Tips and Tricks To Better Utilize Travel Ads

As a Complete Hotel Revenue Management Service, we here at Kriya RevGEN try to utilize every possible channel/rate/marketing opportunity to bring higher and better revenue to your hotels.  Although paying to play with an “OTA” is sometimes considered taboo in our industry, we Revenue Managers understand that OTA’s are necessary for a complete pricing strategy, especially during periods of low demand. If we’re going to have to use the OTA’s, we want to be the best at it, so in this month’s blog post, we review how we utilize TravelAds to rank high and get traffic when we want it.

What are TravelAds:

TravelAds are a pay-per-click campaign program that place your property in front of Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Travelocity, Wotif, AirAsiaGo.com, lasminute.com.au, Orbitz, and CheapTickets customers. You may place bids by booking window, length of stay, country and more.t. This allows us to target your most valuable customers and fill rooms while preserving your average daily rate. At Kriya RevGEN, our team utilizes TravelAds for lots of reasons: periods of low demand, special events/seasons, filling last minute rooms, and supplementing long term strategies because of its efficiency at targeting high conversion customers when needed.  

Why Travel Ads can be powerful:

Currently, approximately 78% of clicked traffic occurs on the first page while  75% of click traffic is on the top 15 listings. TravelAds offer four “sponsored listings” per market,  first, seventh and two at the bottom (impactful because you must go to the bottom to access next page.) TravelAds flow through to all Expedia partners: Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Hotwire, AirAsiaGo, wotif, Orbitz, and Cheaptickets. Since potential travelers often jump around site to site to find the cheapest rate, being in a prime spot on each site is key to converting searches to bookings. Currently with 140 active hotels in Dallas, hotels are seeing a 20% lift in room nights and an 11:1 return with an average spend of $1.13 per click. There are even bigger opportunities in sub-markets where the travel ad market is less competitive, but overall the industry ad spend directly correlates to bookings:

Online Advertising

Here are some tips…

  • Update your ad copy frequently – Updating your ad copy is imperative to improving your return. When your property is a sponsored listing, Expedia allows you a 40 character headline and a 140 character body of text. Tailoring this to certain events or seasons can be beneficial. The body of your ad copy should include things that differentiate your property from others, such as free wifi, free parking, newly renovated, great location near X; basically a value proposition. You can also update your ad picture. For example, in the summer it may be beneficial to put a picture of the pool, or a cozy room-type in the winter.
  • Break down your ROI – Often we just look at the combined return for all travel windows. However, you now can sort by bucket which will allow you to evaluate the performance of each travel window to further tailor your strategy.
  • Set a daily budget – Setting a daily budget will ensure your spending does not get out of hand on a daily basis. Very rarely will this happen, but some hotels will purposely click on ads to max their competitor’s daily budget and improve their own placement. Keep an eye on your spending to see if there is anything out of the ordinary, and follow up with the Expedia Travel Ad fraud department if you notice abnormal activity.  When setting a budget be sure to take into consideration the cost per click (CPC). If you are bidding $1 a click, a $10 budget will likely net a much lower return, so try a cost per click bid that is tailored to your daily budget requirements.
  • Use Scheduled Ads – Scheduled ads allows you to enter specific booking and travel dates rather than the standard broad travel windows. Scheduled ads can be beneficial during special events and slow periods, and will replace your default ads when parameters are met, however there is an additional $.25 minimum bid charge. Scheduled ads can be a high occupancy hotel’s best friend. While busy hotels may not need to spend money on ads every day, there will always be need periods and booking date / stay date specific ads will fill these valleys. See an example of a scheduled ad below:

travelads.  

  • Improve your Expedia content scores – TravelAds are useful to drive clicks on your hotel page, however if you have poor content, return can be lower due to a poor booking experience for the guest. Make sure your photos and content are up to date and thorough.
  • Use targeting tools – Targeting tools allow you to better target potential guest by length of stay 3+, length of stay 6+ and check in within 0-48 hours. Here you can bid an additional amount for target segment. Each target segment can be useful when trying to fill last minute rooms or targeting longer length of stay guest which are more desirable.

  • Track your success – Travel ads strategies are market and property specific but should evolve as circumstances change. Take into consideration things such as events, how the property is pacing vs. last year performance, etc.  Success is heavily influenced by market conditions as some are more competitive than others, however a safe rule of thumb is seeing at minimum of a 10:1 return on the ROAS Clicked (ROAS Clicked = Rev Clicked / Spend).  Pay closer attention to the ROI, rank, and number of impressions than the ad coverage %. In large markets, a low ad coverage can still yield strong returns. Also, sometimes the % is based on a larger metro area when your hotel would more frequently be searched using a more specific keyword.

If you want to learn more about effectively using TravelAds, or the hotel revenue management services we provide, please contact us for more information.

Travel Ad Terms:

  1. AD COVERAGE The number of times your ad is displayed as a percentage of the maximum number of times your ad could have been displayed. Ad Coverage = Impressions/ Possible Impressions
  2. IMPS The number of times your ad is displayed. Every time your ad is displayed it counts as an impression, though you are only charged when someone clicks on your ad.
  3. CTR The number of times that users click on your ads divided by the number of times your ad is displayed. CTR = Clicks / Imps
  4. CPC The price you pay when someone clicks on your ad (you are charged when someone clicks on your ad, not every time your ad appears on a page). Cost-per-click varies according to competing bids and your maximum bid.
  5. RN EXPOSED The number of room nights that you receive from bookings that happened through the site as a result of users seeing your ad.
  6. RN CLICKED The number of room nights you receive from bookings that happened through the site as a result of users clicking on your ad.
  7. REV EXPOSED The amount of revenue that you receive from bookings through the site as a result of users seeing your ad.
  8. REV CLICKED The amount of revenue that you receive from bookings through the site as a result of users clicking on your ad.
  9. ROAS EXPOSED The return ratio between the revenue you receive as a result of users being exposed to your ad (Rev Exposed) and the amount of money you spend in advertising (Spend). ROAS = Rev Exposed / Spend
  10. ROAS CLICKED The return ratio between the revenue you receive as a result of users clicking on your ad (Rev Clicked) and the amount of money you spend in advertising (Spend). ROAS Clicked = Rev Clicked / Spend

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