By now, many travel and tourism operators have acquired a degree of comfort and familarity with advertising tools such as Google AdWords. If you’re a regular user, you’ve probably already mastered the art of context-sensitive online advertising, whether through search engine ads, Google’s content network or one of the Googleplex’s many competitors.
However, the usual dynamics of tools such as AdWords can change significantly if (for example) there’s a big event coming up in your geographic neighborhood — or some major happening that appeals to your usual customers.
In 2010, for example destination marketers will need to contend with the competing lures of the Winter Olympics (Canada), the Commonwealth Games (India) and World Cup Football (South Africa). The organisers of these events (and the many local operators who wish to maximise their returns from such once-in-a-lifetime marketing opportunities) will result in increased demand for travel-related keywords, which just might impact on your business.
LESSONS FROM YULETIDE
Similar disruptions happen every year for the retail sector, as competing retailers drive demand (and push up advertising costs) in the lead-up to Christmas. So the festive season is a useful time to learn some smart tips on coping with changing circumstances and sometimes massively-increased marketing demand.
We scanned the seasonal horizon to see if we could pick up some relevant tips from the Jolly Red Guy. He was a little busy, but we came across some useful advice from one of his little Elfers, Arlene Helbert (AdWords Optimisation Specialist). She actually gave this advice last year, but we didn’t use it then — so now’s the time. Arlene suggests that you should:
- Plan ahead & allocate sufficient [AdWords] budget to capture the sudden increase in traffic [as consumers suddenly discover a new interest in visiting new places, despite or sometimes because of prevailing economic conditions].
- Ensure all your offerings are covered to capture maximum traffic [i.e. choose keywords that lure customers to all your best-selling items].
- Be prepared to increase your maximum CPCs [Cost Per Clicks] at a time of increased AdWords auction intensity. [Your competitors will be willing to pay more to squeeze those last few dollars out of consumers. You need to decide if you’re willing to match them.]
- Have seasonal keywords & ad texts ready [cause nothing quite says “ho ho ho hum” like stale adcopy left over from the Superbowl].
Some more specific advice building on the key recommendations above:
- Start Early [Oops — maybe next year]: Ensure content campaigns are running well before the event to capture the attention of consumers browsing their favorite sites.
- Build Ad Group Themes: Build content campaigns with general keywords. Form a theme & combine synonyms & product ranges.
- Direct, Complementary & Audience Ad Groups: Create tightly themed ad groups. Think of the types of sites where you’d like your ads to appear, for example targeting those looking for specific offerings you sell such as ‘adventure travel’, as well as complementary websites related to your offering, for example ‘sustainable product sites’. if you offer ecotourism.
- Include Seasonal Ad text: Remember to include event-specific ad text, special offers & time-limited promotions & to test out different variations of your ad text.
- Use Images: Images are a powerful way of reaching & interacting with users especially for destinations with a visual unique selling propositions.
- Ad Formats: Use Google’s different ad formats (image, Gadget Ads*) to connect with different types of consumers in different ways.
*What are Google Gadget Ads?
Gadget ads enable advertisers and agencies to engage audiences on the Internet’s largest ad network with a rich and interactive new ad format. Think of gadget ads as mini versions of your website in any AdSense ad size.
Okay, time to get those reindeer heading your way. Just a few more sleeps till Christmas.