From a major national marathon to a hip local art festival, an upcoming event near your property often means more visitors in town. And that means a golden opportunity to boost booking revenue from a sudden surge in demand for hotel rooms.
But how do you make sure your hotel capitalizes on this influx in potential guests? In the following post, we’ll discuss how to create a PPC campaign around an event that captures more online attention and drives more direct bookings your way.
Design a strong landing page
A lot of hotels link PPC campaigns to their own homepage, but this can end up hurting conversions. A homepage full of content unrelated to the message in your PPC ad can distract users from taking the action you originally intended.
Instead, a successful PPC campaign should feature a distraction-free landing page to focus your audience’s attention on taking a single and clearly defined call-to-action. In this case, that means getting people to book a room for the event you’re marketing around.
A tempting offer with a strong sense of urgency (e.g. “Save 50% Off Room Rates For The NYC Marathon – Just 2 Days Left!”) can also encourage people not to delay their booking for fear of missing out on a great deal.
It’s also extremely important that the copy on your landing page matches the copy and keywords in your PPC. Google’s algorithm looks favorably on relevant content, so ensuring message consistency will help improve your Quality Score. In turn, this will increase your Ad Rank and reduce your cost-per-click (CPC).
Market around the booking window and search trends
Around 90% of consumers book within 70 days of their trip, however about 80% of this same group book within just 30 days. Keeping this booking window in mind will help you plan the run-time of your overall strategy.
However, there will be some anomalies depending on the event you’re promoting around. For instance, Art Basel will most likely have a shorter booking window than the Boston Marathon as runners for the marathon must register their place seven months before the event.
By looking at trend data using resources such as Google Trends and SEMRush, you’ll be able to identify when peaks in searches occur for different events and then plan a timely campaign that reaches a large and receptive audience.
It’s also worth keeping your ads live for a few days after the event, especially if the event drives a large amount of repeat visitors. Even if that specific search doesn’t drive a booking directly, capturing post-event searches will put your hotel on the radar of someone who may end up booking with you the following year.
Tap into search funnel and user behavior
Understanding how users’ change their behavior and search queries during the search funnel is essential to any successful PPC campaign.
When it comes to event promotion, search volume around event-related non-brand terms is actually pretty low. Take the NYC Marathon for example. Google estimates there are only around 50 average monthly searches for keywords like “hotel for NYC marathon” or “NYC marathon hotels.”
So while the terms are specific, such low average monthly search figures show that you can’t expect these keywords to bring in much volume, and that your prospects are clearly using different terms to search for hotels near an event.
It’s most likely these searches will involve a non-brand keyword, although some people will use a branded keyword if they’re already pretty certain where they want to stay. Based on the potential variations in search terms, it’s extremely important to have appropriate keyword coverage if you have the budget available.
Which keywords should you target?
From reaching the widest possible audience to targeting the most qualified prospects, the following three search terms represent the best way to maximize visibility at each stage of the funnel:
Bottom-of-funnel: Targeting “hotels near [the event]”
By targeting this keyword combination, you’ll be reaching a smaller audience with a specific interest in the event you’re marketing, making them the most likely to convert. While this keyword strategy will deliver a lower volume of potential guests, it also represents the most efficient and cost-effective strategy.
Middle-of-funnel: Targeting “hotels near [popular landmarks around the event]”
To bring in more volume higher up the funnel, you can expand things by bidding on keywords related to landmarks near the event. This approach lets you reach those who haven’t expressed a direct interest in the event, but might still be tempted to book with a well-timed offer.
Top-of-funnel: Targeting “hotels near [the city/neighborhood of the event]”
This strategy enables you to cast a wide net by targeting those who have simply shown interest in your destination. At this stage, you’ll be reaching the largest possible audience but your overall ROAS will be lower.
Use remarketing to target captive customers
By incorporating remarketing within your PPC strategy, you can reach a more receptive customer by specifically targeting people who have already interacted with your website.
But there’s a way to make this approach even more efficient.
With Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs), your PPC ad will only be served up when someone shows a specific search intent, such as using the name of your hotel or any keywords you choose to target. This in contrast to traditional remarketing, which uses banner ads to reach people as they browse the web.
By layering in upper funnel keywords, you can target users’ who have browsed dates in your hotel’s booking engine that correspond with the event, or share a similar profile to previous bookers. In both instances, you’ll be delivering a relevant message to an audience most likely to convert, making this a highly cost-efficient strategy.
Driving bookings through event marketing
In order to maximize booking revenue around a local event, it’s essential to tailor your PPC campaign based on an in-depth knowledge of differing trends in keywords, booking behavior, and buying intent.
Let’s review the main points to bear in mind:
Build an event-based landing page: By creating a dedicated landing page that links to your PPC ad, you’ll increase the probability of getting users to book by instantly focusing their attention on a clear and relevant sales message.
Deliver timely offers based on booking window behavior: Tap into trend data from resources such as Google Trends and SEMRush and you’ll be able to identify when interest in your event begins to build, enabling you to market your hotel at just the right time for maximum impact.
Invest in a diverse keyword strategy: If your budget will stretch, it’s worth investing in a diverse keyword strategy that markets your hotel to all potential customers at all stages of the search funnel.
Capitalize on past interest with remarketing: For a more efficient form of remarketing, utilize the precision of Google’s remarketing lists for search ads. This form of ad lets you target those who have shown an interest in your hotel, but only targets them when they’re displaying an active intent in your hotel.
The attraction of an upcoming local event can lead to a surge in travelers descending on your destination. As the buzz builds and online search queries spike, a tailored and timely PPC campaign can put your hotel on the map and capture direct bookings ahead of the competition.
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