5 reasons your hotel needs to use Retargeting Campaigns

Remarketing banner It’s quite difficult nowadays to browse the Internet without seeing retargeting campaigns in use, based on your previous web history. For those who are unaware, retargeting adverts are an intelligent form of online advertising based on the sites you’ve visited previously, and the actions you have or haven’t completed.

They work by using cookies (at least traditionally anyway) and so when you visit a website making use of retargeting, a piece of code on the site is stored in your cookies, and that site then adds you to a list of users whom they will then advertise to directly. This list of users is called an audience, and these audiences are normally created using Google Analytics and Google AdWords. This means one of the places you’ll find a lot of retargeting ads running is on the Google Display Network, Google’s network of millions of websites which enables publishers to monetise their web content.

Facebook is another platform which has quite recently adopted the retargeting technology, and so now you can also see these retargeting ads directly in your Newsfeed based on your web history, and in the right-side bar of the huge social network.

Retargeting (also known as Remarketing) can provide a huge opportunity for hotels to maximise on their direct online bookings, and here’s a list why:

1. Capitalise on missed bookings

The main purpose behind retargeting campaigns is that you can re-advertise your message to a specific audience which you know is highly interested in your brand or product; they’ve been on your website after all! With the customisation that is possible, you can create audiences using rules. So an obvious rule for a hotel would be to build an audience based on visitors to the website who haven’t arrived on your booking-confirmation page. This means you’re advertising to those people who didn’t book a stay at your hotel. A simple and effective way to encourage them to book would be to offer an additional discount, so your banner advert could read “save 10% when you book using this link” (or promo code). This is a great way to capitalise on missed bookings.

2. Prevent your customer from shopping around

Following on from the above point, if you’re offering an exclusive or special discount to previous non-bookers on your site, not only can you capitalise on missed bookings but you can also prevent the customer from shopping around. You can be sure that if they didn’t book, they will now be browsing the OTA’s for better deals, or even-worse checking out other nearby hotels. Your retargeting banner can prompt them into completing their booking, before they book elsewhere.

3. Because if you don’t, your competitors will

We’re not a huge fan of following the norm simply because you feel obliged. Not all marketing strategies work after all. But we’ve seen great returns from the retargeting campaigns we’ve run on the Google display network, often getting a £4 : £1 return. But another important point is that if you don’t make use of it, you know your rivals will. Booking.com is an example of an online travel agency which invests heavily in remarketing. Obviously they are a huge selling machine, with a massive portfolio of hotels to promote (they don’t care after all which hotel the user decides to stay at). However they invest heavily in it because they know it works. Would you want to risk not carrying out retargeting ads when you know people who visit your property at Booking.com will then be seeing retargeting ads for your hotel, and other hotels, when they’re online? If you want to grow your direct business then you should care about that.

4. Additional branding benefits

Not everyone likes the idea of being “followed” when their browsing the internet. Luckily for them you can choose to opt-out of this form of advertising through Google, so there’s a simple fix for those who are strongly against it. You can also set impression-caps within the AdWords interface, meaning you can limit the number of times an individual sees your ad with 24 hours. This allows you quite a lot of control over the campaign, setting limits so you don’t constantly bombard your visitor. But there are additional benefits to retargeting beyond the obvious return on investment – branding. By making use of the Google Display Network, your advert can be displayed on some huge, highly prominent websites. Sites like the BBC.com and the Daily Telegraph are just 2 examples of big brands that make use of the network to monetise their web content. There are some obvious benefits to having your brand associated with the likes of these companies, so it can work to cement your reputation and build association with your visitors.

5. They allow creative advertising opportunities

So you’ve got the ablity to advertise directly to users who’ve been to your website and whom haven’t made a booking. Did you realise that you can tailor this further, based on specific pages they’ve visited? So if you have a wedding section of your site, and you wanted to push this side of your business. Why not create a custom audience based on visitors to wedding pages on your site, and then display tailored wedding ads to them? You can widen this audience to visits within the last year, if your audience size is relatively small, and can run larger campaigns when “wedding season” is due to begin.
Or perhaps you’re a larger hotel with a careers page. Maybe you rarely add positions to the page as you don’t often hire. But you’ve just opened up a position and you want people to know about it, and fast. So why not create a retargeting campaign, promoting this position, based on visitors to this page? You know that if someone has found their way onto your careers page they’re going to be a highly relevant user, and so running a campaign in this manner can really help you to broaden the search for your next employer.

Hopefully from the above points you will see why every hotel should be using retargeting campaigns. We’d focus on a Google retargeting campaign to start with, and then when you’re happy with the performance you can try your hand at pushing it out further to the likes of Facebook.

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