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The Secret to Effective PPC Campaigns for Your Hotel in 2017

Strategists at Digital Hospitality share their best practices for maximizing pay-per-click advertising ROI for hotel

by Joe Pooley | May 28, 2017

As a sales person at Digital Hospitality, most of the inbound sales calls I receive are from hoteliers looking to redevelop their websites. Their mentality seems to be this: “I feel I could be doing better if I had a more attractive, better optimized website”. This is absolutely true. But all too often, these hoteliers don’t apply the same scrutiny to their digital marketing campaigns which deserve just as much—if not more—overall attention in the long run.

Let’s look specifically at pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns (you know, those ‘sponsored’ results when you search Google or browse your Facebook news feed). Spending on PPC is all about return on investment. If you’re spending $1000/month on PPC ads that generate an average of 10 new bookings per month, that’s $100 per booking. Worth it?

Maybe you’re saying “Wait, how do I know how many bookings my PPC campaigns are specifically producing?” If you don’t yet have a way to answer this question, there’s only one solution I can recommend: stop running PPC ads for your hotel. Without a mechanism for precisely tracking the number of completed bookings generated from each campaign, you risk throwing your dollars into the void. And let’s face it, PPC isn’t cheap. When it’s done properly, however, the ROI can be extremely high. Let’s investigate more…  

Consider two approaches to running PPC ads on Facebook. The first is concerned with what’s often called ‘brand awareness’—giving your target travelers a general sense of what your hotel has to offer. In this case the ad copy will focus on the features and benefits of your property and will link to the homepage of your website.

With these types of ads, the user has no incentive to book other than their interest in the property itself. Does it work? In our experience, not very well. In the worst cases, we’ve had clients just barely break even with this method when comparing their ad spend to the completed bookings generated from the ad.

Now, let’s consider a second approach that concerns itself only with special promotions and packages. In this case, you must develop a specific package or promotion, perhaps a discount for bookings during a certain period or a package offer including admission to a local theme park. You must then build standalone ‘landing’ page on your website to give details on the offer. In many cases you’ll also need to set up a promo code on your reservation system to allow the package to be booked.  

It’s a lot more work, and it comes at a cost. But it also comes with a much, much higher ROI, almost every time, even when these extra costs are factored in. Using this approach we’ve seen average cost-per-booking drop to single figures in some cases.  

The reason for that is it provides users with an incentive to click the ad and an incentive to book. The likelihood of capturing an impulse booking from a traveler you might not otherwise have connected with is much higher.

You might be saying to yourself, “I really don’t have the resources to put together a special package or promotion at this time”.

In this case, ask yourself what your hotel’s biggest strength is and build a landing page around it. Get as specific as you can. Maybe you’re the closest full-service hotel to Michigan Stadium. Create a landing page that details how great your hotel is for anyone attending a Wolverines Game and target your ads accordingly. Maybe you’re the only hotel with a hot continental breakfast in your area of the city. Make a page that lists all of your hot breakfast items with pictures of each. If your budget is limited, your creativity can sometimes compensate.  

For more ideas on how to make the most of PPC spend for your hotel, give us call. We’re always happy to chat about how to make your hotel successful online




About Joe Pooley:

Joe Pooley is senior communications strategist at Digital Hospitality, where he helps hoteliers make sense of Internet Marketing.


1. Which best describes you?
Branded Hotel
Independent Hotel
Bed & Breakfast
Ownership/Management Group
Other (please describe)


2. How can we help your property?
New Website
PPC Advertising
SEO & Content Marketing
Reputation & Social Media Management
Custom Programming


3. What are your biggest challenges?
Unhappy with the service/value of current agency
Website is old/ugly
Unsure of how to approach digital marketing
Not seeing the results I had hoped for
Other (please describe)


4. Tell us a bit about yourself



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