Search Engine Marketing For Hotels

Navigating the Waters of an SEM Campaign - By Dani Moragne

Are you in the hotel industry and want to implement a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy, but are struggling to learn the ropes of campaign management? Let’s say you have a hotel, equipped with great rooms and a restaurant and bar. How do you support them both? In this post, we go over the SEM need-to-knows for hoteliers—everything from campaign structure to bid and budgeting to help you launch your SEM program and keep it sailing smoothly.
A sailboat
Navigating the Waters of an SEM Campaign


Structuring Your SEM Campaigns 

Exploring your web analytics account is crucial. If you take a look around this account, you can familiarize yourself with the interface and notice the three-layer structure. Typically, layers include your account, campaigns, and ad groups. Your account is the umbrella under which all other layers reside. 

Accounts are connected to unique email and billing information. Within your account, you can have multiple campaigns with their own budget and ad settings. Official recommendations suggest creating your campaigns to reflect the structure of your website with ad groups revolving around services or products.

  • Example: You are a hotelier with a restaurant and bar, rooms ranging in size and luxury, and a spa. You might have campaigns for each branch of your hotel. Under the restaurant and bar campaign, you may have ad groups dedicated to your brunch specials, evening dining, or event spaces. Under your hotel room campaign, you may have ad groups dedicated to your suites or family discounts. As for your spa campaign, you may have ad groups detailing specific services or couple’s packages. 

Often, ad groups and their keywords are the anchors to your SEM strategy. They are the foundation blocks of both managing and delivering your ads. If you decide to use AdWords, you can use the Keyword Planner as a way to brainstorm keywords that best fit your product, service, or customer. Ad group ads and keywords share a theme, and if a search query matches the theme, that ad is delivered. Using the example above, if someone were to search “family hotels,” your family discount ad under the hotel room campaign would be served. In short, when you create simple and organized ad groups, you’ll stay on course to reach your advertising goals.

Be the Captain of your Campaigns

Choosing the best campaign type for your advertising goals can help you hit the deck running. Campaign type determines the format of your ads, available ad options, and ad placement. For example, if you use Google AdWords as your SEM strategy foundation, you’ll have the option to create a Search Network only, Display Network only, or Search Network with Display settings campaign. 

Each choice affects the available options for your advertisements;

  • Search Network campaigns are more text rich and direct while Display Network campaigns contain images and rich media. 
    • Example: For promoting a restaurant and bar, a Search Network campaign is best because it allows you to connect with potential customers right when they’re searching on Google. 
    • Example: Display Network campaigns are best when you wish to show images of deals and packages, reaching consumers as they jump from website to website.

Whether it’s search or display, strong SEM strategies are proven to increase website traction. Before choosing, consider writing down your campaign goals. It’s a smart way to prioritize your advertising needs and find the best campaign type match.

Keeping Afloat with Bidding and Budget Strategy

When it comes to bidding and budget, you’ll need to consider both simultaneously. A budget is set at the campaign level and indicates how much you are willing to spend daily. Both Bing Ads and Google AdWords have standard or accelerated delivery methods that change how many impressions your ad receives. Without proper monitoring, these delivery methods can deplete your daily budget. This prevents your ad from showing for the rest of the day. When you consider your bidding strategy along with your delivery method, you can optimize your daily budget.

As for bidding strategy, there are a few options to consider alongside your campaign type and goals. 

  • Cost-per-click, or CPC, is best if you want to drive viewers to your site. With CPC, you only pay for those who actually click on your ad.
  • Cost-per-impression, or CPM, is effective if you want to increase brand awareness. CPM bids are based on the maximum cost you are willing to pay for a thousand impressions your ad receives on, for example, Google’s Display Network. 
  • Cost-per-acquisition, or CPA, is optimal if you want to target conversions on your site by only paying when viewers take action on your site. 

Picking the right bidding strategy for your campaign can turn the tides in your favor in the expanding sea of online advertising. 

Want to learn more about how SEM can help your digital marketing strategy? Get in touch with one of our travel specialists now.

About Dani Moragne

Dani is Sojern’s Content Marketing Intern. She holds a BA in Earth Science, loves the outdoors and spends her weekends working in ceramics. Her travel bucket list is long, and growing every day!

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