The State of Hotel Advertising: The Rise of Display in the World of Meta
Following our 2017 report on the state of metasearch, we have updated it to show the data and the progress since then. We created this new study to help hotels plan and allocate their marketing budgets in the coming weeks and months, by investing in the channels with the highest return on ad spend. In the original report, we highlighted the characteristics of each meta platform and its evolution over time. In the span of just three years, the advertising landscape has changed dramatically in our industry; Display advertising has become the second-highest performing advertising channel for hotels. When we began working on the follow-up to “The State of Metasearch”, we decided to analyse not only the canonical metasearch platforms, but to include all those advertising channels that, directly or indirectly, contribute to hotels’ direct revenue.
The chart below shows 2 clear phenomena: first, the huge increase in bookings linked to Digital Advertising as a whole (x3 since 2012) and second, the rapid growth of the bookings generated by Display Ads over the last few years.
Optimising Ad Spend: Best Practices
For any hotel advertising campaign, one needs to balance visibility and return on ad spend. We have tried to give as much information as possible on the various types of online advertising channels that are appropriate for hotels.
To summarise this study, we have gathered some best practices from our marketing consultants and analysts that can be used as a guide for any hotel wanting to optimise their online advertising spend and increase returns.
1- The Best Offer
Guests are always going to be interested in a better rate or a better offer. To increase chances of a conversion on your brand.com website, ensure your best offer is on the channel on which you want to maximise conversions.
A quality website optimised for conversion is critical. Key factors to this are high-quality images, fast load times and a website designed for mobile (which loads fast on mobile devices).
3-Booking Engine Performance
A good booking engine is quite subjective, however, the booking engine is key for converting incoming visitors into buyers. Some key attributes for your booking engine include: connected to Metasearch channels with a low error rate between published prices and actual prices, able to sell any type of rooms and rates, designed for mobile devices, streamlined user experience to final booking, and a good presentation of the rooms and rates.
4-Well set-up Tracking
To ensure your marketing efforts are being optimised, you need to ensure you are using a good tracking system; one which respects privacy and security of the website users while also reporting properly on the campaigns, sources and their performance. With the number of channels and campaigns possible, having a clear view on a macro and micro level of the various campaigns is critical.
5-Understanding the Shift to Mobile
We mentioned mobile-friendly websites and load-speed above. For several years now, traffic to hotel websites from mobile devices has been far more important than desktop traffic. However, bookings have remained very desktop centric. In the past few months, we have observed a marked increase in mobile bookings which underscores the importance of a mobile-friendly customer experience from inquiry through to booking (compared to just the presentation). In our recent research, we saw mobile bookings outpace desktop. While this might be a temporary change due to current circumstances, we recommend hotels observe this closely and adapt their booking experience for the shift.
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