News for the Hospitality Executive
Pros and Cons: Purchasing Hotel Branded Keyword Terms
Paid Search Marketing On the Main Search Engines
by Max Starkov and Evan Rosenblum, July 2009
We at HeBS are often asked whether it is necessary to purchase the hotel branded keyword terms (property names, trademarks, hotel brand names) in paid search marketing on the main search engines Google, Yahoo.
This is a great question, indeed- do we really need to purchase our own brand terms? Even if the hotel site is coming up number 1 organically, do we have to launch a paid search campaign using the hotel brand name terms? Isn’t this a waste of advertising dollars? This question has actually been on SEM practitioners’ minds for quite some time.
Search Marketing (SEM) has become one of the most popular online advertising formats. Actually, 45% of every advertising online dollar is spent on paid search today. SEM is an essential component of a hotel’s direct online distribution strategy.
HeBS is one of the early adopters of Pay-per-click (PPC) Marketing. Our experts have been actively using and managing PPC campaigns for clients since 1997. Over the years HeBS has managed the PPC marketing campaigns of hundreds of hotel companies, from large hotel brands to small boutique properties. This expertise translates into saving precious marketing dollars for its clients.
There are several reasons why you need paid search campaigns (PPC) focused on the official property names/trademarks/brand names:
You can brand your hotel paid search listing as “This is the official website” of the property to differentiate it from various third-party paid and organic listings for your hotel, including TripAdvisor, all major OTAs (Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline), including thousands of OTA affiliates that use hotel brand names in their PPC on a consistent basis.
Online Travel Purchasing Habits
The above is witnessed by our experience with Omniture Search Center, the most sophisticated paid search management technology today. HeBS utilizes Omniture SearchCenter for all of its hotel clients, and we are tracking the so called “keyword stacking” i.e. conversion and assist keyword terms for any PPC campaign. Quite often conversions come from brand term clicks, while the generic keyword terms play an assist role.
This is one of the reasons why hotel brand terms will always have the highest revenues associated with them. Generic keywords act as conversion “assist” keywords and generally will not yield as much revenue or as high Return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) as the brand terms.
Search Engine User Behavior
The Competition is Waiting!
Double your Visibility!
So even if your organic listing is on page one, this is still only 1 listing out of 10 organic listings, plus a minimum of 4-5 paid ads coming up. Simple logic and probability says that your site has less than 10% chance to be clicked on with those odds. However, if you also have a paid listing, now you are doubling your odds and have an approximate 20% chance to have one of your listings clicked on.
Control Your Marketing Message
There have been several well-publicized case studies in this regard about well known travel brands (Marriott and Delta).
In February of 2008, Marriott (by far the most recognized hotel brand worldwide) experimented with stopping all brand-name related PPC campaigns, both at the brand level and property level (the properties’ own campaigns). After they saw a “significant drop in revenue,” Marriott quickly resumed the brand name PPC campaigns. All major hotel brands are spending heavily on the brand name related keyword terms.
When Delta Airlines (now the biggest airline in the world with one of the most recognizable brand names in the U.S. today) stopped purchasing their “brand” terms in early 2008, total revenue decreased, total visits to the brand site decreased and their test proved that utilizing both PAID and ORGANIC brand terms in your marketing plans yields the best results.
Based on the findings outlined above, our own extensive experience in search marketing, plus industry’s best practices and benchmark tests by major industry players, it has been undoubtedly proven that the best strategy in search marketing is to use both organic and brand terms in your PPC campaigns.
|Also See:||A Hoteliers How-To Guide to Online Advertising and Media Buying / October 2008|
|Ten Standards for Promoting Your Hotel Online / March 2008|