In the highly competitive hospitality industry, hotels are increasingly turning to digital marketing strategies to boost their online presence. One such strategy is the use of Brand PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns. While these campaigns are a valuable tool for promoting brand visibility and safeguarding against competitors or booking engines like Booking.com, hoteliers must be cautious about the potential pitfalls – particularly the cannibalisation of SEO traffic.

 

The Purpose of Brand PPC Campaigns for Hotels

Hotel Brand PPC campaigns serve a dual purpose. Firstly, they act as a shield against competitors and online booking platforms attempting to intercept potential guests searching for a specific hotel’s brand. Secondly, they elevate the hotel’s visibility in search engine results, ensuring that it maintains a prominent position and remains top of mind for potential guests.

 

Cannibalisation of SEO Traffic

While the intention behind Brand PPC campaigns is clear, hoteliers need to be mindful of the inadvertent consequences. Over-reliance on PPC advertising may lead to the cannibalisation of organic SEO traffic. This occurs when users who would have organically found the hotel’s website through search engines are now clicking on paid ads, resulting in unnecessary expenditure of the advertising budget.

As a hotel its important to factor in the cost of PPC Brand campaigns and the cost of OTA’s such as Booking.com, as a rule of thumb for hotels that just have rooms, its relatively easy to ensure your brand campaigns are far cheaper than OTA fees and thus Brand campaigns are a valid strategy.

If however your hotel has other services, a restaurant, spa, event space or other services, then there is a good chance that people are visiting your website via a paid click instead of naturally coming to the website via a brand organic search.

 

Identifying Cannibalisation and Testing Strategies

Hotels must be vigilant about signs of cannibalisation. One key indicator is the overall conversion rate. An increase in PPC room bookings without a corresponding rise in overall bookings suggests that SEO traffic is being cannibalised. Additionally, a reduction in organic brand traffic to the homepage could signify that users are opting for PPC ads instead of organic search results.

To test for cannibalisation, hotels can conduct A/B tests by pausing PPC campaigns for specific periods and observing changes in organic traffic and overall conversions. This empirical approach allows for a clearer understanding of the impact of PPC efforts on organic search.

You need to test and adjust your strategy to determine what is more cost effective, Brand PPC, OTA’s or Organic Brand.

 

Collaboration Between PPC and SEO Teams

A harmonious collaboration between PPC and SEO teams is paramount to mitigating the risks of cannibalisation. Instead of working in isolation, these teams should unite in a combined strategy to maximise the benefits of both channels. Effective communication is crucial to ensuring that PPC campaigns complement, rather than compete with, SEO initiatives.

 

Strategies for Hotel PPC and SEO

  1. Keyword Alignment: Ensure that both teams are aligned on the keywords targeted in PPC campaigns, integrating them into the overall SEO strategy for maximum impact.
  2. Consistent Messaging: Maintain a uniform message across PPC and SEO efforts, providing a seamless experience for potential guests regardless of their entry point.
  3. Data Sharing: Foster a culture of collaboration by sharing insights and performance data between PPC and SEO teams. This facilitates informed decision-making and strategy adjustments.
  4. Budget Optimisation: Regularly review and optimise budget allocations between PPC and SEO to strike the right balance and avoid unnecessary budget wastage.

In conclusion, while Brand PPC campaigns are a powerful tool for hotels to secure their brand presence and fend off competitors, a delicate balance must be maintained to prevent cannibalisation of organic SEO traffic. Through collaborative efforts between PPC and SEO teams, hotels can navigate this landscape successfully, ensuring that both channels work synergistically to drive traffic and conversions without sacrificing one for the other.

 

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