Looking to generate more online leads and sales for your travel- or tourism-industry business in a way that fits your budget and offers the best return on investment (ROI)?
It’s possible! In fact experts have it down to a near science, though deft handling is required to avoid getting lost on the now fast-paced and ever-changing information highway.
Manage your budget and maximize ROI by following best practices and becoming familiar with the below insights and advice:
Conversion rates are a challenge, particularly for the travel industry. The travel and tourism sector actually has the lowest conversion rates on Google Ads (smartinsights.com). The conversion rates for Google Search average 1.45% (compared to 4.23% for business and industrial). For Google Display Network, the travel industry sees conversion rates averaging 2.99% (compared to 4.10% for other business and industrial companies) (business2community.com). This means you’ll want to carefully monitor conversions against your marketing dollars to see what’s working and what’s not so that you can modify your plan as you move forward.
The most-used keywords cost more. The keywords most travel and tourism companies will intuitively use for online advertising – like holiday or travel – are expensive. An extensive study of the Google AdWords model done in recent years estimates the average cost per conversion for travel industry businesses is $20 on Google Search and nearly $10 on Google Display Network (smartinsights.com). A trained Google Adwords manager and a skillful content writer are essential for keyword research, competition analysis, campaign setup, ad and landing page copywriting l get attention from qualified leads without blowing your advertising budget on the priciest keywords.
Know where to put your money. It pays to benchmark industry success and stay abreast of the prevailing trends. For instance, online travel companies like Priceline typically make more from hotel reservations (97% of revenue) than from commission on air travel (just 1.7% of revenue) (fool.com). With a little planning you can target qualified leads when they are poised to buy products and services.
Learn from travel & tourism industry leaders. Not sure if it’s wise to allocate advertising dollars toward digital marketing? Travel industry leaders Priceline and Expedia are spending vast amounts on global digital ads. How much? A recent eMarketer report indicates that at $1.8 billion, Priceline Group spent the most in 2013. Forecasters anticipate that in 2014 Google will reap $1.5 billion from the Priceline Group and around $1 billion from Expedia Inc. Overall the U.S. travel industry is expected to spend nearly 25% more on digital advertising this year (skift.com).
Google is serious about travel industry advertising revenue. Already Google garners a lion’s share of travel and tourism dollars, but according to business industry analysts the giant is looking for ways to improve its profitability in this sector. Some people are worried Google, with its incredible opportunities for online traffic, is after the travel booking business. However, leading analysts feel those concerns are misplaced and that Google will pursue ways to maximize travel advertising profit margins and continue to focus on search engine marketing (businessinsider.com). The important takeaway here is that Google AdWords is not going to fade in importance for the travel and tourism industry.
So the big question is, how do travel and tourism businesses make digital advertising like Google Ads work to grow their businesses? Here is what you need to know to get value from online advertising:
ROI is possible with the right online marketing strategy. With a market as expansive as the global internet, those in the travel and tourism industry need to consider carefully what will capture the attention of target demographics.
When designed well, Google Ads can work for the travel industry. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and display ads can generate qualified leads and sales when written and placed effectively. Most notably Facebook now allows for “custom audiences” retargeting, which appeals to advertisers who know ads will reach users who have expressed interest and are further down the purchase funnel (usatoday.com).
A hybrid approach offers impact. The travel industry continues to spend billions on digital advertising, but while mobile paid search is the new favorite given the rise in popularity for smartphones and tablets, desktop search and SEO still present opportunities. Consider the success some travel advertisers have driving bookings from retargeting and keyword targeting across display networks (emarketer.com).
Mobile ads are highly effective when relevant. A recent study of mobile advertising shows a significant increase in mobile ad engagement, with nearly 50% of users saying mobile ads are helpful and effective and the same number taking more action after clicking on the ads. Mobile device users are motivated to click on an ad if it appears when they are in the process of searching with intent to purchase – and nearly 60% want to see a business phone number (searchenginejournal.com).
Plan how you allocate ad dollars. While including mobile ads in a travel and tourism strategy is important, Google search advertising is still very valuable. It is slowly declining as mobile advertising grows, but keyword search should still be part of a company’s online strategy until travel and tourism businesses offer mobile-optimized experiences with apps and websites designed to engage with mobile users (tnooz.com).
Budget for success. Business owners need to watch the bottom line; clients are concerned about cost. An effective campaign will require an investment, but should generate business. A small business might consider spending anywhere between $300 – $1500 a month in media buy for a small local online advertising campaign. A larger local or regional online campaign could require between $1500-$5,000 a month. If the intent is to target several regions or launch a national or overseas campaign, a realistic budget could be $5000+ a month depending on your unique business, targeting and advertising campaign goals.
The digital marketing and advertising experts at Stir Tourism are ready to help travel, tourism, and hospitality businesses grow their online presence and leverage online advertising and mobile web solutions to generate leads and sales.
Contact the Stir Tourism team for a free estimate or a free 30-minute consultation to learn how we can manage all aspects of social media content for your travel or tourism business.
You might also be interested in taking advantage of our free website and online presence analysis report. We’ll help you to understand the results and use that information to craft a built-for-success online marketing strategy.
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