PPC tips for travel marketers

Align your digital strategy to capture summer travellers

It was the winter that never happened. At least that’s how it seemed here in Ontario. But whether the snow was blowing or the sun was shining, one thing holds true, and that’s the predictability of travellers. When it comes to travel in the search marketing space, there is a lot of logicality around user search behaviour for each season.

As search marketers, we can gain valuable insight into these seasonal trends by employing geographic reporting and search volume tools, such as Google Insights for Search. As this year’s un-winter passes and summer lurks just around the corner, now is the time for travel-industry marketers to maximize PPC (pay per click) efforts for the summer season.

The seasonal search trend

Search volumes for particular destinations often depend on proximity to destination. For example, search volume for the keyword phrase “BC holidays” tends to increase in nearby Washington, but does not see the same level of increase in California. Similarly, search volume for “Mexico vacations” may increase on the West Coast, while “Cuba vacations” sees an increase on the East Coast.

Let’s take a closer look at how a summer travel promotion might unfold.

The PPC campaign

BC Summer Campaign – the target audience is comprised of people planning their summer vacation to British Columbia.

The PPC objective

To advertise BC as a vacation destination using paid ads, the goal is to engage long-haul travellers residing in Alberta and Eastern Canada. By serving up useful BC-related content and travel planning tools, we motivate and guide users along the purchase path.

The travel marketer’s PPC strategy

Implement the following tactics to reach the searcher at a variety of touch-points throughout their trip-planning research, ultimately ensuring that the campaign objectives are met.

  • Captivate the user’s emotion with descriptive power words, such as “sun-kissed,” “white sandy beaches,” or “snow-capped mountains.” These keywords will help you target the type of vacation users are seeking.
    • Create customized landing pages offering helpful information such as recommended itineraries, activities, and special offers on accommodation.
    • AdWords experiments allow you to test different landing pages and adjust the campaign as needed.
    • Use a remarketing strategy to promote hotel deals and car rentals.
    • Banner ads and content network text ads are used to maximize visibility.
    • Click-to-call mobile campaign is used to generate calls to an information centre.

The results

  • Strong user engagement metrics, such as the length of time spent on the site and number of pages per visit.
    • Positive goal conversion rates in the form of accommodation bookings, contest entries, downloads, and newsletter sign-ups.
    • Landing page testing returns key information. Putting a testing framework in place at the launch of your campaign can help you gain more insight into the types of offers and interactions that appeal to your target audience, which will ultimately drive more visitor conversions.

Key takeaways

Do your research to gain a solid understanding of your best performing geographic markets. Segment each campaign and tailor keyword buys accordingly. Create distinct ad copy using carefully selected keyword phrases that speak to the different user behaviours across various markets.

Ensure you always have an end goal in mind for your PPC campaigns. Attracting more visitors into your lead generation funnel will help you maintain an ongoing conversation with travellers. It will also provide an opportunity to remarket to them throughout peak travel seasons.

Get more tips on maximizing your pay per click strategy with Mediative’s cheat sheets.