Should your hotel be using Bing for PPC Advertising

One of my pet hates is when somebody answers a question with another question. So when a client asks me if they should be using Bing PPC search ads, unfortunately I’m forced to reply with one of my own; are you looking to grow your direct bookings online in the US?

Bing usage, according to the latest research (http://semincbook.com/country-search-engines/) is predominately in the US where it accounts for around 20% of all search queries carried out. That might not seem like a large figure, but you’d be very naive to ignore it based on this, especially if you did feel that you had a lot of potential bookers based in the US.

Recently the usage of Bing in the UK and Ireland markets in particular has grown, and this is likely to be a result of the hardware that Bing is often bundled-with as its default search engine. Ipads and suchlike set Bing as a default browser, and without wanting to offend anyone there’s a large percentage of tablet users who perhaps aren’t so tech-savvy, and perhaps aren’t aware that they can switch their search engine to Google or another. And that’s no insult to Bing either; the search engine is actually very fast and provides some good results, sometimes better than that of Google’s. But from a hotels perspective, there is a large chunk of users who are quite affluent and are making use of Bing – ideal customers for many hotels.

So Bing PPC shouldn’t be just for those hotels wanting to grow bookings online from the US; it can also benefit those bookings coming in from the UK and Ireland, and likely other bigger markets around Europe. Bing’s own advertising platform works in a nearly identical way to Google AdWords, so there isn’t much worth documenting when it comes to making the switch. The obvious difference will be that your average spend on Bing should be a lot lower as there are less users, but if you’re a non-US based hotel you can assume that your average hotel booking value is going to be a lot higher as these are travellers looking for more than just a one-night stay; many times the travellers from the US will be on a several-week long vacation – it’s a long flight from the West after all.

Advertising on Bing would be recommended for those hotels already with a lot of offline marketing activity in the US, or those simply looking to build their market share here. Bidding on the hotels brand name would be the best way to generate a high-return from the PPC ads whilst also carrying out some much needed brand-protection – even if your hotel isn’t active on Bing PPC, you can guarantee that your OTA’s will be bidding on your brand name already. Simply by using Bing PPC you could be carrying out some essential brand-protection, preventing some valuable bookers from using sites like TripAdvisor to book instead of your own.
Hotels can also look to build their brand by running some small non-brand campaigns, advertising to users who may be in the research phrase of their holiday planning, who will be searching broader; “hotels in Paris” for example, or “boutique hotels in Prague”. These non-brand campaigns will have very high cost-per-clicks ($2+) but they still form part of an essential PPC marketing campaign.

Hopefully now you will have seen some of the benefits of making use of the often-forgotten search engine that is Bing. You’d have to be quite foolish to ignore it’s potential completely, and any hotel that’s serious about growing their US bookings, or protecting their direct bookings across all sources, should set-up an advertising campaign on Bing today.

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