Power On Series: Affordable Paid Search Strategies to Implement Now

Power On Series: Affordable Paid Search Strategies to Implement Now

This excerpt is from our recently published guide, Power On – Marketing for What’s Next. The complete guide offers actionable digital marketing strategies to prepare you for what’s next for hotels, resorts, & vacation rentals. You can check in daily for the next section or you can download the full version here.

Paid Search

Paid search is more than likely an item you were spending a high percentage of your marketing budget on and have thus suspended to preserve your cash flow. That’s understandable. But, there are smart and affordable ways to use your data and maintain a presence with paid ads on Google or Bing.

While typically our average Pay-Per-Click (PPC) for TNS customers is <$1, we’re seeing costs much lower than that right now. With fewer companies advertising you can get higher search value. We’ve heard from some customers that Airbnb and others have stopped spending on PPC in their markets right now which means you can maintain the top spot on the page at a fraction of the typical cost. Take advantage!

But, be smart about your approach. Use your data to truly target those guests right now that are most likely to book when travel comes back. 


Remember some of the data examples from earlier posts in this series? Now is the time to hone in on marketing to locations that provide your highest bookings. For many of us, that’s the drive-to market. But, check your data and confirm just which of those destinations is your most profitable.

Then, launch a very targeted PPC brand campaign that keeps your property at the top of search engines for local searches. As an example, for a resort in Brainerd, Minnesota (popular lakes and resorts destination 2 ½ hours north of the Twin Cities), a great geography for targeting is the Minneapolis / St. Paul area. Here’s an example of the locations interface in Google Adwords.


Low bids on targeted, long-tail keywords such as “brainerd minnesota resorts” or “brainerd minnesota summer resorts” can keep you in front of people searching now in your drive-to markets at a low cost.

Couple this with prepping (but not releasing yet) your ad campaigns for those near future, last minute travelers with ads around deals and packages.

Display Campaign

Did you know you can upload the email addresses of previous guests in your drive-to market into Google and create an audience for use in a campaign? Then, create a look-alike-audience of people with similar geographical or demographic characteristics? This is a great way to highly target the people whose screen you’re wanting to stay on.

Display campaign ad clicks are an affordable way to stay top of mind with your most profitable audiences. Here’s the audience creation interface from Google PPC that walks you through email upload audience creation.

While paid search can be a sizable budget item, now is the time to capitalize on lower PPC costs with very targeted campaigns backed by your valuable customer data.

In our next posts in this series we’ll focus on some website refresh ideas that can be working on now to engage current shoppers and get ready for the uptick in travel coming soon.