Gearing Up For Summer: Paid Search Tactics for Tourism

If you live in Michigan – the word summer may seem like a foreign concept with the recent spring weather we have been having. But Memorial Day and nicer weather is around the corner, which also means tourism season. During this time, many lodges, resorts, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and convention visitors bureaus are trying to take advantage of paid search to attract visitors. Marketers and owners of these places don’t often have a large budget to work with though. With that being said, we compiled a list of tips to make the most of your paid search budget.

Toledo DMAGeography. Know your target geo-market. First and foremost, understand where you want your paid search campaign to run. Run it in markets in which visitors are likely to drive from and are economically aligned with your tourist offering. Use bid modifiers in the markets that you think you want to show the strongest. When doing this, try to be as precise as possible in order to stretch your budget further. Additionally, with your geographic campaigns, make sure you are speaking to your target audience with your ads. For example, using cities in the ad copy such as “Hey Toledo – Break Away To Lake Huron. Only 2 hours Away!” to personalize the ad.

Mobile. If you are a hotel that may have a shorter lead time for those reserving on the go while traveling, make sure your mobile bids and ads are aligned to capture that traffic. Where it makes sense, use bid modifiers for mobile to increase your bids.

Ad Schedule and Timing. If you have a short lead time with reservations and filling your rooms mid-week are a challenge – run your ads early in the week instead of the weekend to properly spread out your budget.

Ad Extensions. The search engine results page has turned into a real estate screen share game. Ad extensions will enhance your ad’s ability to get a click. Use sitelink extensions to highlight your rates page, events page, view a room, and most importantly — book your stay. Additionally, use call extensions to get that quick call from a searcher. Location extensions reinforce to the user that you are within the area they are seeking to visit.

Weather. Now this approach takes more time, that most don’t have, but if you are in a weather dependent area, keep an eye on it. If you see the 7 day outlook looks good, change your ad copy to reflect this such as, “Perfect Beach Weather This Weekend in Michigan. Book Now!” This type of ad copy takes a proactive approach, but it would pay off in click through rates and potentially bookings. Don’t forget to change your ads once the weather changes though!

TC adAd copy. Get creative with your ads! Assuming you have room specials – start there. Ads with numbers showcasing rate specials and offers will also compete well and draw attention. Have reviews? Use quotes from them within your ad to differentiate against your competition.

Regional Event Intercept Terms. Does your region have upcoming festivals or events that are popular? Bid on those terms! These intercept terms will be a bit more expensive and have a lower click through and conversion rates. However, they can be a great way to hook searchers that are querying on regional festivals and looking to travel to your area. Get in front of them with ads that mention how your place is the perfect rental for the festival!

Joseph Ford

Joe Ford is a Managing Partner at Netvantage Marketing. In addition to overseeing day to day business operations of Netvantage, he directs paid search strategy and management. Ford is on the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Board of Directors, the Marketing Committee for Impression 5 Science Museum, and the Executive Board of the Capital Area IT Council. Additionally, Ford is an adjunct faculty member in the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.

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