Many hotels, airlines, and other hospitality companies are still reeling in the wake of the pandemic. At this point, we don’t know what form the recovery will take or how long it will be until it is complete. So it’s critical to focus on increasing revenue while also maximizing your return on every dollar. You can do that by adding (or optimizing) retargeting as part of your hospitality advertising strategy.
How Does Retargeting Maximize Your Hospitality Advertising ROI?
Retargeting ads are served to your past website visitors based on their previous behavior on your website. The primary benefit of retargeting is that it gives you another opportunity to convert visitors who left your site without making a purchase.
The fact that they visited your website tells you two things. First of all, they’re probably considering a hospitality-related purchase (a flight, a room, etc.). And, second, they likely have a positive perception of your brand. (Of course, this isn’t always the case, and we’ll talk about how to increase the likelihood that you reach the right people later in the article when we talk about best practices.)
But that isn’t the only advantage of retargeting campaigns. They also lead to:
Increased Brand Favorability
Studies on the efficacy of display advertising show that brand favorability increases as a consumer continues to see your ad—even if they don’t remember it!
According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, “research showed that individuals who were shown banner ads as much as 20 times while they were reading a piece of content online then became more favorable to the ad product—even though they never remembered seeing the banner ad.”
Increased Website Traffic and Conversions
A study conducted by researchers at the Wharton School found that display ad campaigns in general (i.e., not retargeting campaigns) increase site visits by 17 percent. And a Haas School of Business study that investigated the effects of retargeting campaigns found that retargeted ads lead to an increase in return traffic of 14.6 percent.
The same Wharton School study mentioned previously found that display campaigns increased conversions by 18 percent.
Increased Direct Sales
Remarketing offers an opportunity to compete with OTAs to increase direct sales by leveraging your data to serve relevant ads to potential customers. That’s partly thanks to capitalizing on the benefits above with website visitors who come to your site before an OTA and partly because any additional traffic you receive thanks to your listing will be more likely to make a direct purchase thanks to your retargeting efforts.
How to Retarget Your Website Visitors with Hospitality Ads
There are several platforms on which to retarget your visitors (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, or the Google Display Network).
- Display Retargeting. These are the banner ads you’re used to seeing follow you around the web. You can run display retargeting campaigns on the Google Display Network, with a programmatic advertising platform like Choozle, or a retargeting platform like LeadPost.
- Paid Social Retargeting. Most social media platforms offer some form of retargeting with a self-serve option so you can buy and manage your ads. Or, with a remarketing platform, you can manage Facebook retargeting campaigns from the same place you manage your display retargeting campaigns.
- Paid Search Retargeting. Paid search retargeting enables you to target visitors to your website (or to specific pages of your website) with relevant ad copy and adjust your bids based on their website behavior. Google and Bing both offer this option.
- YouTube Retargeting. If you have a great video or series of videos, you can use YouTube retargeting to serve those videos to your website visitors when they’re watching YouTube content.
- Native Retargeting. Native ads are designed to match the look and feel of the website they’re hosted on. You’ve probably seen (and clicked) many of these ads without realizing it. For example, if you’re reading an article with other recommended articles in or around it, those articles are usually mixed in with sponsored content.
- Email Retargeting. Email retargeting wasn’t possible until recently, when website identification software made it possible to capture the information of people who visit your website without converting. Now you can send email (and direct mail) to people who visit your website even if they don’t fill out a form.
Best Practices for Hospitality Advertising
While hospitality marketing is its own animal, some best practices apply regardless of the industry. Follow these guidelines to maximize the impact of your retargeting campaigns.
ABCD (Always Be Collecting Data)
The more data you have, the more targeted your campaigns can be. Prioritize email acquisition and use website visitor identification to enrich your current data and collect information like:
- phone number
- automotive data
- household income range
- age range
- education level
- homeowner status
- length of residence range
- net worth range
- marital status
- presence of children
You can try it out by signing up for a LeadPost account to get 100 leads for free.
Match the Message to the Medium
Whichever channel or channels you choose to begin your retargeting efforts, you’ll need to develop ad copy and creative that align with the advertising platform.
For example, Instagram users are on the platform to see images and videos posted by their friends, celebrities, and their favorite brands. Research shows that they favor ads that resemble posts their friends make. So your best bet is to blend in.
In fact, “blending in” is a good strategy for any ad campaign. We don’t mean that you should create forgettable ads, of course. Your creative and copy should blend in by providing the sort of value people expect from organic content on the platform.
For instance, when someone is reading an article on ESPN, they’re consuming content. If you run a native ad on the site, you should provide interesting content (e.g., a blog post about the top places to visit around your hotel) instead of a promotional message.
Fortunately, hospitality advertising offers a lot of opportunities to create engaging content. People love to travel! Tap into the excitement people feel when they think about going somewhere new. (And be glad you’re doing hospitality marketing and not trying to get people pumped about life insurance.)
By segmenting your audience, you can serve more relevant ads to past website visitors by building ad campaigns specific to their wants and needs. In other words, you can ensure that you’re sending the right message to the right person at the right time.
Segmenting your audience requires data on your audience members, which is primarily acquired through:
- CRM data,
- third-party data providers, or
- website visitor behavior.
You can use that data to segment your audience in many ways. The two most effective approaches are by:
- Buying process stage. Based on the pages a visitor has or hasn’t visited on your website, you can segment them into different audiences. For example, if they’ve only read a general blog post, they’re probably early in the process. On the other hand, if they started to book a room but didn’t finish, they’re likely ready to purchase.
- Customer segment. Based on first- and third-party data, you can segment people into audiences of age, purchasing power, whether they typically travel for business or leisure, etc.
Armed with these audience segments, you can now target your website visitors with sequential ad campaigns. These campaigns deliver an evolving message as the visitor moves through the funnel.
This way, each subsequent ad will increase in efficacy based on the campaigns viewed previously. The Haas Business School study we mentioned earlier supports the value of an ongoing campaign. It found that ads served during one week enhanced the effectiveness of ads served the following week.
While it seems logical that showing increasingly relevant ads over time would lead to improved results, in the Haas study, subjects saw the same creative each time, which indicates that a dynamic or sequential approach may not be necessary.
Still, a study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University does support the idea that increasingly specific ad campaigns are effective.
For the study, the researchers used data from an OTA that sells hotel accommodations. Visitors to the OTA’s website were then randomly served a generic or a dynamic display ad. The generic ad creative was a picture of a beach with the company’s logo, while the dynamic ad creative included a picture of a hotel the visitor researched on the site along with three similar hotels.
While dynamic ads underperformed against generic ads for website visitors early in the buying process, as they began to get closer to purchase (e.g., visiting review sites to research hotels in the area), dynamic ads performed better than generic ads.
Clicks are easy to measure, but they’re not a good indicator of the value of a display campaign. As we mentioned before, display ads generate value that cannot be captured by measuring your click-through rate. So instead, track view-through conversions.
View-through conversions are conversions that result from someone seeing your ad without clicking it. So, for example, if someone sees an ad for an airline and then goes directly to the company’s website to book a flight, that wouldn’t appear as a click in your reporting dashboard. But it would register as a view-through conversion (as long as you’re tracking them).
Make the Most of Your Hospitality Advertising Budget with Retargeting
Everyone in the industry is focused on their recovery strategy right now. Don’t just recover! Raise the bar by getting more from your hospitality marketing efforts with retargeting.