Price Accuracy, Rate Parity, and Hotel Metasearch Conversions

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Price Accuracy Vs. Rate Parity

Price accuracy and rate parity are two of the most important factors to control when it comes to hotel metasearch. The two are not directly related but are often confused with one another, and both play a vital role in driving the most direct booking conversions. Price accuracy refers to ensuring that the rates displayed in the metasearch channel reflect the real rates in your booking engine. Rate parity refers to how often you are being undercut on rates by OTAs selling your rooms through their sites.

Price Accuracy

Did you know that price accuracy improves your metasearch conversion? Did you know it can actually lead to increased costs, higher CPCs, and less visibility if your prices aren’t accurately reflected in your booking engine? In fact, Google says your price accuracy score affects the auction positioning and advertising cost of your Google Hotel Ads metasearch listings. Ensure price accuracy while improving your conversion rate with these simple booking engine best practices:

  • Publish your BAR rate - Don’t get undercut by the OTAs in the listings. Make sure you always offer potential guests the best available rates.
  • Ensure your lowest rate is listed first - Google’s policies indicate your rate should be prominently displayed on your booking engine landing page and that the lowest rate (the rate shown in Google Hotel Ads) be the first listed rate available. It also helps ensure a smooth customer journey when the first price listed is the price they see in your booking engine.
  • Add any and all public promotions to your channeled metasearch rate/inventory feed - If you offer deals and discounts that the OTAs can’t match, listing those rates on your metasearch channels will give a greater incentive for guests to book direct.
  • Be thoughtful about how many rate types you display on your booking engine page - Guests may be overwhelmed if there are too many rates available on your landing page. The goal should be to decrease friction at all points in the booking process.
  • Use understandable language -  Communication is always key. Make sure any callouts or text in ads are compelling and concise. Language on the landing page should match your Brand voice and be easy to read.

Rate Parity

Rate parity can have a massive impact on your conversion rates for hotel metasearch, but what is it exactly? In short, rate parity means ensuring you aren’t being undercut on the best available rate. Below is an example of a hotel experiencing rate parity issue; notice how Priceline and TripAdvisor both offer rates lower than the official site.

  • Always be the best - OTAs are always looking for ways to beat your official site rates, trying to steal your direct bookings. Because metasearch interaction and conversion rates are driven so heavily by price, it’s vital that you offer the lowest rate.
  • Monitor your listings - It’s important to be aware of how often your rates are not the lowest rates being displayed. Hotels with higher instances of being out of rate parity consistently have lower performance than those whose rates are in line.
  • Have a strategy - A rate parity strategy is a set of policies that work together to ensure that your prices stay in parity. It may seem trivial to focus on rate parity, but it has an outsized impact on your conversion rate.

Rate parity is one of the most essential ways to increase your CTRs and conversions, while lowering your CPCs and increasing spend efficiency. After all, if your customers can get a better rate somewhere else, why wouldn’t they?
We specialize in improving your metasearch conversions. Reach out to our hotel metasearch experts today at https://metadesk.pro/sign-up/

Hotel Metasearch Bid Modifications You Should Be Making

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As the online travel industry grows, so does the need for metasearch optimization tools. Search engines have become increasingly complex, and there are now more players in the market than ever before. As such, you may find yourself faced with a new challenge: how to optimize your metasearch campaigns in an increasingly competitive landscape. Although we cannot bid on specific dates, there are many ways to update and customize your bids for prime optimization.

In-Market Audiences

In-Market Audiences are a useful bid modifier that can be used to target people who are looking to travel soon. This bid modifier could be combined with other modifiers, like device targeting, to get even more granular with your audience targeting.

In-Market Audiences also allows you to target people who have already shown interest in travel plans so that you’re not paying for impressions that are less likely to result in conversions.

OTA Bid Modifiers

OTA bid modifiers are a way to increase or decrease your bid on a particular site like TripAdvisor, Google Hotel Ads, Trivago, etc.. This can be useful for ensuring the highest visibility on the channels that are most likely to convert for your brand. Alternatively, you can decrease the amount you’re willing to bid (or not bid at all) on channels that have a track record of lower performance. Travel metasearch optimization is all about getting the most bang for your buck while still maintaining your presence throughout the customer journey. 

Check-in Day Modifiers

Since hotels are not able to bid on specific check-in dates, the next best way to fill need periods is by adjusting your bids for particular check-in days of the week. Have strong weekend occupancy but are somewhat soft in mid-week? Increase your bids for check-ins Monday through Thursday and decrease bids for Friday through Sunday. This will allow you to be present for more searches where you need the bookings and avoid spending unnecessarily when you’re already full.

Hotel Metasearch Management Best Practices

There are some basic best practices that should be followed when managing a metasearch campaign:

  • Optimize your campaigns. There's a lot of room for improvement in terms of how many impressions each campaign is getting compared to others in the network, as well as where those impressions are being served (geographically).
  • Use in-market audiences. These are audience segments based on consumers who have recently searched for products similar to yours, so they're more likely than non-qualified searchers who didn't find what they were looking for before coming across yours on the next page down (or wherever else!). This can help get better results at lower CPCs because people have already shown an interest in what you offer by searching for travel or hotels. This means there's less risk involved since they've already expressed their intention towards booking travel previously in their research.
  • Adjust your bids for Check-in day, Length of stay, and/or Days to arrival. If you’re looking to encourage bookings for specific periods, the easiest way to have an impact is by increasing your bids for these variables. 
There are many ways to update and customize your metasearch bid for prime optimization. 
Although we cannot bid on specific dates, we can utilize in-market audiences and other bid adjustments to ensure the highest visibility with guests that are the most likely to book. It’s important to own the space for searches with the highest value to your business.

We hope this article has helped you understand how to better optimize your metasearch bid. There are a few more tips we didn’t mention here, but if you would like to learn more about optimizing your metasearch bids, then please contact us at https://metadesk.pro/sign-up/

How To Find Your Hotel’s Target Audience

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It can be challenging to determine who you should market to in order to have the most success. It's essential to understand the demographics of the guests who visit your hotel, the location and amenities you offer, the experiences you provide, and the local scene where your hotel is situated. All of these factors can contribute to identifying your target audience and the best ways to message to them. In this article, we will share some tips on finding your hotel's target audience and advertising to the right customers effectively.

  1. Start With Your Hotel's Current Guests

What kind of demographics stay at your hotel? Young or older people? Families? Is your hotel budget-friendly or more upscale? Where is it located? Does the location have any unique attractions? These are some questions to ask yourself to identify your hotel's target audience. When creating ads, you can leverage the local attractions and activities to make your hotel more appealing to these potential vacationers. 

  1. Utilize Facebook's Detailed Targeting Feature

Facebook has a feature within the Ads Manager called detailed targeting. Here you can add demographics of the kind of people you want to stay at your hotel. This can include activities, travel preferences, hobbies, interests, demographics, and behaviors. There are many options to choose from that can help you target people that would have an interest in staying at your hotel. 

Another platform with a similar feature is DV360's affinity audiences and in-market audiences. Affinity audiences are based on people's interests and behaviors. In-Market audiences, on the other hand, are those who are close to making a purchase. They are actively comparing products or services within a specific category to make a final decision. These are great audiences to test to find the right customer for your hotel based on their purchasing behavior and interests. 

Pro Tip: What are common activities that are done in your location? Are you by the beach? You can use detailed targeting for activities like snorkeling, boating, kayaking, etc. 

  1. Incorporate Adara Audiences

Adara Travel Audiences are a great way to find your customers. The audiences are created using search, purchase, and loyalty data directly from top travel brands such as airlines, hotels, and rental car companies. You can also use demographic and behavior data within the platform. These audiences are great in helping you boost engagement and drive growth. Adara is also great at getting a real niche with your brand, whether you are luxury, adventure, or budget-friendly. These audiences are suitable for every hotel.

  1. Use Geo-targeting

The geography feature is a great tool to use to really narrow down your audience. Where are you located? Where do visitors come from? You can also use surrounding cities as target geographic areas. The geographic targeting feature allows you to narrow down even further with a radius of 10-50 miles and the ability to use zip codes. Test out different areas and see where the most engagement comes from, or utilize Google Analytics to find the top feeder markets for your current guests. Many people enjoy staycations, and that could be worth testing with a local radius geographic audience.

  1. Identify Local Experiences For Your Customers

Many people look for a hotel that is close to local attractions, the downtown area, or other well-known destinations. What is something special your hotel can offer? Is your area known for something unique? You can use these to your advantage when narrowing down your target audience. Knowing what kinds of people enjoy these activities can help you find the right people that will stay at your hotel and have a great experience. 

  1. Focus On Interests Specific To Your Hotel's On-Site Amenities

Does your hotel have any exceptional amenities that customers gravitate towards? It could be a restaurant with delicious cuisine, a rooftop bar with specialty drinks, or a spa featuring massages or facials. Many people do staycations that would benefit from these hotel amenities. Amenities are a great way to find new customers with a specific hotel experience or just for a quick getaway. 

Understanding your target audience is vital to ensure the success of your hotel's marketing campaigns. By knowing your current customer base, utilizing detailed targeting, Adara audiences, geos, vacation experiences, and on-site amenities, you can effectively advertise to the right customers. Remember to continuously analyze and adjust your strategies to ensure that you reach the right audience and provide them with the best experience possible. 

These tips will help you find and target your hotel's ideal audience and, ultimately, drive growth for your hotel business. Reach out to us today to learn more about finding your audience!

Hotel Metasearch Channels Overview

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Overwhelmed with all the different metasearch options? Check out this quick-start guide to determine the best option for your hotel. 

Hotel Metasearch Providers: 

Google Hotel Ads

The king of metasearch for a reason. They dominate in terms of impressions, ease of access, and, therefore, reservation volume. That also means lots of competition, with often the highest CPCs of any channel. However, this should still be your top priority channel since you would be missing out on visibility on the most used search engine in the world.

TripAdvisor

#2 to Google for impression volume and conversions. TripAdvisor can be a great branding tool for destinations or activity-centric markets, especially if your property is geographically advantaged. While this channel may not have the visibility of Google Hotel Ads, impressions tend to be highly qualified since many people using TripAdvisor are in the active planning stages of their booking.

Bing

Great performance in terms of return on ad spend, but we often see low impression volume. They only capture a small fraction of the impression share Google receives. Bing can still be a great booster to your bottom line and should be included as one of your top 3 channels.

Kayak

Kayak offers the ability to book not just hotels but also flights, rental cars, full vacation packages, and even trains and buses. With so many options, many travelers use Kayak as a one-stop shop for their travel booking, making it our recommendation for your next metasearch channel.

Trivago

Trivago aggregates multiple OTAs into 1 channel, including booking.com, Expedia, Priceline and more. Volume tends to be lower, but CPC also tend to follow. Another great option is to help drive the direct booking and cut out the OTAs if you’re present during a search.

SkyScanner

Another great direct booking tool, SkyScanner is designed as a travel search engine with the intent of cutting out the OTA. Conversions rates are fairly low in our experience, but increasing brand awareness can never be discounted.

This metasearch channel is mostly popular in the UK/European travel market. 

WeGo

Headquartered in Singapore, WeGo is particularly important if you are focused on driving visibility and bookings from Asia and the Middle East. Another aggregator, WeGo, can drive bookings to the OTAs if you don’t have a presence to encourage direct bookings.

Takeaway

Google Hotel Ads is the number one channel you should be participating in for hotel metasearch as their reach and visibility are unmatched. TripAdvisor should be your second top priority as they tend to have the highest conversion rates outside of Google and good volume. If you have the budget or are dedicated to having the greatest visibility, It’s best to participate in a variety of channels and continually monitor performance to see which channel works best for your market and/or property. After all, why limit your hotel’s visibility when you can build brand awareness and drive direct bookings all at the same time?

If you need assistance in deciding what metasearch channels are best for you, let the experts at Metadesk help you.

Hotel Deals On Paid Search: Sitelink vs. Promo Extensions

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Limited-time offers are essential to any hotel marketing strategy, but promoting them can be complicated. There are so many options that it can be challenging to find the best approach, especially when it comes to paid search. 

This is especially true when it comes to Google Ads extensions. GCommerce has seen great success with both sitelinks and promotions for hotel deals, but we have yet to crown one extension type as superior. So let’s figure it out once and for all - Are sitelink or promotion extensions better for promoting limited-time hotel deals?

Our Google Ads Optimization Test

This test compared the efficacy of sitelink and promotion extensions when marketing limited-time hotel deals. If you’re unfamiliar with these extension types, see our full guide on Google Ads extensions for background on their format, strengths, and limitations.

We gathered data from 13 deals across Google Ads accounts for 9 boutique hotels in the United States. The content of each deal varied, covering percent discounts, convenience packages, unique experiences, and more. 

Each of the 13 deals ranged from a few days to a few months in length, taking place at various times throughout the year. For each individual offer, though, sitelink and promotion extensions ran simultaneously for the duration of the deal. 

All extensions were added to both Brand and Market (non-Brand) Terms campaigns using single keyword ad groups. In addition, each hotel’s Google Ads account also ran non-deal extensions during the test period, though competition with other extensions was fairly even between sitelinks and promotions.

The Results

This chart combines data from all 13 hotel deals. 

When combined, promotion extensions outperform sitelinks in all but cost per conversion and conversion rate. 

This is also supported when looking at results by individual deal. In this chart, the listed extension type performed better for a given Key Performance Indicator (KPI), with “Tie” indicating that the difference between extensions types was less than 5%.

In both cases, promotion extensions are the clear winner for most KPIs. They offer higher awareness, better CTR, and more total interactions than sitelink extensions. 

However, sitelinks do edge out promotions in conversion rate and cost per conversion, which is something to consider. If your hotel is running on a limited budget and values conversions over clicks, sitelinks may be the better option. 

Takeaways

Promotion extensions are great at driving awareness for hotel deals and should be incorporated into your hotel’s marketing strategy. They’re a valuable Google Ads optimization tool, and adding them to your hotel’s campaigns is a great way to reach future guests.

However, this test also proves the value of sitelink extensions. They’re never too far behind promotion extensions in terms of performance and do have the edge when it comes to conversion efficiency. There’s also something to be said for their unique extension properties, such as the ability to add a description with more details on a hotel deal. 

When possible, we highly suggest using both sitelink and promotion extensions to market hotel deals. They both add value to an account, especially for hotels with multiple priority KPIs. A good mix of extensions will create a good mix of results, making a diverse optimization strategy the most effective.

For more hotel marketing tips, check out the rest of our digital marketing blog.

FAQs for the Hotel Digital Marketer

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We've compiled answers to the most commonly asked questions related to hotel digital marketing in our most recent blog. Whether you're a fellow digital marketer or a hotelier, this list of FAQs will be one that you should bookmark for a later date.

General Hotel Marketing FAQs

Why is booking direct better than letting the OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) do all the work? 

Competing against the OTAs can be a daunting task with their multi-million-dollar budgets, loyalty programs, and great online booking experience, but for all hotels, it is worth the fight. When a guest books through the OTA, not only do you pay a fee upwards of 25% commission, the hotel only has access to a limited amount of data on the guest. So unless you have a front desk that collects email addresses 100% of the time, you lose the ability to truly own the guests’ data and the ability to remarket to them in the future. 

"Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%." 

Are hotel loyalty programs important? 

Hotel loyalty programs can definitely play a role in driving conversion. They should be introduced during the booking process and in remarketing to past guests. The loyalty program needs to provide a benefit to joining that means something to the guest such as earning a free night stay or amenities like free breakfast. Providing a loyalty program such as GuestBook or Stash helps hotels compete against the OTAs that have strong loyalty programs. In fact, we've seen clients convert 10% more when they have a loyalty program. 

What is a bounce rate on a hotel’s website? 

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who visit the hotel’s website site and then immediately exit without further engaging, or triggering a second request on the site. While we don’t have a “magic percent” that all clients should be hitting, you do want to continually work to make that bounce rate as low as possible.

Does call tracking matter for hotel marketing?

Even in today's digital age there are many times when a customer still prefers to call a business to engage, ask questions, and ultimately book. We see this most often with more complicated or expensive products and it's true no matter what kind of hotel you are. If you don't have call tracking, such as through Navis CRM, you'll be missing out on valuable conversion data that gives a deeper understanding of campaign performance. We've had properties show no online booked revenue through a campaign but thousands in revenue booked over the phone. If you're only able to make decisions based on online booked revenue, you could be missing valuable data that shows the full performance of your hotel’s marketing campaigns.

What is the most important KPI (Key Performance Indicator) by channel for hotel marketing? 

It depends on what your objectives are for each hotel marketing campaign. If you're running a branded paid search campaign, you'll be more interested in conversions and ROAS vs an awareness campaign on Facebook where you’d want to pay more attention to impressions and reach. Campaigns aimed at driving more traffic to the site would want to focus on improving outbound clicks and click-through-rate while lead generation campaigns would measure success by number of leads submitted. KPIs are very subjective, but it’s also important to be seeing the whole picture when measuring success.

How do you define a performance KPI for different types of hotels and marketing channels? Do travel industry benchmarks matter? 

KPIs should measure value to evaluate success across all marketing channels for the hotel. They should be both:

  • Quantifiable Metrics - ones that are representative of the goals of your organization. For hotels, this is often Reservations, RFP Submissions, Newsletter Signups, or Membership Additions, but there can be other, supporting KPIs as well.
  • Leading Indicators - these are useful in marketing as it can show time and effort associated with a certain impact. Perhaps people that spend several minutes on a page that contains an RFP form or people that abandon during the booking process.

KPIs should avoid measurements that you are unable to impact. A good rule of thumb is that if you are unable to change it, then it should not be a KPI.

Like many other goals, KPIs should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART). Examples of KPIs and Supporting KPIs could be: Impressions, Followers, Engagement, Delivery Rate, Referrals Gained, Engagement, Site Visits, CTR, Open Rate, Bounce Rate, Conversions, Content Shares, Cost per Acquisition and Revenue.  

Why do direct booking tools help hotel website conversion rates? 

You can have the best hotel marketing campaigns in the industry, but if you're sending traffic to a site that doesn't convert then your performance is going to be dismal. Your website is your online storefront and you should be testing functionality to help increase conversion rate. Direct booking tools like The Hotels Network offer a great way to incorporate new features, personalization, and conversion rate optimization tactics to help drive better conversion rates on your hotel’s website.

Different attribution models - why is position based better than last click? What is the best attribution model for hotel marketing campaigns? Why is it important to look at data through different attribution models? 

If we think about a user that interacts with multiple platforms prior to booking (Display, Video, Facebook, Paid Search, Organic, Direct, etc.), how do we attribute revenue? In other words, which channel should get credit for the booking? If we only choose one, then we are essentially saying that a single source of traffic gets all the credit and the others are not as valuable.

Each platform needs to have its own attribution model in order to accurately describe how users are interacting with that source prior to booking. Attribution models often reflect where in the booking funnel a user is targeted and the relative success of that targeting. This becomes especially important as we use 3rd party automation tools in Display, Social Advertising, Video Advertising and Paid Search in order to automate bids, budgets and targeting for our potential audience. An attribution model that best analyzes the entirety of a users interaction through a specific traffic source is often most efficient when paired with automated tools.

A good highlight for us is the Default Position-Based Model that we use for Paid Search. Almost all of our accounts are targeting both Brand (bidding on your own name/brand terms) and Non-Brand (bidding on terms that are not associated with your name/brand). The Default Position-Based Model is as follows:

  • 40% of Revenue is attributed to the first click
  • 40% of Revenue is attributed to the last click
  • 20% of Revenue is split between all other interactions as measured by the system

If we were to only use a last click attribution model, the model would attribute more Revenue to the last clicks before booking, which are generally Brand Terms. As Brand Terms typically have lower search volume and lower CPC, we generally have difficulty spending our entire budget. We also are not representative to people who are searching in the market outside of the Brand Terms and overall Revenue typically decreases since we aren't growing our market share to potential new customers.

Using only a first click interaction has an opposite impact; we typically spend our budget very quickly, we are less representative to people who are searching for your specific brand, and we have a similar impact of overall Revenue declining as we are not representative to the people who are more likely to reserve through a Brand Term.

We find the best balance with a Default Attribution Model where we are targeting people at the top of the funnel, outside of Brand Terms, while also allowing for Revenue to be equally attributed to the bottom of the funnel where people are more likely to book. For this reason, we have found the best results in using this attribution model for Paid Search.

Each advertising platform uses a unique attribution model specific to that source in the hopes of best targeting the entirety of the funnel that users might be experiencing prior to making a reservation.

Hotel Digital Marketing FAQs

How often should I change our hotel’s display advertising creative? 

We recommend changing your hotel’s display advertising creative quarterly (every 90 days). This will ensure that our ad platforms have enough time to optimize your ads while also preventing what is called "ad fatigue." Ad fatigue happens when users are used to seeing the same ads over and over and thus stop engaging with them. Even a simple image change or text update would do the trick if the content or offer needs to stay the same. When it comes to the minimum amount of time ads can run we suggest two weeks to a month, as it could take two weeks for the ads to optimize and for us to have any sufficient data.

How often should I change our hotel’s  Facebook advertising campaign?

Similar to display advertising, we recommend that new Facebook campaigns go through a 90-day flight. This gives Facebook enough time to finish the "learning process" and really optimize the ads. The learning process is important because Facebook will analyze performance over the select period of time and then use its machine-learning functionality to better serve your ads to the correct audience.

Existing Facebook campaigns that go through ad refreshes or new ad creation should run for at least two weeks to a month. Short promotions or flash sales can be better utilized with the "offer" functionality in the adset level.

How can you show a return for our hotel’s prospecting (brand awareness) campaign? 

The best way to show a return for your hotel’s prospecting campaign is to run it alongside retargeting. Although you won't see the revenue being attributed directly to prospecting, you will know that those campaigns bring in the audience who will eventually book through retargeting ads.

Alternatively you could use more niche targeting (using keywords on display rather than geo-targeting or narrowing your audience by interests and demographics on Facebook).

The important thing to remember is that hotel prospecting or brand awareness marketing campaigns are not meant to show a return. They are meant to bring in new audiences to the booking funnel which works directly with your retargeting campaigns to provide a return.

Why is video advertising important for hotels?

Video advertising is important for hotels for a number of reasons, but mainly because it's THE trend in the digital marketplace right now. Display platforms and Facebook prioritize video ads over regular images and it's proven to provide more user engagement and higher ad recall rates. 

Why is email marketing important for hotels?

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing for hotels is not dead, but rather one of the best channels for directly engaging with your present and past customers. In fact, on average email returns $44 for every $1 spent. 92% of adults use email so if you aren't sending segmented and relevant emails to your lists then you are missing out on some serious revenue. Learn more about email marketing today! 

Hotel Paid Search FAQs

Why is hotel metasearch important? 

Google's domination of the search engine market share and hyper-focus on expanding its travel planning products, including hotel search, means that hotels need to optimize their exposure in this area to capture people throughout the consumer buyer journey. Optimizing your GMB listing, increasing and responding to guest reviews, and metasearch all have a great impact on exposure here. The OTAs are present and competitive on metasearch and your hotel needs to be to if they want to capture more direct bookings.

Why do I need to pay for my hotel’s own name in paid search terms? 

There are many reasons proven to support purchasing your hotel’s branded name terms within paid search. Here’s a list of the top ones:

  • Control the top position of search results for your brand
  • Be more in control of the messaging that your potential visitors might see
  • Provide users with more information through ad extensions
  • Possibly minimize negative content impacts such as poor reviews
  • Better highlight promotions, specific landing pages or need periods through extensions
  • Be present on more of the "real estate" of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) for your brand terms by appearing both in paid results and organic, this has shown to have an impact on overall (paid plus organic) traffic and revenue
  • Increase your CTR - "89% of traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks" 
  • Take opportunities away from your competitors and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
  • Increase your PPC Account performance and overall quality score
  • Brand Name bidding is relatively cheaper than other forms of referral traffic, like OTA's, which might take as much as 30% of the final purchase
  • Users searching for your brand are often your most qualified audiences, helping to possibly uncover new customer segments
  • Can help with poor performance through organic, often getting a site to rank well organically is a more long-term strategy while branded PPC bidding can be a faster strategy to gain exposure in the SERP

Should I run a hotel paid search campaign targeting a competitor?

"Conquest" or competitor paid search campaigns for hotels can be a great tool to gain exposure to consumers who are already interested in a similar brand or product. These can be a great tactic for new hotels entering a market that need to grow their brand voice among consumers already looking to travel to the area. Conversely, these competitor campaigns are targeting branded keywords of other hotels so it is likely that people searching for these keywords have already done a lot of research and decided they want to stay at that particular hotel, so the chances of swaying them to book at your hotel are slim. 

If you do decide to target these keywords, we recommend not using the competitor's name in the ad copy but instead focus on key competitive advantages and present reasons why they should stay at your hotel instead. Historically, we do not see high ROAS for these campaigns. Success should be directed at awareness metrics such as impressions.

Hotel Website Development FAQs

What makes a good hotel booking engine?

First and foremost, a good hotel booking engine needs to be mobile-friendly. The hotel’s booking engine also needs to have the same look and feel as the hotel website so that once the guest is in the booking engine, they do not notice that they are on a new website. It should also be easy for a user to get back to the main website. Booking engines should also have high-resolution room images and the ability to easily book and access packages.

Why do hotel websites break? 

Hotel websites generally break for one of three reasons:

  1. A software update goes wrong. Sometimes it's the software sitting on your server (WordPress, a plugin, etc.) and sometimes it's the server software itself (PHP, Apache, etc.). Generally, someone clicked on an upgrade button and boom, the site breaks.
  2. A user breaks something important in the CMS. An accidental file deletion, removal of a critical plugin, or the wrong settings in a plugin can all cause a site to crash and fail.
  3. A bill goes unpaid. A lot of different pieces work together to keep a website working, from keeping the domain name registered to making sure the hosting account is paid. As employees and owners change over time, occasionally the person with the right access to the right service leaves, then when the time comes to pay the relevant fee, no one can get in to pay it. In the worst-case scenario, you might even lose control of your site completely!

Clearly there are many other factors involved, but over the years these are the most common reasons hotel websites break.

Why does hotel website tracking break? 

In our experience, the number one issue that tends to reliably break or disrupt our hotel’s tracking configuration is site updates with no notification to your analytics implementation staff. Often when enterprises are updating a hotel’s website, they're so concerned with how it will look and function as a front-facing product that they either forget to notify their analytics staff, don't think that the changes will have any effect on tracking, or in the case of full rebuilds forget to carry over key elements of tracking all-together. These can and do derail tracking on just about every level and can be easily avoided.

The second most common issue is not providing analytics staff with access to a testing area leading up to when major site changes do occur and then depending on them to change things on the fly as problems present themselves. Depending on the complexity of the hotel’s website, it can take weeks or even months to determine how your tracking platform interacts with a site update so running tests and QA measures should be exercised when pushing major site updates. This issue is less obvious and requires a more significant commitment but making that transition smooth goes a long way towards assuring that tracking is consistent.

Hotel Digital Marketing Acronym Translator

There are many different acronyms to try to keep straight between the hotel industry and the digital marketing industry. Here’s a quick reference guide to the most frequently used ones. 

CTR: Click-Through Rate

CPM: Cost Per Thousand

CPC: Cost Per Click

CPA: Cost Per Acquisition

CPL: Cost Per Lead

CPE: Cost Per Engagement

ROAS: Return on Ad Spend

CTA: Call To Action

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

SEM: Search Engine Marketing

UX: User Experience

CMS: Content Management System

CRM: Customer Relationship Management

GA: Google Analytics

PPC: Pay Per Click

SERPS: Search Engine Result Pages

Do you have a question we missed or do you need more information about any of the topics above? Submit an inquiry and reach out to GCommerce today! 

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