From quaint, boutique hotels to sleek high rises, today’s traveler has no shortage of lodging options. Global hotel inventory has boomed in the last decade, growing 18 percent from 2008 to 2018. While capturing the attention of travelers in a saturated market is increasingly challenging, successful hotel marketers and revenue managers are still able to stand out against the competition.
Successful revenue managers and marketers connect with qualified audiences by ensuring that an optimized listing for their property appears in qualified search engine results. Our TravelAds solution—premium placements in hotel search results alongside hotel search results—is designed to convert those travel shoppers who are ready to book.
This post is the first in our series on optimizing TravelAds. If you are working on establishing best practices for your TravelAds program, you will probably also want to read the second post in the series, “TravelAds with Expedia Group: Testing ‘Always On’.”
While the sponsored listing solution provides a proven competitive edge, just how much edge can vary greatly. This is because TravelAds is a highly customizable solution: Simple to use, yet sophisticated and dynamic. If used smartly, it can help hotels drive occupancy without sacrificing their Average Daily Rate (ADR) by converting the right travelers at the right time.
Plan, Plan, Plan!
Angie Santin, a TravelAds Senior Business Development Manager based in Canada, has seen her most successful TravelAds partners align their sponsored listing program with their overarching marketing plans. Instead of operating TravelAds in a silo (and consequently with limited budget and low visibility) she recommends sharing the program with the rest of the marketing team. Some people hesitate to share the details of their TravelAds program broadly because they have either received questions in the past or they are worried that they won’t be able to answer the questions that might come up. If you are concerned that your colleagues will have questions, misinformation or objections, use your TravelAds account manager as a resource. They can help you address the questions that you might encounter internally.
Once you feel prepared, here are a few steps you can take to share your TravelAds plan with your colleagues:
- Identify your predictable need periods and plan to cover those periods with TravelAds. Need help aligning your ads with your need dates? Reach out to your TravelAds consultant.
- Set your Budgets: from daily to quarterly or annual budgets.
- Feeling constrained on the budgetary front? Test shifting some budget from under-performing marketing channels to TravelAds.
- Share your TravelAds approach and goals with your manager and team; help them see how your TravelAds goals are aligned with their goals.
- Ensure that they understand the TravelAds plan by sharing budget, objectives and other plan details.
- Share and celebrate results –adhoc and/or via regular emails or meetings.
- Mark your calendar to make seasonal changes to your ads.
- Reflect on your property’s popular characteristics. Might their popularity shift with the seasons? For example, outdoor, sunny pictures and ad copy about walkability might resonate differently with different markets during different seasons.
- Set up time with your TravelAds account manager for quarterly reviews to ensure alignment on business goals. Work with them to adjust your targeting, budgeting, and creative to build on your campaign successes.
Like the best marketing tools and programs, the value you get out of TravelAds is proportional to the effort you put in. But, unlike many hotel marketing solutions, TravelAds takes very little time and effort to go from beginner to expert. If you align your TravelAds program with the rest of your marketing efforts, and increase the planning and visibility of your program, we are confident that you will see positive results. Learn more about getting the most out of your TravelAds program.