Drive Brand-Level Hotel Bookings With Expedia TravelAds

Have you ever wished that your property would appear first when customers search for hotels in your area when using Expedia? Think of TravelAds as your own personal “Jeannie;” with a simple nod of your head and blink of an eye your hotel can be at the top of the results!  Alright, so maybe it’s not THAT simple, but I promise it takes minimal effort and time to create a TravelAds account that can unlock an ample amount of revenue-generating power for your hotel.

Why should you use TravelAds: To increase your visibility of course!

Recently, we discussed the billboard effects of hotel listings on OTAs, based on an article that was published by the Cornell Hospitality Report, entitled, “The Billboard Effect: Online Travel Agent Impact on Non-OTA on Non-OTA Reservation Volume.” Within the document, they discuss the value of hotel placement on an OTA.
Through their research, Cornell discovered:

  • Nearly 31% of consumers start their travel research using an OTA.
  • When hotels appeared on Expedia at the top of the first page, their average daily bookings increased from a low of 7.5% at a branded hotel to a high of 25% at the single independent hotel, as opposed to the days where they were not displayed on the OTA.
  • In total, the billboard effect was estimated at 20%
    • A hotel that receives 10% of its overall contribution from the OTAs also received another 10% in direct web bookings through their official brand website by being promoted on the OTAs.

Brian Ferguson from Expedia reinforced these finding explaining that 95% of Expedia bookings occur on the first page and 47% of those are in the top six spots.

The Breakdown

We know that, like most search engines, hotels benefit the most when they appear near the top of the first page. Ranking well organically on sites like Expedia can be difficult due to an algorithm that accounts for many factors–including each hotel’s margin, look-to-book ratio and inventory–that determine a hotel’s ranking on the page. By utilizing paid search, hotels can appear at the top of the search results in highly competitive markets without having to change its OTA strategy (increasing margins, lowering rates or increasing inventory). Because more consumers use OTAs as their research tool over any other method, hotels can’t afford not to be found. As they say, you can’t play the game if you aren’t even on the field.

Are Expedia TravelAds right for your hotel?

If you are wondering if TravelAds are a good idea for you to invest in, your answers to the following questions may provide some insight:

  • Are you organically ranking below the top 6 listings on the first page of Expedia within your market?
  • Do you have distressed inventory that you wish you could sell?
  • Would you like to appear at the beginning of a consumer’s search cycle?
  • Would you like your initiatives on an OTA to directly impact bookings on your official brand website?
  • Does your forecast predict periods of low demand?
  • Is your competitive set ranking above you organically in Expedia?
  • Do you want to be “top of mind” with your consumers?

How do TravelAds Work?

TravelAds operate under an auction model–a pay-per-click program that allows hotel partners the ability to create advertisements, control spend, monitor effectiveness and optimize campaigns.
Advertisements display on the top of each page as well as the bottom two slots of each page. Paid listings are tinted yellow, making your ad stand out while drawing additional attention. Whether these ads appear at the top or bottom of a page depends on how much you are willing to spend per click. Those hotels that are willing to pay a higher cost per click, will display higher in the rankings. If your hotel is listed on the 4th page but can’t afford to bid for the top listing due to budgetary constraints, appearing even at the bottom of the first page is very beneficial.

Getting Started

  • Choose a budget – Set the media spend (either weekly or daily) that you are willing to pay to target customers looking for hotels in your area.
  • Determine your maximum CPC – The amount you are willing to spend for a user to click on your advertisement.  Expedia will provide you with the recent market price which represents the highest amount paid for a bid in the past 7 days.
    • You can set your ads to run for different window periods depending on your need dates. For those of you with limited budgets, price your max CPC much lower than the market price. This will ensure that you are maximizing the number of clicks you receive due to budge restrictions. Depending on your competitor’s budget, you may appear in a higher ranking later in the day as their budget has been exhausted.
  • Write your ad copy
    • Your headline–which is 40 characters long–is used to promote the best feature of your hotel. If your customer only had time to read one sentence about your property, what would you use to sell yourself and highlight this feature or amenity.
    • The ad copy is used to describe other important features that are unique to your property. Keep in mind you are only allowed 130 characters in this section, so make the best of them!

Once you have completed all of these tasks, your ads will begin running. In the meantime, get your running shoes on because you’ll be running to the bank with the additional revenue generated from this initiative in no time.

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