have the Google Search Network, where the ads appear in your Google search, but there are many more PPC outlets than meet the eye. Outlets such as the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Ad Exchange, for instance, offer amazing channels for all sorts of PPC campaigns.”
*Google defines the Display Network as “A group of more than 2 million websites, videos, and apps where your AdWords ads can appear.”

How does an ad get ranked #1?

“Ads are ranked based on several factors including keyword relevancy, expected click-through-rate, and landing page quality. Increasing your bid will not automatically increase your ranking if these criteria are lacking.”

What is Search Impressions Share?

“Search Impressions Share is the percentage of times your ad showed up versus the amount of times it was eligible to show up given your targeting parameters. This score is usually what tells us if we need to start targeting different keywords.”

What is an average Cost Per Click?

“To say there is an “average” would not really answer this too well. We are always trying to get the CPC down, spend more effectively, and convert higher. Different markets and hotels have different goals, budgets, and keywords, so it is impossible to say what an average would be.”

Would you recommend increasing bid or targeting long-tail keywords?

“It really depends because most long-tail keywords in the hotel industry do not have a lot of search volume. We target long-tail keywords in major markets, and whenever it makes sense to do so in smaller markets. In most cases, we use a modifier on keyword terms then keyword mine to find the sweet spot between the two.”

What is considered a conversion from an AdWords campaign?

“A conversion is logged after someone interacts with your ad (for example, clicks a text ad or views a video ad) and then takes an action that you have defined as valuable to your business, such as an online purchase or a call to your business from a mobile phone, clicking a button to check rates, or submitting a request for proposal.”

How are the keywords we chose to target decided?

“Depends on what the hotel wants to advertise and what our clients’ goals are. We target keywords that work in their favor for amenities such as pools, high-tech meeting spaces, or even being pet-friendly. If they are in a very niche location, we will use area attractions like convention centers or theme parks as a platform for our targeted keywords. We will target based on theme, attractions, and generic location niche.”

What services and platforms do we work with in PPC?

“Blue Magnet Interactive works with Google, Bing, Facebook, Yahoo, etc.”

How much should a hotel budget for PPC?

“Unfortunately, that question depends on the hotels end-goals and what they are looking to achieve. The competition of the market heavily influences the suggested price that you’re going to wind up paying for your ad. If you are in a destination market and under spending, you may be wasting money because your search impressions share will be so low to the point that you’re not showing up on the 1st page for paid results. It is very important to have a strong budget so you can find your place within the market.”

What is the biggest mistake that the hotels make running PPC?

“The biggest mistake is probably requesting irrelevant keywords. With giants in the industry like Hilton and Marriott, when keywords and phrases like the most common ‘hotels in *location*’ are targeted, the competition and price increases astronomically. This is why we do our research before running PPC. With the right keywords, phrases, and targeting, we can create a campaign that converts highly without breaking the client’s bank.”

After speaking with Tyler, we are left with the following takeaways about the world of PPC.

Google, among others, tries to be very transparent with where your money is going in your AdWords campaigns, but that is not to say they have a cut and dry “best practices” list for the travel industry when it comes to Search Network ads. What works in one location may not be competitive in another, and learning what works in your community for your hotel is invaluable.

Given the unique challenges the travel industry faces with brand.com websites and a hyper-competitive marketplace, having someone like Tyler is essential when traversing the pay-per-click landscape for hoteliers. PPC is growing every day, as can be seen by Bing’s recent change to only include six organic searches per page, and to dismiss PPC at this point means you are missing out on future bookings to competitors in your region. A proper PPC campaign can garner amazing results and level the playing field from massive OTAs and Brand.com websites to keep your hotel competitive in today’s digital market.