With the summer season just around the corner, many of us are busy finalising our holiday plans. But for travel sector companies, it’s just the opposite: summer marks the beginning of a peak season.
After years of experience in the travel sector, we’ve found that setting up paid media campaigns is a lot like preparing for a trip.
In celebration of summer, check out our essential PPC travel sector checklist on how to optimise your paid summer campaigns and make this summer your most successful season yet.
1. Choose your destination based on logic
When planning our travels, many of us get excited and dream of faraway lands or setting off to experience exotic foods and cultures.
Yet going global all at once isn’t always practical, especially for your wallet.
Start with shorter, more local expeditions to test the water. Once you’re an experienced traveller, you can begin to explore the limits of your reach.
Finally, remember that communication is fundamental for every traveller. Ask yourself whether you can speak your audience’s language, literally for your ad copy and landing pages, but also in knowing their interests in behaviour.
Here are a few key issues to consider when selecting your destination (and determining your targeting).
- Time: Fix the duration of the campaign, with specific start and end dates
- Budget: Set a campaign budget, thinking how far you could stretch it if performance is strong
- Expectations: Define your measures of success (e.g. number of visitors, revenue, online sales, quote requests, etc.)
2. Journey off the beaten track
Let’s say you’re visiting the Canary Islands. Sure, you’ll enjoy your luxury resort stay in Lanzarote, but think what a better story it’ll be when you regale your friends with tales of your trek in La Graciosa, a picturesque fishing village with lush Jurassic scenery.
The same principle applies when selecting keywords.
Start with long-tail keywords, which are tailored specifically to your offering. The search volume may be lower, but there is someone out there looking for exactly what you’re offering. Long-tail keywords ensure that your ads always rise to the top of specific searches.
Once you’ve covered long-tail keywords, you can start experimenting with more general keywords. Make sure that you acquire more control over the terms you are showing for with the addition of negative keywords, as well.
Here’s an example of how that escalation works:
In this case, examples of negative keywords include terms such as “cheap” or “beach.”
3. Book in advance to avoid disappointment
Although some travellers are able to make successful last-minute plans, you should always book in advance to avoid disappointment.
For travel sector marketers, summer starts around Christmas, if not earlier. Prepare your summer campaigns ahead of time so that they’re ready to go live once the offer is finalised.
Once everything starts getting hectic, you can invest your time on important optimisation rather than on additional keyword research or campaign building.
Don’t forget that travellers plan for their summer holidays throughout the year. Consider running some key summer holiday terms year round to account for any eager early birds.
4. Choose your travel companions wisely
You’re going to be spending quite some time with these guys, and there’s no way to avoid them. Don’t rush into a decision.
Make everyone’s trip more pleasant by choosing people that you can count on and who will add to the holiday fun.
From your marketing agency to your PPC software provider, your partners all have their own special skills to contribute to your campaigns. Assess the people in your circle, and recruit those with something to offer as well as gain. Maybe that’s your colleagues. An account manager can offer sturdy support, and a content expert will ensure that your sponsored content looks presentable.
5. Be ready to fight for your spot in the sun
Isn’t it annoying when you can’t get a decent room or table because a “large group booking” got there first?
Travel Sector PPC is one of the most competitive digital arenas. You could even find yourself competing for your own brand terms.
Companies with big budgets and an even bigger list of destinations and hotels will try to occupy as much space as possible, pushing your party to the small table at the back – for SERPs, that’s position five or lower.
Fortunately, there are some handy ways you can fight for your share of the sun:
- Don’t neglect bidding on your own branded terms, especially if that’s what your competitors are doing. You’re already expected to have higher clickthrough rates and quality scores. That means you can outrank your competitors while paying less per click.
- Avoid highly competitive keywords such as “holidays to Spain” as much as you can. You can go broader once you exhaust long-term keyword opportunities or if you wish to build brand awareness.
- Improve quality scores by testing ad copy variations and different landing pages, using clickthrough and conversion rates as your metrics of success.
- Perform search query reports regularly to get a better grasp of the terms your audience are searching for.
PPC Bonus Tip: Take lots of photos
Holidays are a highly visual product, so don’t forget to design attractive banners or social media ads.
If there’s room for one more on your journey, we’d love to help with your travel campaign planning and implementation. Ambergreen have worked with a wide range of travel sector businesses, from travel agents to hotels, building a solid track record of success.