Marketing budgets are limited and marketing channels are plentiful. So the question becomes: where should you allocate your marketing dollars? There are, of course, different goals. For instance, a display campaign targeting your typical guest in terms of demographics is a great way to gain general visibility for your brand. While something like a Facebook ad campaign targeting recently engaged women would be great for driving RFP submission through your site.
There are marketing opportunities less frequented by hospitality marketers, like Pinterest. And there are more traditional opportunities like print (yes, people still print stuff).
However, at the top of the list when we discuss marketing channels with clients usually sits Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Every marketer (who doesn’t live under a rock) knows about PPC, and how expensive it can be in terms of the percentage of marketing dollars it draws from your overall marketing budget.
With so many other areas where you could allocate your marketing dollars (both online and offline), why focus so much on PPC?
Here are four GREAT reasons:
1. Protect the house you built: OTAs are a double-edged sword; they can provide great visibility for your property, but they make you pay for it. PPC is a great way to protect your brand and encourage direct bookings. I can tell you for sure that OTAs will be bidding on your brand name, so why give them the satisfaction of earning a commission? By ensuring you have a paid ad, along with your organic listing, when users search your brand, you’re mitigating the room nights taken away from you by OTAs.
2. Start in the pole position: Most users start their hospitality-related searches using a search engine (Google). PPC is a great way to ensure your property is visible during the first steps of the user’s search process, before it gets cluttered with too many options to the point they don’t want to consider any new ones.
3. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: Chances are you’re seeing some great returns with your PPC campaign, if it’s properly set up and managed. When you allocate marketing dollars away from PPC, you’ll have to weigh the risk of those dollars not returning as much as they could have if you had kept them in PPC. And given the generally high direct return that PPC provides, it will be difficult to do so.
4. The bottom line is the only line: Speaking of returns, isn’t it great when you can clearly demonstrate your marketing dollars at work and providing real value? Sometimes ROI isn’t the most important end goal, but when it is (very often), then PPC should be the first channel on your list to which you allocate marketing dollars.
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