Google Ads for Online Travel Agents and Flight Booking Sites

2019 Jan. 04

In this series of industry-specific Google Ads practices, today we will discuss how to create and manage a successful Google Ads campaign for Online Travel agencies and Travel services who are targeting for new customers.

In my experience with Online Travel Agencies, most of their business has moved online as a whole over the last 5 years. Everyone wants to do their research and get better offers and deals for their air travel. Online is the place where they get to benchmark each business. Though high in demand and highly profitable, it is one of the most competitive industry in Google Ads. Therefore Google Ads is the base for any Travel Agency as online visibility for a Travel agency is the best way to succeed. If you are a travel agent, you need Google Ads to run it successfully.

If you have an OTA and still haven’t been able to achieve success, it may be because your ads or landing page were not optimized.

If you too are someone with OTA and you haven’t yet set up a Google Ads campaign for your service region, you are practically missing out on a lot of potential customers. Having said that, It is very important to use this tool efficiently or else it may end up costing you.

So without further ado, let’s begin with the basics and the best industry practices in Google Ads for OTA.

Right PPC Keywords for OTA

Choosing the right keywords for your Google Ads campaign can be a challenging task. Does it come with confusing questions like should you go for long tail keywords for more visibility or more mainstream keywords with the high competition? The key here is to strike a balance between the two. You should target both long tail as well short tail keywords. It will help you get the most out of your campaign. There are 4 major practices for Travel Agencies to keep in mind:

  • Foremostly, it is recommended to use Keywords which are most relevant to your business offerings. For example, your agency has a tie-up with a specific airline for providing exclusive discounts to your customers for European or Australian airfare tickets from the USA.

  • For your case, let’s consider a sample set of keywords you should use(You should be targeting for generic as well as discount specific keywords):

    • USA to Europe flight

    • Cheap Europe air ticket

    • Australia airfare from America

    • States to Australia air tickets

    • USA to Australia flight

    • Cheap flight tickets

    • Discount on airfare

    • Flight ticket to Europe

Note: Avoid using one-word keywords which are highly searched for, as these search terms aren’t very informative about the kind of services you are offering for your prospect.

For example, if you use Europe as a keyword for Europe airfare, your ads can be triggered for search terms like, Europe trip, Europe currency, Europe language, Europe countries, etc. which are not even close to what you want to target for. Therefore choosing the keywords carefully is very important.

  • Though you must be tempted by the high search volume of common keywords, do not underestimate the power of long tail keywords. Irrespective of the fact that they have small search volume and are too tedious to work with when creating a campaign, they offer higher conversions at a lower cost as compared to common keywords. They are like low-hanging fruits which can offer an easy win with a low cost and the least competition. For example, if you are OTA, considering the above cases, long tail search terms for your services can be as follows:

    • USA to Europe flight fare

    • Book Europe flight from USA

    • Cheap Europe air ticket from USA

    • Australia airfare from America

    • States to Australia economy air tickets

    • USA to Australia flight booking

    • Discount on airfare for European countries

    • Economy Flight ticket to Greece from USA

    • Above are a few examples of long tail keywords. As I mentioned, it can be tiresome to work with long tail keywords as it takes a long time to research and accumulate such data for your campaign. However, AdNabu can help you automatically create all the relevant long tails keywords using the basic keywords we defined earlier within minutes.

  • Another thing to keep in mind is the match type of keywords targeted

  • Statistics show us that exact match type gives maximum conversion at minimum cost, but it has the least coverage of all. Similarly, each and every match type has its own benefits and shortcomings. Using all the match types while structuring your campaign is considered a wise choice.

AdNabu takes care of this from the very beginning itself. It creates the structure of the campaign such that each keyword type has 3 different AdGroup (one for each match type) ensuring that you target the right keyword for the right search term.

Advantage of using Broad Match Modifier over Broad match

Broad match modifier (a.k.a BMM) is a variation of Broad match. Broad match triggers ads for all searches around the keyword, keyword idea, synonyms, grammatical forms as well as related words, etc. BMM gives you much more control over the search terms for which your ads will be a trigger. It excludes synonyms but allows variations. For Example, If you target Broad match-type for keyword Europe airfare, it might be a trigger for a search term like Europe which may or may not be relevant for you. Instead, BMM will ensure that the word Europe and airfare are present in the search. AdNabu automatically creates campaigns which use BMM instead of Broad match.

Best Negative Keywords for Travel Agencies

The importance of negative keywords cannot be ignored, especially when each click costs a fortune. Though accumulating Negative Keyword is an ongoing process, but to begin with, below are a  few points to consider.  

  • Negate all locations which you do not offer in your catalog. For Example, if you do not sell air tickets for Korea and Southeast Asia, it would be best to put them in negative keywords list

  • Negate all the keywords which are not giving you conversions or have the cost per conversion too high to be profitable. You have to keep an eye on such keywords during reporting and assessment or you can use AdNabu which automatically recommends you to pause such ineffective keywords

What is a good landing page for you?

A landing page should use numerous parts like trust badges, result-oriented headlines, explainer videos, testimonials, etc. Such landing web pages are aimed at driving visitors to take a worthy action.  Since every click will cost you a fortune, there’s no room for an error when designing a landing page for your business

Below are some Do’s and Don’ts to follow:

Do’s

  • Use headlines with words of assurance such as Cheap Airfare to Europe or High Group discounts for corporate or Best flights at cheapest price to inspire trust in the potential customer

  • A headline focused on flight details such as city/country wise price, duration, discounts, etc for better conversions

  • For Travel agencies, a click to call  button on the top makes it easier for the user to reach the agent for any kind of detail or confirmation

  • Use of words like Free consultation or request airfare estimate for family/group to allure the visitors to try your agency.

  • Have a very limited field to fill on the form (not more than five). This makes it hassle-free for the customer.

  • Have your call-to-action button at the bottom of the form. It should be tailored to match the offer(for example, see the image below)

dos-AdWords_landing_page_sample_for_OTA-flights.png

  • For content, have 2-3 bullet points. Showcase your awards, achievements or for how long you have been giving services, customer testimonials, etc

  • Add an informative video educating the prospects about what are they entitled to and what are the best steps to follow in that particular scenario.

Dont’s

  • Avoid using logos with a clickable link to return to the homepage easily

  • Do not design Disappearing label for field name (for example, see the image below) instead simply name the fields

donts-AdWords_landing_page_sample_for_OTA-flights.png

  • Do not have text-heavy landing pages. It is very unlikely that your potential client will read through the entire thing. Instead, add a few important pointers.

  • Avoid multiple outbound links or multiple CTA on the same page as it can distract the clients.

Structuring Google Ads for an OTA

Ad copy is extremely important because it is the initial touch point where the content of the ad compels the client to click on your ad instead of the competitor’s Ads. Below are the few points that you must keep in mind:

  • Your ad contains 4 sections. Firstly the Headline 1 (character limit 30), you should make sure that your headline is tailored as per the prospect’s search. Ideally, the ad title should include exactly what they were searching for. For example, Cheap Flights to Europe or 5 Cheap Flights to Europe from $183 or $489 Europe RoundTrip Flights.

  • The next part of the ad is Headline 2 (character limit 30). It is separated with headline 1 by a hyphen(-). The best way to utilize this section is by encouraging the prospect to click on the Ad. A clear call to action should be included here. For example,  Book In 9 hours, Fares Change or Air Sale: CA to Europe or Wide selection of airlines or 10% off on first flight, etc.

  • Followed by the two headlines is the Display URL where you have an option to customize it with 2 Path fields - Path1 and Path2(Up to 15 characters each). Make sure the display URL is relatable to the type of Travel services the prospect is seeking for. For example, www.TravelWebUrl.com/Travel/Europewww.TravelWebUrl.com/Europe/Corporate, etc. Please note the display URL need not be a valid URL as it is only for aesthetic purposes.

  • The next major field is Description(Character limit 80). It gives you ample space for your ad's message. Here, clearly define the value proposition and specialty locations that distinguishes you from the other competitors in the market. For example, Our Lowest Price Flight Tickets. 450+ Airline Deals, Book & Save Big or Cheap flights to all destinations Search on TripAdvisor for deals or Get Cheap Flights - California To Europe From $489. Book Today & Save! etc.

  • Lastly, the Final URL is the first page the prospect reaches after clicking on the Ad. Instead of using the home page as a final URL, ensure that the prospect lands on the specific section of your website that relates to their initial search or service they need. For example, if your customer is looking for Corporate Packages to Europe, then your final URL should reach directly to the page with available Corporate airfare packages for Europe, preferably with a price list and number of days for each.

  • An effective sample ad:

Google_AdWords_AdCopy_sample_for_OTA-flights.png

Google ad extensions add life to your ads and make them look more professional and trustworthy. When used the right way, they can lead to better visibility for your potential customers and hence makes you easily approachable. Ad extensions work differently for different Industries. Some deliver a better result than others. 

For Flight Travel businesses, best working extensions are:

Location extension

Location extension enables Travel agencies to add a physical location along their ads. However since you may have a business online, it may or may not be important for you to add this extension. However, this may help you in numerous ways:

  • Having a physical address adds to the authenticity of the services you are offering and reassures your customers that you are a genuine business. However, most of the booking for flight ticket happen online nowadays.

  • For example

Google_AdWords_location_extension_for_OTA-flights.png

The Sitelink extension enables Travel businesses to add extra links to share achievements or additional sub-categories of services (in-case targeting for a generic keyword).

  • This makes easy for the customer to relate their problem and highly likely for them to click on your ad.

  • Adding to the relevance of the ad copy itself, it redirects the customer directly to the most relevant page that encourages them to take a step further

  • For example:

Google_AdWords_Sitelink_extension_for_OTA-flights.png

Callout extension

Call-out extension gives Travel agents an additional 25 characters of space to add beyond the basic description of the ad. It is recommended to use this space to encourage the prospect to take action.

  • Some examples of Flight travel services are #1 Travel agency in town, 24x7 service, Instant booking, Award-winning service, etc.

  • For Example:

Google_AdWords_callout_extension_for_OTA-flights.png

Call extension

Call extension allows Travel businesses to add a contact number to their Ads. It works much effectively for mobile devices as Google adds a clickable call button to the ad. This allows the customer to call you instantly. For Flight Travel businesses, it is usually not much help in case of conversions, yet considering that some clients may have personalized concern or a custom requirement, call extension may really help.

 For example:

Google_AdWords_call_extension_for_OTA-flights.png

Structured snippet extension

Structured snippets allow advertisers to describe brief and specific features of the product or service offerings. It provides viewers with direct access to information about the nature and variety of services offered. In case of Travel agencies, structured snippets can show places you cater to. 

For Example:

Google_AdWords_structured_snippet_extension_for-OTA-Flights.png

Conversion Tracking for Online Travel Agencies

Now that the campaign is ready to work its wonders, conversion tracking is very important and the last thing to set up as it will help you analyze your performance and optimize later. Depending on the business type, different conversion types are tracked.

 For a Travel agency, it mainly works in two ways:

Conversion Pixel

It helps track which keywords resulted in leads. This can further help in optimizing your campaigns. Setting up conversion pixel requires some amount of technical effort (You would need the person handling your lead page). Having said that, benefits of results from it overpowers the hassle. 

Here is a guide to help you setup conversion pixel.

Call conversion Tracking

This will help if you are allowing customers to make a business call directly from their phone. Calls are extremely beneficial for a flight ticket service and luckily Google makes tracking calls from even a website easy. Check out how to set up call conversion tracking here. 

Conclusion

This was a short guide to get started with your Google Ads search campaign, keeping in mind all the best practices for OTA. In the last few years, Online Travel agencies have become one of the businesses which are highly benefited from Google Ads and could become one of the most profitable platforms for agents, if handled correctly. In case you haven’t tried your hands on Google Ads for your business, we suggest you to consider setting a campaign right now!  

If you are still not sure about how to start or to take your Google Ads campaign to next level, sign up with AdNabu & automate campaign creation and optimize within minutes.

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