, The 1-2 Punch Advertising Strategy for Driving Direct Bookings, Odysys

January 31, 2018

The 1-2 Punch Advertising Strategy for Driving Direct Bookings

You have likely heard the words Google AdWords and Retargeting. Maybe you have even invested in one of them as part of your digital marketing strategy. If so, you are on the right track to expanding your reach and bringing more quality traffic to your site. But we are here to tell you that running just one of these campaigns might not be enough. You should consider investing in them both. Running Google AdWords and Retargeting together will prove to be a great boost to your digital marketing efforts. Google AdWords helps drive more traffic to your site while retargeting brings all visitors back to your site. This is an effective 1-2 punch for both attracting more visitors and converting more direct bookings while also combatting OTAs like Expedia and Booking.com (who are already using both.) By using this 1-2 punch strategy, you will further amplify your reach and bring more highly qualified visitors to your site.

, The 1-2 Punch Advertising Strategy for Driving Direct Bookings, Odysys

Let’s start out by defining both.


Retargeting is a marketing tactic that shows ads for your property to visitors who looked at your website but did not book a stay. Retargeting ads encourage these potential guests to make a direct booking on your site once they have left it. Here’s how it works.

, The 1-2 Punch Advertising Strategy for Driving Direct Bookings, Odysys

Someone visits your site but leaves without making a booking. Later on, when that same person is browsing online using their computer, phone or tablet, they see your ad. Your ad “recaptures” their interest, and inspires them to return to your site and book a stay. Retargeting allows you to reach customers all across the web using all types of devices. You will reconnect with travelers who showed initial interest in your property but maybe abandoned it the first time around.

Retargeting ads are a tremendous way to capitalize on the traffic you are already bringing to your site.

These ads follow the user around, and can be shown on any website that has an ad block, as well as Facebook, Instagram and other social networks.But remember, retargeting only works when you have a sufficient audience list of those previous visitors to your website.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is an easy and effective way to ensure that your website comes out on top of the SERP, or the Search Engine Results Page. It is a paid service offered by Google that allows you to buy ad space at the top, or very near the top, of the Google results page based on your chosen keywords. Google AdWords will ensure that you rank high, beat out the OTAs, and entice potential guests to click. It is ideal for sending lots of highly qualified visitors to your website because they are either searching for lodging in your area (e.g.: asheville bed and breakfasts) or for your property specifically (e.g.: main street inn b&b).

Below, you will see the paid ads highlighted in RED. They appear above the organic search results in the SERP. As you can see, many of the results that appear at the top of the page are from OTAs. Using GoogleAdwords can help you get closer to the top.

, The 1-2 Punch Advertising Strategy for Driving Direct Bookings, Odysys

Why You Should Invest in Both

Used together, Google AdWords and Retargeting campaigns act as a powerful 1-2 punch that will dramatically improve your marketing efforts. Using both of these in tandem gets you the best of both worlds, because:

  1. You are sending people to your website who are either looking for the service you provide (lodging in your area) or looking for you specifically. They are already showing high intent to stay with you, so using both AdWords and Retargeting allows you to capitalize on this as much as possible.
  2. If, for whatever reason, these high-intent visitors don’t book their stay immediately, you can use Retargeting to follow them around the internet and remind them they were interested in booking a stay at your property.
  3. For an even more effective strategy, your Retargeting ads could include an enticing promo code or send people who click on them to a specific page on your website that has a special offer reserved just for Retargeted visitors.

How it Works in Real Life

This is all great in theory, but how does it work for a real hotel?

Here’s an example from a small motel based in Bend, Oregon. We launched a very small Google AdWords campaign focused on their brand (property) name and some basic category keywords like “bend motels” and “lodging in bend oregon”. AdWords alone starting bringing in direct bookings and generated a return on ad spend, or ROAS, of 23x (or $23 in revenue for every $1 spent) over the 3 months from April 1 – June 30, 2017.

We then layered in a Retargeting campaign using seasonal imagery and branded elements that highlighted key property features like their pool and location, along with a compelling call-to-action that enticed ad viewers to return to the motel’s website. This campaign assisted in driving additional direct bookings with a ROAS of 9x over the same time period. Combined, the 2 channels drove a ROAS of just under 15x, all for under a couple hundred dollars in ad spend each month.

In summary, you can use AdWords to get potential guests with high intent to your website (aka. Guests who are looking for you specifically or the service you provide) and then use Retargeting to close the loop on those that don’t book right away.

PS: If you’re an Odysys customer – we offer both AdWords and Retargeting campaigns as add-on professional services. Contact customer support if you’re interested in these services.

, The 1-2 Punch Advertising Strategy for Driving Direct Bookings, Odysys

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