Search for anything related to hotels on Google and an avalanche of OTA pay-per-click (PPC) ads show up, and this happens all day long.
You’ve got to be wondering, “How much are these guys spending on PPC ads!?!”
Well, it’s $3.5 BILLION to be exact. That’s the total advertising budget for the Priceline Group, which operates Booking.com, Priceline, Kayak, and others.
Although not all that advertising budget is allocated for PPC, a good chunk of it is. The OTAs want to be sure they have both an organic and paid search presence for any relevant hotel searches.
Presumably, this means searches related for your hotel, too. So, how in the world can you compete with these guys?
Well, the first step toward solving a problem is acknowledging you have one in the first place. In this case, it’s that OTA PPC ads will always show up for the keywords you’re targeting, assuming they’re relevant.
With that in mind, here are 3 tactics you can employ to ensure your campaigns are performing well against some stiff OTA competition:
1) Automated Bid Strategy
Set an Automated Bid Strategy so that your brand campaigns show up in the #1 spot. Applying this auto-bid strategy means Google will automatically adjust your CPC so that you’re competitive enough to capture the #1 ad spot.
This is especially important for brand campaigns since that’s where most of your direct revenue is going to come from. If someone is searching for your property, don’t let them go to an OTA.
2) Promote Your Promotions
Do you have an enticing offer that encourages people to book directly through your website? Then make sure it’s reflected in your ad copy. Promotions, deals, or packages are one of the best ways to take eyes off OTA ads and put them all over your ads. Best of all, these eyeballs are likely to lead to clicks.
3) Use Ad Extensions
Employ ad extensions on each of your ads to capture more search real estate. Some of the more useful sitelinks are Callouts, Sitelinks, and Location Extensions. These will help make your ad bigger, thus increasing the likelihood that someone will notice your ad and click on it.
Remember, there will always be competition, especially when it comes to PPC and OTAs. That’s why it’s critical to have a detailed strategy focused on return. If your ads are providing a return, then that’s all that really counts. You can stop worrying how much other advertisers are spending—even if they’re spending billions.
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