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Anyone who’s been in the travel industry for a length of time knows that advertising with Google means they don’t give out their secrets easily, but Oliver Heckmann, head of Google’s travel product and vice president of engineering, may have revealed some of the tech giant’s perspective at the inaugural Skift Forum Europe in London. The forum was aimed at defining the future of travel and attracted some big players—but none as big as Google.

“From our perspective,” Heckmann said in a live interview with Dennis Schaal, Skift Editor, “We see flight search as an upper-funnel product and hotels as a lower-funnel product and our revenue story is that Hotel Ads is the key revenue driver in the travel space.”

This may be a boost for those hotels who have run paid search campaigns with Google. Hotels being a lower-funnel product mean that it’s likely more conversions are made from searches and people are less likely to research online but buy somewhere else.

Google Hotel Ads are clearly the main breadwinner for Google’s burgeoning travel division, with advertising for hotels paying off in the form of customers making bookings through the search engine, delivering money into the pockets of both Google and the hotel they book with. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved, as paid search campaigns with Google, when managed properly by accredited AdWords professionals, can be much cheaper than other channels.

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Advertising for hotels has always been tricky because of the odd space that hotels occupy between selling a service to their customers and making the customer feel relaxed and at home. However, with the increased focus on personalisation, and Heckmann admitting that Google Hotel Ads are seeing “high momentum now in Europe”, there’s never been a better time to run a paid search campaign to attract more guests to your business.

Heckmann also used his interview at the Skift Forum to talk about developing strategy in a world as fast-paced and as full of change as the internet, but it’s what hoteliers have known for years: think like the customer. “If you focus on the user you have a very defensible position to prove what you’ve done, you’ve done the right thing for consumers,” he told listeners. Strategy is still evolving and changing, as are regulations; however, focusing on the guest’s overall experience is one clear path to achieve a good outcome.

One downside of this news being reiterated in the digital realm, of course, is that it can be tough to know how to run a PPC campaign if you’ve never taken part in one before. It typically requires management and monitoring from day to day, and special training for employees to run, to get the results you want from it.

If you want to run a PPC campaign for your hotel but need help managing it so you can get on with the important job of running your business, contact Digital Hotelier to take advantage of our expertise.
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