As countries in different parts of the world begin to ease travel restrictions and governments start releasing their roadmaps for reopening businesses, we’re getting a better idea of how hoteliers can prepare for different stages of recovery. It’s a good period to reassess your hotel’s digital marketing strategy.
There are five things a savvy marketer can do to capture traffic and potential bookings as travel demand returns:
1. Optimize and automate your search engine marketing (SEM) to align with your property’s business goals
Re-calibrating your bid target using the bid strategy appropriate to your current business needs is key to a successful re-entry to the market.
Ask the question: What would make the value of an SEM click to your site greater than $0.00?
- Achieving a certain ROI?
- Meeting a specific revenue goal?
- Driving unique and returning traffic to your site?
- Getting your audience to convert?
- Capturing on-site interest with remarketing lists?
- Targeting site visitors with the right offers and messages when they are ready to book?
Once you’ve defined what advertising success will look like for your property during recovery, you can use those metrics to identify the right automated bidding strategies. Some of the automated bidding strategies you may consider are:
- Maximize conversions: Drive as many conversions possible within your set budget.
- Maximize conversion value: Maximize the total conversion value (such as the total value of converted bookings) of your campaign within your specified budget.
- Target return on ad spend (ROAS): Bid based on your target ROAS to get more conversion value or revenue at the target return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) you set.
The strategy you choose should align with your unique business goals and performance targets. For example, Maximize Conversions would be the best strategy if you want to drive as many conversions possible within a set budget but don’t have a set ROI goal.
Autobidding learns from conversion history across all your campaigns and uses this data to optimize bids for new, re-launched, or low volume campaigns in each auction. This can help you react more quickly to demand changes and benefit from higher click-through rates (CTRs) and lower cost-per-clicks (CPCs) due to a gap left in the search auction by those competitors who have not yet begun to restart or scale their campaigns.
As you consider using autobidding in relaunching activities, you can start with a lower bid to capture early signals on interest and returning volume and work your way up to ensure sustained profitability.
2. Use first-party data to target previous guests and loyal customers
Companies that deliver relevant content to consumers at multiple moments across the purchase journey see revenue increases of as much as 20% and cost savings of up to 30%.
Because this kind of data is unique to your business, it gives you clear insight into what your customers want:
- Identify audience behavior and interests from your dataset.
- Create audience profiles that can be included in your current strategy.
- Combine CRM audiences with Google signals to create customized segments.
For example: Use CRM data to identify guests who purchased a luxury spa treatment in your hotel and target ‘spa & beauty services’ with Google In-Market Audiences to remarket directly to customers currently looking for those services.
This data can also be used to reach previous and new guests and grow your customer base through remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), first-party lists like customer match, similar audience lists, and in-market audiences powered by advanced predictive machine learning.
This personalization builds better online experiences — resulting in more conversions, cost savings, and a higher return on investment.
3. Adapt your messaging and creative to emphasize cleanliness, flexibility, and empathy
Conduct a creative and website content review to ensure they reflect an empathetic tone: Creative that was effective six months ago may not be appropriate today.
When developing new ads and site or app experiences, evaluate whether your messaging is consistent across assets:
- Is this campaign message right, given the current context in a local market?
- Are all creative elements (such as tone, copy, visuals, keywords, and placements) appropriate and relevant to this new reality?
- What are the most relevant products or campaigns our media can support right now, and do we need to shift budgets?
- In what ways can our brand be helpful to people and businesses in this moment of need?
Reassure your audience with messaging that includes cancelation or rebooking policies, flexible payments, money-back guarantees, sanitation, and safety information.
4. Keep up with changing trends
Monitoring travel-specific emerging search query trends can help you identify new keyword opportunities to expand coverage and inform tactical decisions, for instance shifting budgets across channels and campaigns.
In addition to utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) and internal site and booking metrics, learn what’s top of mind for your customers, and discover how to adjust your ads to help meet their expectations.
To further explore curated insights about a popular topic, click one of the examples such as Coronavirus Search Trends under Latest Stories and Insights. You can also compare search terms and analyze how they are trending over time in different geographies and find rising topics or terms associated with a search. Learn more about how you use Google Trends to uncover customer needs that are less obvious.
5. Automate your ads
Don’t rely on a manual process to increase coverage across your key markets. Automating your ads is the best way to ensure they show against relevant queries as people start searching for hotels again:
- Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) quickly generate a clear, attractive headline that links to a relevant landing page on your site when potential guests search for terms closely related to titles and frequently used phrases on your website.
- Responsive Search Ads (RSA) adapt your ad’s content to match potential customers’ search terms more closely.
A shift to automated formats that deliver relevant creative will help you scale your advertising efforts where they are most successful and rapidly adjust to changes in your market demand to get the most out of your marketing dollar.
Flexibility is the key to success in recovery
As we learn what recovery looks like across different continents, countries, and cities, hoteliers need to be able to pivot quickly to the strategies that successfully generate bookings.
Working on these essential SEM tactics and building out automation can help you capitalize on early signs of recovery, get your hotel ready to capture demand as it begins to return, and continuously optimize to respond to the market.
About the author
Marta Styban, Senior Key Account Manager at Google, has been working with some of the largest global Travel brands for over 8 years now. In her current role at Google, she is partnering with Travel advertisers to ensure their digital marketing strategy delivers against their business goals.
TravelClick’s preferential partnership with Google gives our customers access to enterprise-level capabilities and expertise, proprietary partner data on your markets and audiences, and leading-edge beta products in travel and hospitality.
For more insights on hospitality recovery, read our eBook dedicated to this topic – Planning for Hospitality Recovery: Marketing. With insight from Amadeus experts, our partner HSMAI, and their advisory board of leaders from around the world, we’ve provided the insight you need and an action plan to make an impact.