Every hotel should be advertising on Google, but not necessarily in the most common process of ‘bidding’ on search terms and having a text-ad appear on page one of Google. Google Ads (formally AdWords) has a multitude of ways in which a hotel can advertise – these are split into ‘search’ and ‘display’.
A search ad appears on Google when a customer types in something like ‘Hotels in Manchester’ and you happen to be bidding on that search term. This can be expensive because ultimately your hotel will be competing with every major OTA to appear and you will be paying on a pay-per-click basis. It’s not unusual to pay somewhere between £1-3 for a single click to your website, only for that customer to bounce straight off your website.
This approach is mostly inadvisable for hotels, not only because of the heavy cost, but when customers are looking for a hotel to stay, Google is normally their first port of call – meaning you’re getting your hotel in front of them right at the very start of their buying journey. And if it’s a particularly important hotel stay – like an anniversary or birthday break – that buying journey could take weeks or even months to decide.
A much better approach to Google Ads is to use ‘display’ advertising. These are made up of the banner ads that appear all over the internet. In particular, your hotel should be using remarketing display ads – so named because you are only advertising to people who have been on your website before. Technically, what we’re doing here is dropping a cookie on their browser and ‘following’ the user around the internet with image ads in the hope that they click and return to your website for a second look. It’s important your hotel uses this form of advertising for two reasons: 1) it’s cheap! For a cost of about £25 per month you can advertise approx. 25,000 times. 2) It’s highly targeted – you’re only advertising to people who have already shown some interest in your hotel.
So, yes, you should be advertising on Google – prioritise remarketing display ads, and if budget allows, use search ads too.