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A Guide to Online Ads for Hoteliers

A Guide to Online Ads for Hoteliers

Facebook & Instagram have become key players in the advertising business over the last several years by offering modern and innovative formats to promote a hotel or destination. In this article, we will explain how to launch your first social advertising campaign and how to incorporate data into your storytelling strategy.

Social vs. Google Ads

Facebook & Instagram ads and Google ads are often viewed in the same way, but there are two fundamental differences between them: User behavior and context.

User behavior

Purchasing keywords on Google makes it possible to target a precise request. For example, when someone searches for "hotel in Berlin" they are likely looking to stay at a hotel in Berlin. Social ads are different. Information is displayed in the feeds of certain users and as a brand, I can target a group of individuals based on geographic, demographic and/or affinity criteria. For example, I can target people who play golf, like the spa, go skiing, etc. and then ad for my property will appear in their news feed.

It is important to keep this difference in mind as it can lead to confusion in the interpretation of campaign results. When you compare the ROI of a "brand protection" campaign on Google Ads (such as buying the keywords of a hotel) and a social ad campaign that aims to increase brand awareness, the social ad performance can seem disappointing.

Your ad campaign should be on a different platform depending on the purpose:

  1. Brand awareness (Facebook & Instagram ads)
  2. Traffic generation (Google ads)
  3. Recruiting non-converting visitors to your site(multi-platform remarketing)

The Context

The second difference between social ads and Google Ads are the ads themselves. On Google, ads have titles, descriptions and even rates (for hotel ads), but the display of ads is static and text-based.

On Facebook and Instagram however, you can include custom text that conveys the brand identity of your property along with images, carousels, videos, collections, etc. There are many more creative possibilities.

The customer journey

The traveler's buying journey is made up of 3 key steps:

  1. Dream: "I want to go somewhere"
  2. Plan: "I am looking through accommodation options"
  3. Book: "I have decided and am ready to book" 

How you project your property at each step and how you measure results should be different:

  1. Dream: Objectives that increase brand awareness: views, impressions, reach, etc.
  2. Plan: Measurements of interaction with your audience: likes, video views, website visits, etc.
  3. Book: Conversion statistics that lead to maximized revenue. This will usually be a percentage at each step of your funnel.

Creating personalized campaigns

Once your objectives are clear, it is now crucial to think about your targets. If you have already identified your targets in your marketing plan, you should adapt them to the specificities of social networks. You can use free tools such as Facebook Analytics to collect valuable information about your Facebook & Instagram subscribers: age, demographics, geography, interests, etc.

Each campaign contains groups of ads that can be served to a specific target. For example, if you want to do a remarketing campaign, several options are available:

  1. By channel: You can create an ad group with one display only on Facebook and another one only on Instagram. This way you can control the budget allocated to each medium.
  2. By location: You can create a group that will display your ads on feeds, another group exclusively on stories, and another group on Messenger. You can even go further by combining channel and location, such as a Facebook Feed group, a Facebook Story group, etc. Note that it is important to budget at least 100 euros per group if you want the campaign to be effective.
  3. By country: If you want more control over the budget spent per country, then create a group targeting one country each time.
  4. Other options are available

Here is how we recommend hoteliers segment their audience:

  • Remarketing audience: You can differentiate between visitors to your site and those of your booking engine or those who only consult certain key pages (rooms, seminars, etc).
  • Loyalty audience: You can publish special offers only to your most loyal customers.
  • Engagement audience: You can gather all the most active people on your Facebook & Instagram accounts. This is ideal if you want to target the people who follow you and enjoy interacting with your content.
  • Custom Audience: This is where Facebook's comprehensive targeting module comes in. You can easily target a specific age group, geographic or demographic group, etc. We recommend that you segment based on the locations where your customers travel, the brands they purchase, or the media they consume the most.
  • Similar Audience: Once you have created the above segments you can go one step further by creating a similar audience based on any criteria. Facebook is able to create a database similar but not identical to your target by cross-referencing behavioral information. This is an ideal lever if you want to create campaigns to  reach people who have never heard of your brand.

Mastering advertising formats

Once you have your goals and targets, it's time to create your ads. Facebook & Instagram offers you many possibilities.

Unique KPIs for each objective

Don't forget to customize your metrics table when you're in your Facebook Ad Manager. Depending on the campaign objectives you have chosen (engagement, traffic, awareness, conversions), you will see different results in your table.

For example, an engagement campaign will show you the number of likes or followers acquired, while a conversion campaign will show you the number of reservations made on your booking engine. Take some time to think about your ideal dashboard before you run your campaign!

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