Every hotelier inevitably runs into a period where bookings are lower than they would like for them to be. One popular strategy to help out during these need periods is paid media campaigns. Also known as paid ads or pay per click (PPC) ads, these campaigns allow hotels to put themselves in front of potential guests during the early stages of their decision-making process.
Whether your hotel decides to utilize these tools as a part of their targeted or foundational strategy, paid media can be largely beneficial in driving relevant traffic to your site and increasing bookings when executed properly. Below we will break down options available when it comes to paid advertising to help you decide which fits your hotel’s goals best.
What Exactly is Paid Media?
Paid media is digital advertisements used by businesses to attract people to their site/product/service. These ads operate in a pay-to-play model where you fund your ads against those of your competitors through bidding. These campaigns can be found on a variety of platforms including Google, Facebook, and OTAs. The goal of every ad is to convert online visitors into guests. A successful PPC campaign requires a careful setup and an understanding of important metrics. If you have that, then you have given yourself an advantage over your competition for online visibility. There are a variety of channels to choose from when creating these campaigns.
What are some popular paid ads for hotels?
Facebook is the most prominently used social media platform today. With over 2 billion users at the end of 2019, it is an absolute must for any business to have some kind of presence here. Chances are, most of your guests have a Facebook Page and certainly spend a significant amount of time using it. One of Facebook’s strengths when it comes to advertising is how efficient their targeting and retargeting is when running your campaign. Age, location, interests, and behavior can all be factored in when creating your ads. Ad options include regular posts, carousel ads, and videos. With a proper setup, Facebook can allow you to expertly target your market, drive traffic, boost brand awareness, and increase bookings. Not to mention, these ads can potentially show up on the timelines of thousands of users.
Another useful aspect of Facebook Ads is the ability to engage your audience. Through likes, comments, and shares, your brand has the capability of interacting with your audience. This, in turn, can increase the likelihood of conversion by showcasing your commitment to questions and comments.
Advertising On Instagram
Similar to Facebook, Instagram is an excellent platform for advertising. As the second most downloaded free app in the Apple store and with over 100 million users, Instagram is a must for any business. The platform has seemingly infinite ways of engaging users and interacting with any given market. Here is where your efforts should focus on high-quality content and online engagement just as much as your targeting.
Instagram offers 5 different methods of advertising:
- Ads via IG Story
- Photo ads
- Video ads
- Collection ads
- Carousel ads
Instagram’s features allow you to do various types of edits for your campaigns, meaning they appear less like advertisements and more like normal posts. Using filters, stickers, gifs, and other add-ons can improve engagement and branding, making your ads feel organic. For hotels, this means utilizing these features to showcase rooms, amenities, on-site restaurants, walk-throughs, and even local areas of interest for visitors. One popular tool for any hotelier is the Story feature, which allows you to use photos and video to maximize engagement while being as creative as you want.
Keep in mind, Instagram is owned by Facebook, meaning you can create ads that run on both platforms directly from the Facebook Ad Manager tool.
Google Ads allow hoteliers to place ads in various locations throughout a given search. This means that ads can appear for users who are doing a branded search using specific hotel names, a generic search for hotels in a given area, or even using Google Maps. Hotel ads allow you to display your hotel name, pricing, and even a unique callout for you to highlight any attractive features or amenities. Users on Google will see the hotel search module, where they can see up-to-date prices, photos, and a booking link along with a few other features.
Additionally, Google has a specific feature for hotels which allows them to bid for dynamic ads in Search, Maps, and/or the Assistant whenever a user searches for a hotel. These ads will appear in the hotel booking module, which displays room rates, hotel photos, amenities, and a booking link. Through Google Hotel Ads, users can set up a feed with prices and availability that can be updated at any given time—a form of metasearch ads within the Google platform.
Putting your hotel front and center of a user in their early search stages can have massive results, both in brand growth and booking, particularly on a platform like Google. A recent case study with IHG showed a 53% increase in traffic across their properties through Google Hotel Ads alone.
Another tool that has risen in popularity in recent years are metasearch ads. These are ads that are featured on price comparison sites such as Kayak, TripAdvisor, and Trivago, where hotel room prices are gathered from different online travel agencies and booking sites. Given their popularity among users searching for hotels, these platforms have proven to be useful for hoteliers who can now compete with larger travel companies, often with the ability to do direct bookings from said platforms. This not only levels the playing field for hotels but is certainly a convenience for users.
Deciding Which Option Is Best For Your Hotel
By now it should be clear that paid media can create many opportunities for your hotel when thoughtfully coordinated. Alongside web design and SEO, PPC is one of the most valuable tools at your disposal within digital marketing. Whether you decide to run a pay per click campaign to alleviate temporary booking pains or perhaps decide to make it a cornerstone of your overall digital strategy, Blue Magnet is here to help. For more information on how to get started with paid media campaigns and what they can do for you, get in touch with us.