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Four mistakes your hotel makes in international PPC marketing

PPC marketing, or pay-per-click search engine marketing, is an important tool for hotels in generating traffic to their websites. But a successful PPC campaign in the domestic market doesn’t always translate to success in the international market. Here are some of the biggest mistakes in global PPC campaigns that hotels should avoid:

1.  Translating keywords one-to-one


When it comes to e-commerce, 85% of online shoppers won’t make a purchase if a website or product description isn’t in their language. So translating a PPC campaign to a target language is a no-brainer.

However, hotels sometimes rely on translation software to reproduce content for overseas territories. But certain words and phrases don’t have a like-for-like equivalent, so the translation can sometimes be riddled with embarrassing errors.

This happened to one Australian marketing firm, which translated its English keyword “cheap hotels” into traditional Chinese for the Taiwanese market—only to find out later that the term “cheap hotels” in Taiwan meant “brothel.”

2. Forgetting to localize content

Localization for international audiences goes beyond simply having proper translations. Understanding local cultural norms is key to a successful PPC campaign.

For instance, the tone of voice used in the PPC ad should match local preferences. While a direct sales message may work in certain countries, a softer sell might be better suited to customers in other regions.

It’s also important to take into account local values. While American travelers gravitate toward bargains and deals, Swiss travelers look for quality and luxury. And just because the Swiss speak German doesn’t mean they share the same preferences as the Germans.

Hotels should also be aware that the highest ranking keywords for their property in a domestic marketplace might not necessarily be the same in other countries. Research into these kind of subtleties is important to maximize the chances of a campaign being successful.

Curious to learn more? Download our free guide to international PPC marketing for hotels.

3. Defaulting to Google


Google’s dominance in the U.S. and much of Europe often leads hoteliers to assume its dominance is global, but this assumption is misplaced.

While Google still has around 88% market share, certain regions of the world are led by other major players, particularly in the Asian marketplace. In China, Baidu reigns supreme. In Russia, Yandex is snapping at Google’s heels.

This means a huge chunk of potential customers may never be reached if a hotel runs PPC campaigns only for one search engine. This kind of mistake could equate to a pretty hefty loss in revenue.

4. Mismanaging the budget

Budgeting for an international PPC campaign is by no means a simple task, and hotels sometimes find the investment they’ve allocated falls well short of what’s actually required.

How do these miscalculations occur? It all comes down to the fluctuations in PPC costs.

When a single country is geo-targeted, the PPC cost will be adjusted to follow the local economic situation. This makes things fairly easy to manage. But things get a little more tricky when a campaign is targeted at multiple countries.

In this situation, Google will standardize the PPC cost. This can end up with the overall investment rising sharply—a fact not every hotelier realizes in the budgeting phase of a campaign.

It all comes down to finding the right marketing partner

When it comes time to target global markets for your hotel, find an agency with experience in international PPC. They can help in identifying the right keywords and budget for the target market, as well as work with local agents who can help with translations and localization of the ads and landing pages. The extra investment ensures that your hotel will make the most of its PPC dollars.

This article originally appeared on Skift.


For more do’s and don’ts on international PPC marketing for hotels, register for our free guide.


Joan Evelyn Lee

Joan Evelyn Lee

Joan is VP of Operations at Pegasus, helping hotels worldwide efficiently manage their distribution channels and maximize direct bookings. She loves cooking, traveling, and all things New Orleans. Contact her at joan@pegs.com.

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