Why Hoteliers Should Bid on Brand Name Keywords

By: O'Rourke Hospitality Team

When creating pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns, hoteliers should bid on both general keywords and brand keywords.

The general keywords, like “luxury resorts in mexico,” target guests who may be unfamiliar with your brand. Brand name keywords are exactly what they sound like: hoteliers bid on their brand names.

Why do they have to do this? Because OTAs are also bidding on their properties’ names. If a guest who is familiar with your brand searches your hotel’s name and an OTA result is the first to appear on the page, the guest is likely to click on that result. Your property has just lost a direct booking because you neglected to bid on your brand name.

SimilarWeb’s recent research into U.S. travelers’ search habits shows that guests are searching brand names more than generic keywords. Unsurprisingly, large OTAs and airlines were the most searched brands within the travel industry.  “Expedia” was searched 32.7 million times between January and November 2015. “Airbnb” and “KAYAK” were also searched often.

According to Pascal Cohen, insights manager at SimilarWeb, “Understanding the right keywords driving traffic to sites can make a major impact on a company’s success in this competitive market.”

One mistake hoteliers make when creating PPC campaigns is failing to bid on their brand names, hoping their SEO practices will be enough.

However, hotels and resorts that bid on their brand names have found that the appearance of two listings, the paid result and the organic result, generates more clicks and therefore, more direct bookings.

A study conducted by Bing Ads found that when both a paid and organic listing were present on a SERP, travel brands received 88% of clicks versus only 61% when only an organic listing was present.

Cohen notes, “In any industry, organic searches are a major barometer of brand recognition and trust.” For the hospitality industry, this means that if guests are searching for your property by name, they recognize your brand name and likely trust the brand image you have cultivated. And what hotel doesn’t want a well-recognized brand name and quality brand image?

Bidding on brand name keywords is an important strategic move hoteliers should consider when creating PPC campaigns. Get more PPC tips here.

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