As travel shoppers have shifted to researching and purchasing stays on their mobile devices—namely smartphones—travel marketers must take measures to better reach, engage and generate bookings from today’s on-the-go travelers.
The Mobile Craze
The Internet, and the way consumers use the Internet, is constantly evolving. More often than not, there’s a significant evolutionary step that affects the travel industry. OTAs, social media and mobile are a few examples. Mobile in particular has recently revolutionized the way hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts reach targeted shoppers. Just how important is mobile? Well, according to Google, 20% of all hotel related searches are conducted on mobile devices. eMarketer estimates that nearly 35% of U.S. smartphone users research travel on their devices, with around half of them making mobile bookings. Those numbers, which are rapidly rising, have independent and branded properties scrambling to not only build mobile websites (Greystripe recently found that smartphone users are more likely to use the mobile web versus apps for their travel needs), but also utilize pay-per-click advertising (PPC)… mobile PPC.
Benefits of Mobile PPC
Mobile PPC offers much of the same benefits as desktop PPC, only in a different environment:
- Greater Visibility and Revenue – Be found in search engines at anytime, meaning more mobile traffic and reservations.
- Targeted Control – Control which search queries your ads appear on based on targeted keywords and phrases.
- Complement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Use mobile PPC ads for quicker results.
- Customizable – Use persuasive messages tailored to mobile travel shoppers’ needs.
- Budget Control – Monitor your property’s budget (keyword bids are roughly the same as desktop PPC), and benefit with almost any size online marketing budget. And you can pay per click or pay per call.
- Intel – Measure the effectiveness of your ads with detailed analytics.
Best Practices for Mobile PPC
Mobile PPC works the same way as desktop PPC; it just allows properties to better reach travel shoppers on the Internet platform they often prefer – smartphones. There are however, a few differences, primarily the fact that mobile PCC reaches many last minute bookers. Here some best practices for mobile PPC:
- Integrated marketing is now vital considering the array of avenues travel shoppers have to research and purchase travel. Mobile PPC should be a part of your property’s integrated marketing, ensuring you have a consistent presence across channels.
- Mobile PPC is often for the on-the-go travelers – approximately 70% of the industry’s mobile bookings occur within one day of arrival. This is a great way to fill your last few empty rooms. These travelers may often have short stays but can also become loyal.
- Messages should be written specifically for on-the-go travelers. Messaging can also be catered to either leisure or business travelers.
Desktop PPC Ad
Mobile PPC Ad
Promotional Mobile PPC Ad
- Since last minute bookers are often already in their destination location and nearby, mobile PPC ad campaigns are typically run in a narrow, localized geographic radius. For example, a downtown San Diego hotel could run mobile PPC ads in a radius that covers downtown, the San Diego International Airport, and a few miles beyond (to also reach travelers driving into town).
- Your property should set realistic goals, in line with your mobile PPC budget. Whether it’s a certain percentage increase in traffic or a certain number of mobile bookings, these goals provide motivation and a benchmark for future mobile PPC initiatives.
- Testing is often a good way to maximize the effectiveness of campaigns. You can run ads with different keywords, messages, promotions, and more, and track them to pinpoint what will be most successful moving forward.
The Sequence of a Successful Mobile PPC Ad
Using the aforementioned “Downtown San Diego Hotel” ad as an example, there’s a sequence that normally occurs with mobile PPC ads. Ideally, a leisure or business traveler arrives at their location without a room for whatever reason. While they’re in their car, riding in the taxi or exiting a plane, they access the web on their Droid or iPhone, go to Google and search “downtown San Diego hotels.” From there, they see your PPC ad, and either “click to call” or visit your mobile website (a hotel must have a mobile-friendly website before mobile PPC), do a bit of research and book a room.
Mobile Websites and Mobile PPC are Imperative
Mobile-friendly websites arrived and quickly became a key component to hotels’ digital marketing. Now mobile PPC is heading the same direction. With the number of mobile Internet users expected to eclipse the number of desktop Internet users by 2014 (Morgan Stanley), it’s easy to see why travel marketers are embracing mobile. Mobile PPC offers the same flexibility and revenue producing capabilities that desktop PPC offers, only in one of the fastest growing Internet channels. 2012 is the time your property integrates a true mobile strategy into your marketing plan, and part of that strategy should be mobile PPC.