Facebook Ads: Your Do-It-All Sales Solution? Think Again…

Don’t get the ROI of Facebook Ads confused with the effort to develop a content rich
page where your hotel engages with fans. Want the payoff? Do the hard work.

Facebook AdsFacebook Ads: Do They Work?

Facebook, still the first choice of social media platforms by the vast majority, is considered a king of social media. It is also a helpful place to build your hotel’s social media presence and engage your guests as well as manage your online reputation. However, it is not a one-stop shop. If you are looking to Facebook as a vehicle for acquiring new customers via ads, then we suggest allocating your resources elsewhere.

Sure, you may be asking — why shouldn’t I put money into Facebook ads for my property if companies, from small business to Fortune 500 giants, are doing it?

Facebook: Good for Branding, Not Customer Acquisition

The majority of buzz about Facebook should revolve around your page, not ads. The smart guys at Pepsi, Nike or Shell understand that the value behind Facebook is when it is used as a branding tool, not a customer acquisition tool.

While an incredibly effective customer retention and engagement tool, Facebook shows a much lower return on investment as a customer acquisition tool than most brands may think. Facebook is a place where users connect with those they already know, as opposed to a platform like Twitter or even Groupon where users are more likely to connect with new people or try new brands.

Just as you wouldn’t invest all of your efforts on social media on Facebook alone, ads can’t be the only thing you do on Facebook. Best as part of a complete marketing campaign, Facebook Ads are not useful as a “quick fix” for finding customers, nor is it an effective stand-alone platform. If you wish to take part in Facebook Ads for your hotel, you should know when to use them, how maximize their impact and how your other digital marketing efforts can support them.

Why Facebook is ineffective as a customer acquisition tool.

  • Few, if any, qualified leads/new customers if privacy settings are set to friends only.
  • Expensive way to advertise
  • Low Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

If you are convinced that Facebook ads are the best direction for your brand, the most important questions hoteliers should ask before launching Facebook advertising include:

TimingWhen should we use this?
GoalsWhat do we hope to achieve?
EvaluateHow will you measure its success?
Supporting InitiativesHow will you support the campaign across other channels?
AudienceWhat are the right investment decisions based upon your target demographics?

Investing in Facebook Ads only and thinking you will be bombarded with new customers is an unreal expectation. If you have a robust marketing strategy that includes a dynamic Facebook page with well-crafted content written for your target audience, then your Facebook efforts will be effective in supporting your goals of furthering your brand’s recognition. Then and only then, you may be among the few that can consider ads, but even then… you know where we stand.

Think PPC is a better fit for your hotel? We do!
Check out our “Back to Basics PPC Blog Series” for helpful hints on getting started.

Visit our website for more on effective paid advertising, including details on Lodging Interactive’s PPC and SEO services.

Back to Basics: Hotel Search Engine Marketing – Part 3

Lodging Interactive’s Senior Analytics & PPC Manager, Gouri Karode, is sharing the essential best practices for hotel search engine marketing in our Back to Basics three-part series.

Read Part 1: Optimizing Your Site and Part 2: Optimizing Your Adwords Strategy.

Part 3: Stay Agile!

The tips for getting started and optimizing your landing pages and adwords strategies from Part 1 and 2 were just the beginning. The key to successful search engine marketing for hotels is to continue to optimize, monitor and adjust.

Here are 4 tips for maintaining an effective Search Engine Marketing Campaign.

  1. Everyday Monitoring: Check your campaign 4-5 times a week to monitor performance. Add keywords; update ad copy with latest offers and promotions.
  2. Manage Complex Campaigns: Some campaigns have very large budgets and dozens of ad groups and will need high level of expertise to manage them correctly.
  3. Make the Right Partnership: Good SEM/PPC requires working with a qualified partner. You’ll save time and most importantly money in the long term. You should have right type of talent, with the right level of experience to manage your campaigns.
  4. Remember Your Overall Marketing Strategies: An efficient SEM/PPC strategy needs to be developed in coordination with your overall marketing strategy. For example, if you want to target new markets, you can buy keywords through PPC campaign that will avoid waiting months to be well positioned in organic search results.

Search Engine Marketing and PPC Advertising have become basic Internet marketing tools that very few hotels can afford to ignore it. There are plenty of helpful tips and tricks for how hotels can carry out a successful SEM campaign, but many of them are ineffective if properties do not have a global vision for their marketing strategy and clear objectives of how SEM/PPC fits.

At Lodging Interactive we are search engine marketing specialists exclusively serving the hotel industry. Just as you know how to manage a hotel and how to welcome your guests, our professional team knows how to bring visitors and bookings on your website.

Contact us to find out more about how we can manage your SEM.

Back to Basics: Hotel Search Engine Marketing – Part 2

Lodging Interactive’s Senior Analytics & PPC Manager, Gouri Karode, is sharing the essential best practices for hotel search engine marketing in our Back to Basics three-part series.

Read Part 1: Optimizing Your Site.

Part 2: Optimizing Your Adwords Strategy.

As with any campaign, it is key to establish benchmarks and create goals in order to stay focused and to continue to refine your strategies.

As you are reading this, you are probably asking yourself, what is my end goal? What do I want to accomplish by running this campaign? Is it for branding purposes? Last minute vacancies? What are my property’s PPC strategies for converting website visitors to guests?

Once you answer these questions you can begin to define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as CTR, impressions, click thrus to booking engine and booked revenue so you are ready to monitor, measure and test your results.

Creating a plan and setting goals is only the beginning of a paid search campaign. Once you’ve established clearly defined objectives you can get started by utilizing our tips for optimizing your adwords strategy.

Top Tips for Optimizing Your Adwords Strategy

  1. Target Right Audience: Opportunity to share your hotel packages and/or services with the right travelers when they are search for services like yours is the key for a successful PPC campaign.
  2. Budget Optimization: Allocate the bulk of your budget in response to the conversions you receive. Limited budget? No problem. Just spend the money you’re investing into PPC wisely by continuously refining the campaigns and customizing the account.
  3. Seasonality: Plan your hotel PPC budget accordingly based on peak demand months and slower months.  During your slow months or seasons you can promote business by creating special offers and promotions which are then promoted through your ads.
  4. Deliver the Right PPC Ads: Have a strong call-to-action within your ad copy. If you are running a special or offering a discount make sure it is mentioned in the ad copy. Give people a reason to book at your hotel with the message of urgency like “Buy Now”, “Book Today”!
  5. Device Targeting & Bid Adjustments: Bid adjustments are used to increase or decrease bids for mobile devices, however, there is no way to increase or decrease bids for tablets. All ads running on all devices enhances your ads and is necessary with the rise in mobile use.
  6. Track Everything & Monitor Results: Measure your ROI in real time by defining and monitoring metrics that include, Cost per Click (CPC), Conversion Ratios (CTR), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Cost per Action (CPA), Key Performance Indicators (KPI), etc…

Lodging Interactive provides hoteliers with complete Search Engine Marketing solutions. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you achieve your SEM goals.

Don’t miss the final installment of Gouri’s series –  Part 3: Stay Agile!

Back to Basics: Hotel Search Engine Marketing – Part 1

As a leading digital marketing agency we receive a number of questions regarding Hotel Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay Per Click (PPC) and what can be done for the best paid ranking. When talking about SEM and PPC, it’s important not to get lost in all the information (and misinformation) out there. Our three-part blog series from Senior Analytics & PPC Manager, Gouri Karode shares the essential best practices for SEM and PPC in 2014 and beyond.

Part 1: Optimizing Your Site

A professionally designed website can increase conversion rates and bookings, ensure trust and credibility with your users who are potential guests. Website design and landing pages can play a part not just in search engine optimization (SEO), but in PPC as well.

Landing Page Optimization

Your landing page – the destination of the ad within your PPC campaign – is the first impression a potential guest gets of your hotel. The page should compliment your ad copy and clearly state information about your hotel using localized keywords.

Here are our top tips for optimizing your hotel’s landing page. These key steps can improve your Quality Score which can increase your ad position at a lower cost as well as help convert more site visitors.

9 Tips for Optimizing Your Hotel’s Landing Page

  1. Clear Call to Action: A strong and visible call to action such as “Book Now” and “Reserve Now” should be prominent.
  2. Important Info Above the Fold: Don’t make site visitors scroll for your content. Keep your call to action and key details above the fold.
  3. Minimal Navigation: Keep the user to from getting too distracted or spending unnecessary time searching for where to go.
  4. Fast Loading Times: One factor of the Google Adwords Quality Score is the load times of your pages. It should take less than 5 seconds.
  5. PPC Keywords in Copy: Users connect better to your ad copy.
  6. Simplified Contact Form: Ditch lengthy forms and collect only the information you truly require and need.
  7. No Clutter: Remove any unnecessary images, icons or extra information.
  8. Mobile Website: Ensure a seamless experience for your site visitors by making sure you have a mobile-friendly design.
  9. Website Translation: A great way to expand into new markets in order to increase revenue.

Visit our website to learn more about our SEM solutions for hotels. Send us an email to partner with Lodging Interactive to develop customized Search Engine Marketing and Pay Per Click strategies for your property.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Optimizing Your Adwords Strategy.