PPC Playbook Episode 27: January Advertising Opportunities for Peak Travel Season

PPC Playbook is hosted by PPC experts, Shane Ryans and Maria Perilli. Episode 27 invites Google executive, Marco Reginelli, to discuss advertising opportunities for the annual travel spike. This peak travel season runs from January to April due to ski season, spring break and the overwhelming need to get away to someplace warmer, which causes a spike in cruises and all-inclusive vacation packages.

Booking Windows Extend

Usual booking windows may be extended during this period since customers are doing more research before booking longer vacations. Review your Time Lag reports (explained in Episode 14) to see how long it takes for a typical user to convert.

Destination Seasonality

Review AdWords and Analytics data to find seasonal peaks at the destination level. As an advertiser, you can be prepared to reach out to those people at the right time, with the right message to bring them to your website to make that booking.

100% Keyword Coverage

Review your keyword groups and be sure to include destination terms within the phrases. Don’t miss out on travelers directly searching for you, bid on your brand terms. Use tools like the Google Keyword Planner to expand your keywords and capture demand in all forms.

Flexible Budgets

It is to your advantage to be flexible with your ad budget to capture spikes and go after demand when it happens. You can be flexible and still control exposure through bid strategies by focusing on cost-per-acquisition, return on ad spend and profit made.

Geo-targeted Strategy

Analyze your historical data to see where the most demand is coming from. Get creative with those geolocations and push when those markets are really interested in a particular product or destination.

Target International Markets

There may be an opportunity for some advertisers to show ads to international travelers who are ready to book a vacation, and in some cases may be cheaper to bid in those markets.

Target All Devices

Mobile traffic accounts for 20-40% of all travel related searches and is growing rapidly year after year. If you’re mobile-ready, be sure to have a mobile ad strategy, include click-to-call and location extensions. Refer to Episode 12 for information about mobile advertising and Episode 21 for help with ad extensions.

Remarketing Opportunities

Reach out to potential customers during their research and inspiration stage and followup with them when they get closer to making their decision. Use remarketing lists for Search ads, Display ads and Video ads with specific messages and a goal of pulling them back in to book sooner.

Google Flight Search and Google Hotel Finder

These search tools provide real-time pricing and availability to help with traveler research. Google has been working to make these products available globally.

Google Hotel Finder

If you’re an independent hotel, get listed within Google Hotel Finder by creating and optimizing your Google My Business page. Also be sure you’re connected to a Global Distribution System (GDA) and/or Online Travel Agency (OTA) for inventory availability.

If you’re an OTA or large hotel chain, you can gain access to an exclusive service called Google Hotel Price Ads, which allows bidding for prominent placement within Hotel Finder. Some Central Reservation Systems (CRS) also may have access to Hotel Price Ads and often resell the service to independent hotels.

Google Flight Search

Google says flight search results are not influenced by any paid relationships, but they also say they “will be exploring advertising opportunities within the page to showcase the products and services from other relevant partners, including OTA and metasearch partners.”

Throughout this time of year, be very active in managing, watching, paying attention to trends and be ready to respond quickly by adjusting your strategy accordingly. Reach potential customers when they’re looking for your products or services with the right message at the right time and be sure you’re capturing that demand throughout their travel planning process.