What signals can hotels track to gauge guest readiness to travel again? From a digital marketing perspective, how can hotels get back into the market early to achieve a low-cost share of voice? We tackle these questions and more with the help of our friends at Screen Pilot on this week’s episode f the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast.
Friend of the show, Candice K, asks:
Should I cut off google adwords for a month?? Just looking for ways to save money right now but don’t want to miss out on marketing for future business.
Answer: We wouldn’t recommend stopping entirely because the CPC is cheap and the volume is low, you’d likely not be saving a whole lot by pausing. Also, when you stop, you lose some of your quality score and it ends up costing you a good bit more when you restart. If you need to conserve, maybe day part the campaign or add some negative keywords to limit the impressions.
Studies show that advertising through a downturn helps you gain more market share. You may just want to give the campaign a little more scrutiny.
In addition, your campaigns can offer insight into when things are beginning to pick up.
Special Guests from Screen Pilot:
Alyssa Larson, Director of Paid Media at Screen Pilot
Griffin Sandberg, Director of Strategic Partnerships & Industry Relations at Screen Pilot
1. META SEARCH
Meta advertising is in a similar position to branded paid search. Right now, the competition is still displaying available rates even if they are a few months out. Bid thresholds are the lowest they have ever been, and hotels can take advantage of that and for those searching for dates further out. We are currently still seeing bookings come through (albeit a low number, but every dollar will count coming out of this)
2. SOCIAL LISTENING
While this is incredibly important to be doing now to keep a pulse on consumers and their thoughts around travel, it will become useful information down the line to help inform your messaging strategy. What are people calling out about your property? What do they miss about not being able to currently visit? These are all things that can help formulate what to go back to the market with when the time is right.
3. BOOKING WINDOWS
While overall traffic and impressions are down, the engagement and click-through rates on things are still similar and people are still searching for dates to shop prices. Analyzing the dates your current customers are searching for will help inform how far out people are looking to book and what time period to be pushing for. We are currently seeing some people searching for the end of summer time period, hopefully signaling that people haven’t given up on their summer vacations yet.
4. BRANDED SEARCH
OTAs have such a small presence on branded paid search terms right now, and this will be one of the first areas to capitalize on as demand starts to increase. We are currently seeing CPCs down over 50% from a few weeks ago. These are the bottom of the funnel customers who are ready to buy, and the last thing you want to do is lose them to an OTA and pay out a % on a booking. Every dollar will matter. You need t0 be present at the bottom of the sales funnel.
5. BOOKING ENGINE CONVERSION RATE
We are tracking these in GA including ALL channels to get a good look at what customers are doing. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen some improvement in CVR. While it’s still much lower than pre-COVID numbers, we are seeing some small and slow improvements.
6. FEEDBACK SURVEYS
Example: 50 Bowery – it’s as simple as asking your guests what kind of content they want to consume right now. Cleared up their concerns and then asked them through IG polls – gave them the calming NYC skyline views that they asked for.
In summary, the costs across paid media channels are low and have little competition. Taking advantage of that now to gather data on your current customers, when they are searching and what they are interested in will help inform the planning process for recovery.
In The Newsaroos:
- Check out We Travel Forward
Submit your questions and topic ideas on Twitter to @fueltravel or email@example.com.