How to Setup a Successful Google Remarketing Campaign for your Hotel

Google remarketing or retargeting provided a superb opportunities for hotels (and other online businesses) to really maximise their online revenue. If used correctly it can be an extremely powerful way to encourage previous visitors to your hotels website to complete their booking online. In this article we’re going to guide you through the exact steps required to create a successful Google retargeting campaign. If successful (and other factors are good, such as the level of availability at the hotel) then you can expect return on investment (ROI) to be as good as £4 : £1 – so four times your investment.

What is Google Remarketing

First of all a bit of background on what Google remarketing is. As a user of the internet, it’s going to be extremely likely that you’ve been a participant of remarketing campaigns already – unless you block cookies when browsing, or have some kind of block-advertisement software installed. Remarketing works by making use of cookies. When you visit a website, a cookie is installed on your machine. With Google remarketing, a piece of code on the website (if the site has opted to use remarketing) will add you (or your IP address) to a virtual list. Google will then make use of this data to re-advertise to you, when you’re browsing on other websites, which are part of the Google Display Network (millions of websites are members of the Google Display Network, so it’s very difficult to avoid these ads when you’re online).

The idea is that you browse on a website, get added to the remarketing list, then Google lets the advertiser/site owner display ads to you, because you visited their site already and so are a really targeted, relevant user. Remarketing can be a bit more complicated than the above description; it can be setup based on your browsing behaviour, so for example if you visit a certain part of the website, or if you don’t visit a certain part of the website, and so forth. It can also track you based on how you arrived onto the site, and can combine a lot of these features to make some very complicated lists.

Remarketing for Hotels

So based on the above, the best way a hotel can use this is to advertise to people who’ve already visited their hotels website, but whom haven’t completed a booking. So thankfully this is quite simple to setup, but it will also depend on your booking system and the type of software your site uses. Hopefully when a user completes a booking at your site they are taken to some kind of thank you page / confirmation page, which nobody else would be able to access. In this case we would use this as part of the remarketing list definition – so we’re telling Google “We would like to target people who haven’t arrived on the booking confirmation page, but whom have visited our website”.
Next we’d be creating relevant adverts to show to these people whilst their browsing the internet, trying to tempt them back onto the hotel website in order to complete their booking. Then it would be a case of getting the campaigns setup on Google AdWords, the Google paid-advertising programme.

A Step by Step Guide

1. Find out which user you would be targeting. Does your hotel have a booking confirmation page? If so, you should take part of the URL and make a note of this; this will be important for when we’re defining our list within Google AdWords.

Hotel URL booking confirmation

2. Create the Display Campaign in Google AdWords. Just create a Display campaign, then choose the remarketing option. See the screenshots below for the exact procedure to follow to set this up.

3. After setting up the campaign we need to setup the remarketing list. Open the Shared Library from the AdWords campaign homepage, then select Remarketing. This is where we will enter the URL as found in step 1, to define the type of user we’d like to target. This list will take some time to build up, depending on your website traffic, so it’s good to get this started asap. Google won’t advertise to an audience until there’s at least 1000 members active. Choosing options like list duration are other factors to consider which may vary according to your typical hotel bookers. We normally stick to around 60 days for the duration.

4. Next comes the creative part of the process; getting the banners designed. Go for the most popular Google banner sizes (160×600, 120×600, 468×60) and ensure that your banner focuses on a unique offer which is relevant for the user. An exclusive discount works well for remarketing. Remember, this visitor has been to your site already. They don’t need to know you have WiFi now in your remarketing ad – they need a compelling reason to return to complete their booking. Take a look at some examples of remarketing adverts below.

5. Upload your banners to the Display/Remarketing campaign that you’ve already set up in step 2. Define cost-per-clicks, daily budgets, and so on. These are normally limited to around £5 per day, unless your website gets huge levels of traffic. Ensure that your adverts are linking to a page that welcomes the user back to the site or shows the exclusive offer that they’re now entitled to. Don’t frustrate users by sending them to your homepage – with no mention of the discount that you’d promised in your ads!

6. Review, test and review! No campaign improves without constant monitoring and tweaking. If you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for, dig a little deeper to find out why. Have you set your audience up correctly? Did you bid high enough on your campaign CPC’s? Is your offer compelling enough for the user to a) return and b) complete their booking? Does your hotel have good levels of availability online, or are you sold out for the next few weeks already?

7. Further options. These include setting up options like a frequency cap; so you can limit the number of times per day that someone sees your ad – important if you don’t want to annoy your site visitors. What about using remarketing in a slightly different way; perhaps you could also retarget users to specific pages of your website, like your wedding enquiries page? This could be a good way to re-advertise to what is likely a very valuable visitor.

If you’re making use of Remarketing on Google already and have seen some good results we’d love to hear your story below. Perhaps you’d like to critique our setup above, or share with us your own tips for success. In future guides we’d like to take a look at remarketing for search, and other features of Google remarketing that are worthy of your attention.

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