What is the key for driving your direct hotel sales in Google Ads?

Do not limit your hotel brand impressions and fight for your ad position.

According to Google and its recent studies 20% of direct sales come from users who found the hotel on an OTA and then landed on your website. But there is still 80% left. These users are searching for your hotel on search engines and more than 90% of them will use Google so at this very moment it is absolutely essential that your Google Ads campaign triggers your brand search term and we get the booker landing on your website. Especially with the latest changes in Google’s algorithms that focus heavily on users and their online behaviour such as shopping intention and likelihood of converting, we try to position your hotel among top page results 24/7.

But, let’s not fool ourselves that it is all that easy. Third parties are bidding on your property’s branded keywords and phrases to drive potential bookers to their site, rather than yours, to book. As OTA’s spend more and more on Google Ads, chances are, there’s an OTA already bidding on your name in order to sell your guest back to you for a commission. OTA’s are basically taking advantage of your brand, occupying your Ad Space that causes loss of thousand brand impressions.

If you are losing impressions due to low budget or poor optimization, your ad is not showing throughout the day. Lost impressions mean lost sales, once lost, they are hard to recover. This situation results in your hotel to not only losing direct bookings but mainly to own the guest relationship and to work onward on your customer.

Talking about bookings being lost, Roiback Digital internal stats show that Google Ads search branding campaigns result into average of 25% share on direct channel bookings. Certain hotels reaching numbers up to 50% with CPA (cost per acquisition) way beneath the OTA’s commission. These are the facts and lethal numbers for boosting your direct channel.

How to face the tough competition on SEA (Search Engine Advertising? )

Hotels all over the world joined by Roiback and its direct channel solutions are pushing forward awareness campaigns to fight OTA’s back and the same logic applies in search engine marketing field. Even though sometimes it is hard to deny OTA’s technological superiority and sky high SEA investments, there are ways to face it. Roiback Digital team became a Google Premium Partner and with that quality standards we always insist on 3 key tips to be correctly implemented. Together with our superior UX (user experience) solutions on any device and wide exposure due to SEM campaigns we turn direct channel into highly profitable sales source helping our partners to reduce dependency on OTAs.

1. Keep an eye on your Impression Share metric. 

The number of impressions you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive but that you have lost. Pull up your Auction Insights Report and get to know your competitors better. Now you’re armed with the details of who you are competing against and you can outrank them by increasing your budget (especially certain hours and days that convert the best) and by detailed optimization focused on quality traffic.

All that steps logically lead to increased Impression Share, increased traffic and very likely higher volume of sales. Think of that there’s no Landing Page more relevant to your brand than your own. Usually your Ad Quality – more specifically your domain and content of landing pages already fires you one step ahead, so take advantage of that, uncap your brand budgets and take back what is yours – 1st position in search results.

2. Client data means client loyalty.

Boost up your retargeting strategies and personalize your ads. According to Google, it costs up to 10x more to acquire a new customer compared to retaining an old one. Due to the “Google effect” or digital amnesia, clients process information differently today. It does not matter how many times they have visited your website before, if they come back, it is most probably through search on Google again. Activate your RLSA (Remarketing lists for search ads) techniques and spoil your visitors with loyalty or seasonal offers. Personalize your ads, numbers of users with Ad Block grow year by year, it is vital for your campaign success to know your audience really well. Gmail Ads and its Customer Match lists offer another great source of quality audience, one tip for you – test them in combination with engaging video formats.

Considering the well known fact that 98% of users are leaving the web without any type of action, and that the average conversion rate of search brand campaigns oscillates between 1-3%, there is a huge opportunity waiting. Moreover retargeting strategies tend to have the average conversion rate higher.

Bear in mind that OTAs seek customer loyalty, not with your hotel, but with their own brand. But when visiting your own website, it is a completely different story. Make your customers regular partners to you.

 3. Be operative and make your Google Ads synchronized with your website offers from the very first minute.

There is no doubt that maintaining market price parity is a key for  direct channel, we all know that. But for years, hotels have used tools like loyalty offers, seasonal promotions, intriguing weekend packages, lately worldwide sales events like Black Friday or Cyber Days to attract new clients and increase the number of rooms sold. So, having such a tool as Google Ads is, show them. Not scream them, but make sure they are very visible. Use headlines or extensions (sitelinks, promotions, callouts, structured snippets) and turn offers into bookings. If there is one fact that cannot be denied, it is that people just love discounts and offers, hotel sector is no exception.

Over time, this approach will convince travellers that the hotel website not only it is a source of the best rates and services, but that is an exclusive source of promotions and packages that can be found only there. Use your Google Ads campaigns as an intermediary and engage your clients. Once engaged, you know how the story goes.

Irene Arribas

New Media & Content Executive. Irene (BA in Journalism) knows that her passion is the world of communications and public relations. She thinks the key to succeed in this field is as simple as 'being happy and inspire.'