Over the last two years, many independent luxury hotels have approached us with a similar issue. Despite all their online marketing activities and efforts to increase traffic to their hotel website, the number of visitors have been dropping.
While the hotel’s per session value (PSV) may remain relatively stable (due to loyal customers coming to the website to book directly), however constant decrease in website traffic is unsustainable and online revenue will not only fail to grow, but will decline.
In this blog, we will look at reasons why your hotel's organic traffic might be dropping and how pay per click (PPC) advertising can help your hotel counteract this trend.
PPC advertising should play an essential role in any strategy to reverse organic traffic decline. Not only does a brand PPC campaign drive traffic to your website, but it can convert browsers into bookers.
Let's recap the benefits of PPC advertising as part of your hotel's online marketing strategy:
- Provides higher click through rates (CTR) than organic listings
- Protects your brand's visibility
- Generates better quality of traffic
- Gets better conversion than organic listings
- Allows your hotel to compete effectively with OTAs
- Provides greater return on investment (ROI)
As the search landscape continuously evolves, several factors have led to a noticeable drop in organic (non paid) traffic for many hotels:
- Redesign of the Google results page
- Updates in Google’s search algorithm
- Changes in how users research and book hotels
- Shifts in device traffic
While these updates provide a challenge to keep your hotel's name in prime position on the search pages, it also offers an opportunity to open up a new revenue channel on mobile devices.
Undoubtedly, Google is making paid search progressively more important and online advertising budgets need to reflect this. The great news is that when PPC campaigns are run effectively, they can provide excellent results for website traffic growth and direct revenue increase.
When you run a brand PPC campaign, you are paying an advertiser (usually Google) to place a listing for your hotel when customers search for certain keywords containing your hotel's brand name. Does it make sense to pay for an ad when you are already top of the organic search results for your own brand name? Absolutely! As this study shows, conversion rates can be more than four times greater for PPC ads compared to organic search results.
Unique to the hospitality industry, that there is often a competitor bidding on the hotel's brand name, usually one of the OTAs. To counteract this strategy is another compelling reason to bid for your hotel's brand name.
This screenshot above shows the SERP from a hotel brand search where two competitors are bidding on the hotel's brand keyword. However, as the hotel has an effective brand PPC campaign running, their own paid listing is positioned first.
The ad also enables the hotel to dominate the SERP with paid advertising and its own organic listing. Furthermore, as this report demonstrates
, when a paid ad is aligned with a well-optimised organic listing, it creates a synergy which:
- Increases clicks on the paid ad
- Increases clicks on the organic listing
- Reduces the overall ad spend
Dominating the real estate on the search engine page is even more important on mobile devices, where generally there is only room for one ad on the first page. Take this example of a mobile search result where the hotel’s ad takes up the entire screen. Other ads can only be accessed by scrolling and the organic listing is unlikely to play a role.
A well-designed ad allows you to control your brand message and send traffic to more relevant landing pages. For example, customers can be directed to a special offers page or rooms section that are optimised for conversion. By using A/B testing, these landing pages can be amended to drive even better results.
These reasons have demonstrated that advantages of brand PPC campaigns:
- Produces higher CTR than organic listing
- Simultaneously increases the CTR on organic listings
- Increases conversion rate
- Protects the hotel's brand from OTA competition
The numbers speak for themselves. Across all our hotels brand advertising, the average ROAS is 21:1. (The return on a campaign is measured by return on ad spend, also known as ROAS.) For every €1 spent, hotels get €21 back in direct website revenue.
Should your hotel start running PPC campaigns? When spent at the right place at the right time, the answer is a resounding yes.
As an experienced PPC agency specialised in hospitality marketing, we are here to help you. If you want to generate more direct bookings for your hotel, contact us today.