The world of hotel marketing is vast and complex. Platforms such as Facebook can drive tons of traffic, but not always revenue. Other systems, such as Google’s AdWords is typically focused on driving revenue. The trouble marketers can get into is when they think about all channels with a similar mindset. This can spell disaster.
In this edition of the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast we’ll be reviewing a few of the most effective channels for hotels. What you can take away from this is… You can’t apply the same thought process to all marketing channels, regardless of how similar they appear to be.
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To help visualize all the channels and mindsets needed, we have created this simple graphic showing where each one ranks in term of a revenue v/s branding and a active v/s passive mindset.
Pay Per Click
The PPC mindset is what most marketer fall back on when building campaigns. Regardless of the type of campaign (brand, rev gen, signup) the process is basically the same. You’re going to assign some type of dollar value to a conversion and then look at the performance based on Return On Ad Spend (ROAS). The mindset is simple, drive revenue and lots of it.
Google’s Hotel Ads (GHA) is an entirely different animal from the traditional Google AdWords type account. For those who are not familiar GHA used to be called HPA, but apparently Google saw fit to confuse everyone by changing acronyms. If you are not familiar with GHA, HPA or the next name they are going to come up with check out one of our previous articles, “Google Hotel Ads, What You Need To Know.” Basically, GHA is the area on the search results page and maps where google will show the nightly rate for a hotel.
Once you understand how GHA works, you will immediately see that the mindset shifts from a hand’s on approach (ala PPC) to a more automated process. The hard work on a GHA campaign in in the initial setup of the data feed from your booking system to Google and initial campaign optimization. GHA relies heavily on machine learning to decipher customer intent and serving the hotel’s rate.
The mindset of a TripAdvisor campaign is simple, in fact it can be summarized in just two words… RATE PARITY! Now rate parity is less “marketing” and more “management” but as the person responsible for finding success in this channel, you will be the one who needs to monitor and identify any rate issues before they become problems.
Trip Advisor offers two primary advertising channels (there are others such as banners and business listings) which are Trip Connect and Instant Book. Both platforms do basically the same thing in terms of showing your hotel’s best rate to customers based on the date they are searching. The key differences are:
- Instant Book is an integration between your booking engine and TripAdvisor that allows your property to be booked directly on TripAdvisor for either a 12% or 15% commission.
- Trip Connect is a pay per click based platform that allows a hotel to bid against OTAs to have a book direct rate shown to customers.
Facebook requires an entirely different mindset from traditional paid media outlets. A focus on customer experience, openness, and community is what hotels need in order to get a great rate of return on Facebook. This is not a platform where you are going to necessarily see a great ROAS out of the gate, it take a long time to build up your brand and followers before you’ll begin to see a direct return.
From an advertising perspective Facebook offers a vast array of options for driving potential guests to your hotel. These are broken into three categories based on a specific goal:
- Awareness Ads: brand awareness, local awareness, reach
- Consideration Ads: traffic, engagement, app installs, video views, lead generation
- Conversion Ads: conversions, product catalog sales, store visits
In all of the above, your goal as a hotel is to showcase the property in the best light possible. With striking photos, customer feedback, and prompt engagement. Yes, you can drive revenue from Facebook, but first and foremost your goal should be to connect and engage your guests.
While Facebook does not always drive a great dollar value return, it can be very effective for a lead generation and to re-engage and nurture former guests. A few specific tactics that we recommend include running contests or showcasing a great offer, using high-quality images and videos, encouraging engagement and action through specific CTAs, and being highly targeted with audiences.
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