Five steps to target the right audiences with meta search
According to STR mainland China hotels are starting to show first signs of recovery. Reportedly they could observe first green shoots in occupancy rates which, falling as low as to 7.4% at the end of February, have then climbed to almost 32% at the end of March. If the rest of the world follows in the footsteps of China, then a similar trend could be expected in many countries in the following months. As many professionals from the tourism & hospitality industry have been forecasting so far, domestic travels should be the ones to start happening first. For hotels which have already started preparing for this moment of pickup by designing attractive deals this means that they should also start thinking about defining their target audiences and how to reach them. Ultimately that means that hotels should now start setting up their marketing strategies to target the right audiences and start leveraging the different tools to use the moment of pickup to their advantage.
As we have already mentioned in this article, over 80% of meta search traffic comes from domestic travellers, therefore it would make a lot of sense for hotels to use these channels in the travel market pick up phase. Not only do meta search placements provide internet users the real-life pricing and availability of rooms, they also help hoteliers drive more traffic to their own websites and control the distribution costs. On top of that they also allow hotels to define and target their key audiences by several key factors such as location, check in day, the advance booking time frame, length of stay, traveller set dates, location and device.
Note: Some of the following targeting techniques are only available for a subset of marketing placements. For more details, feel free to reach out to the myhotelshop team.
Let us now dig deeper into a few simple steps and see how meta search can concretely help hoteliers to properly target the right audiences.
This is the perfect opportunity to focus on domestic and local travellers and make the most of it. Google’s geolocation services allow us to determine where the customer is coming from before they have even clicked on our ad, which means that can help hotels establish who their potential guests are in geographical terms and target accordingly.
Since international travels will be in a state of slumber for a while, it would make sense for hotels to focus on domestic markets as long as the borders are closed. Once the borders reopen and international travels become allowed again, we can readjust the campaigns by slowly increasing the visibility of hotel’s ads for relevant international target markets.
Looking at it from a return on investment perspective, this strategy should make a lot of sense, as it should help hotels from spending their limited budgets on target groups that at this point in time are not their focus target groups at all.
How far in advance do people book?
We have the ability to target future dates in order to focus on the dates guests are most likely to place and consume a booking. That means that hotels can leverage their meta search campaigns in a way that allows them to block their ads from being shown for any dates prior to a given check-in date within a given advance booking window. Tripadvisor is already reporting early recovery trends by observing “a steady pickup in travellers across the world searching for hotel dates 90+ days out for domestic travel” and this trend seems to be most pronounced for European countries.
Observe the check-in days
What exactly does this mean? Well, literally that! Depending on the type of your property there are certain days for which bookings are more likely to happen. If you are a business hotel, the majority of your guests might want to check-in beginning to mid-week, as opposed to leisure properties where guests might rather choose to check in at the end of the week or during the weekend. We have the ability to gather this data and adjust campaigns accordingly to maximize returns.
Focus on the right length of stays
This is one more parameter that could potentially help hotels target the right people in the right way. Again, depending on the type of the property, length of stay can vary. The important thing is to know what your usual average length of stay is. We can pre-target your guests for relevant length of stays and adjust the targeting by gathering data on the users. Which again brings us to smart targeting by being more visible for the right people. This type of targeting will allow you to be visible to large amounts of travelers while limiting costs for higher returns.
Spread out across different channels
The customer journey generally takes place in three stages: dreaming about a trip, planning it and placing an actual booking. Which means that as a hotelier you want to have your hotel’s link in front of the user’s eyes every step of the way. When we talk about online marketing, we have in mind not one but several different platforms, with Google, Trivago and Tripadvisor being the biggest ones. And once you have users on the internet searching for their trip, it is most likely that they will be collecting information at least across these three platforms, comparing hotels, prices and reading the reviews before they place their booking. With this in mind it makes sense for hoteliers to have their properties present on as many platforms as possible as this will increase the visibility of the property as well as help reach the users on every point of the customer journey to drive as much traffic as possible directly to the hotel's website.
By effectively targeting the right users, hotels are able to be return on investment focused and make this level of visibility affordable.