Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) for Hospitality

Hints & tips for PPC advertising in hospitality


Paul West

In my previous blog I discussed the art of Search Engine Optimisation and how to ensure your website is built in such a way that it is highly visible to Google. These techniques are free in the sense that once your site appears in the search results for your important keywords it doesn’t cost you anything for people to find your website.

Time is of the Essence

The downside to this technique is time. It takes a while for the Google Spiders to come across your site and to decide how important you are. You then have to compete with all the other websites that might be using similar techniques to be seen too and battle it out for the first page results, the only ones that really matter. This can take months and all the while you might be missing out on potential business.

But fear not, for help is at hand. Those clever chaps at Google created a system for adverts to appear on search results. These are the little text adverts on the right hand side of Google results. The beauty of these is that they are instantaneous, as soon as you set them up they begin to appear, but you have to pay for the privilege!

Pay and You Shall Receive

These Google adverts are called Google Adwords, and they operate on a ‘Pay-Per-Click’ basis (PPC). This means that you pay every time somebody clicks one of your adverts. The system operates on a bid process, so you bid an amount per click that you are prepared to pay for someone to visit your website. Google determines where your advert appears in the list of adverts based on how much you’re prepared to pay per click. The higher your bid, the closer to the top of the list you will appear. But there is another influencing factor too, and that is something called a Quality Score. Google calculates how relevant your advert and website are to the keyword search terms that you’re bidding on, and this also influences the ranking of your advert.

Keywords are Still The Key

Clearly then it is important to look carefully at the numbers when setting up your Google Adwords campaign and to ensure that what you are bidding on is perfectly relevant to what you do. As I explained previously with SEO, your choice of keywords is the starting point. You must decide the most relevant and important keywords or phrases that people should be using to find what you provide. Be specific, use words such your location, the type of food you sell and anything unique to what you do.

Once you have your keywords listed, categorise these into groups that work together. In the Google system you organise your account into Campaigns and Ad Groups so that you can maximise relevancy. You have to write the wording of the adverts that appear for a selection of keywords. Your Quality Score is higher if the advert content matches your keyword selections for that advert. So for example, if you’re pushing your venue for weddings, you should choose keywords using relevant terms for weddings in your location, then word your advert copy with the same terms.

Increase Your CTR

The Google system allows you to try a number of different advert variations for each Ad Group, so you can see which advert is giving you the best results and drop the ineffective ones. A test of effectiveness is call the Click Through Rate (CTR), which is one of the tests that Google uses to determine your Quality Score that in turn influences your advert position. The CTR is the percentage rate of advert views or impressions that have resulted in a click of your advert. So using the same example, if 10 people see your advert for weddings by searching with the keywords you determined were relevant and 5 of them clicked on your advert, you would have a CTR of 50%. As this is very high, Google would move your advert to the top of the list for those keywords and you would not need to bid so much for the privilege of being at the top. By running multiple advert variations you can maximise your Click Through Rate and achieve a higher position for your advert for less cost.

Coming in for Landing

Another influencing factor of your Quality Score is the page where your advert sends the people who click on it. Sticking to the wedding example, if your advert clicks send people to a page that describes your wedding facilities and service, then you are likely to achieve a higher Quality Score. That is one of the advantages of organising your Campaigns and Ad Groups correctly so that the landing pages for the adverts are most relevant to the adverts and the keywords.

Balance PPC with SEO

So Pay-Per-Click campaigns are immediate, measurable and adjustable to minimise your cost and maximise your budget, but they do cost money. A useful strategy is to use Adwords where necessary if SEO isn’t yet working and slowly reduce your PPC budget as your SEO techniques begin to work. You don’t need to pay to be seen on search results if you’re appearing in the organic results for free.

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