Dallas Hotel Marketing and Advertising

3 Ways for Hotel Marketing to Work in Dallas-Fort Worth

In an industry that has seen continual consolidation by the big players -- from the offers to purchase Starwood (from both Marriott and Anbang Insurance Group) or the purchase of the beloved Waldorf Astoria by Anbang Insurance Group last year -- boutique hotels have managed to unearth quite the popularity boost. With this popularity, a challenge arises - hotel marketing!

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we're home to some beautiful historic spots to rest your head. Like Hotel ZaZaHotel IndigoThe JouleThe Stoneleigh. Marketing your hotel's value above the noise of other ads and capturing last minute travelers can be super challenging when you're going up against the big guys.

We have compiled a list of our favorite 3 hotel marketing tactics for your Dallas-Fort Worth boutique.

Managed-Service Data Providers

Companies like Sojern and Adara purchase data from meta search engines and online travel agents (OTAs) and use that data to target prospective travelers. These prospective travelers are then driven to purchase their rooms on your website vs. the meta search / OTA sites, and do a good job of pinpointing people who are actively looking to travel to your city.

They typically work on a minimum contract and bill out on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) fee for the value of their data. The best part? You receive insights on the types of people who travel and stay at your hotel beyond the standard booking data. You can answer questions like "How early do people tend to start their search process when they stay at my hotel?," "How early do people typically book my hotel before their stay?," and "Where do my customers begin their search when they stay with me?" These answers start playing into the rest of your marketing strategies, and the information starts becoming exponentially more valuable.

Google AdWords

Despite their relatively expensive cost per click (CPC), AdWords search targeting helps you easily target in-market travelers. For example, especially in the boutique world, Google searches for "boutique hotel dallas" are valuable to you. You know that not only is a user looking for a hotel but they are actually looking for a boutique hotel like yours.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, you will spend approximately $3-5 per click. If only 3% of users convert, you will pay between $100 to $160 to drive a hotel booking.

While it is rather expensive to acquire these users, it can be a useful venture with the proper landing page optimization, ad copy, and keywords. Combine with a Remarketing List to lower acquisition costs by swaying users who seem to be on the fence. Plus, once you've got their emails, send occasional promotions in the near future that they can give to friends, as well as further down the road to see if you can get repeat business. Strategies like this can -- in the long run -- effectively offset an initially painful cost-per-acquisition.

Google Hotel Rates Ads

Google Hotel Ads are part of a pretty new product offering from Google's ever-expanding travel vertical. These "ads" help you display your current rates to a user in the standard meta data for your hotel's website. These ads are competitive and necessary because the same people bidding against you on search results (the OTAs and meta search engines) are also bidding against you for hotel ads.

Hotel Ads, unlike Google AdWords, can be sold on either a commission-basis or a cost-per-click basis. To set these up, you work with one of Google's preferred data feed partners. These partners will help you connect your booking engine with Google's technology so that there is no updating necessary to show the correct hotel rate.

This all may sound a bit daunting, but to stay relevant in such a competitive industry, step #1 is just showing up. Literally. As we say time and time again, it's all about testing and learning the behavior of your customers' digital patterns. There are so many opportunities to stay ahead of the digital media curve and outwit the Big Boys, but you've got to get moving. The above suggestions are your backbone. After that, focus on personality and differentiation. I better see a custom Snapchat filter the next time I stay in one of your rooms!

Need to up your hotel marketing digital game?

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Dallas Moving Company Digital Advertising

Dallas Moving Company Marketing: How to Effectively Advertise on AdWords

The last time I moved apartments in Dallas, the sheer quantity of moving companies that showed up in my search results was almost crippling. Reviews fell on all ends of the spectrum for every company, and I had no idea which one to choose. Moving company marketing in Dallas-Fort Worth is a complex (and expensive) effort.

So we thought it would be a fun exercise to break down a few ways we would market a moving company via AdWords in order to stand out from the crowd.

The reality is that some of the traditional AdWords strategies are expensive if you go directly for the logical "main" keywords and audiences. For example, if you were to try and purchase the keywords "moving company" on Google's AdWords platform you would pay around $15 per click. Ouch.

If you assume a normal conversion rate of 2-3%, you would be paying between $500 and $750 per conversion. Unless you're the most expensive moving service in Dallas, this is likely not a profitable option for you.

Our approach to improving your performance and driving sales leads at a more profitable cost (say $50-75 a piece or less) involves three key things:

1. Avoid the Main Keywords and Focus on the "Long Tail" Searches

There are three different audiences that you can test in your AdWords strategy - branded keywords, competitor keywords, and non-branded keywords. (We have an article here that will catch you up on the intricacies of each.)

The "long tail" searches involve keywords that are related to - but not the exact search intent of - your ad messaging. This involves targeting things like people searching for moving boxes, searching for a moving truck that they will rent for themselves, or even potentially people searching for furniture for their new place. You're trying to prospect for customers that appear to be prepping for a move, even if they aren't specifically looking for a moving company in that exact search.

Unlike the "moving company"-type keywords that cost in upwards of $15 per click, you can buy keywords like these for much less:

  • Moving Boxes (~$3 per click)
  • Where to Buy Moving Boxes (~$2 per click)
  • Moving Trailer (~$3 to $4 per click)
  • Pickup Rental (~$1.50 per click)
  • Apartment Furniture (~$3-4 per click)

Targeting these types of keywords and aligning the search intent with the value you provide as a moving company could potentially reduce your cost per sales lead by around 90%. The conversion that cost you upwards of $500 - $750 before now costs you $50 - $75.

2. Build Landing Pages that Correlate to Search Interest

The biggest issue that many DFW moving companies have is that their websites are not prepared to support and facilitate effective advertising.

The concept of a landing page that is highly focused on driving conversions is an important one. Pretty much any study you find about it will agree that landing pages will boost your conversion rates instantly.

What exactly is it? Think of a one-page experience to which you send everyone who clicks on an ad. It succinctly and effectively portrays your whole pitch. From why they should choose you to what they should expect to pay. Often times there's a special deal or incentive (10 free boxes!... 1st hour free!) to entice visitors. Attractive, professional design is key; that whole first impression thing, ya know?

Landing pages are especially important when you target those longer tail searches I mentioned earlier. Google factors many things into what they call their "Quality Score" and this score helps determine your relevancy, where your ad shows up (are you the first paid search result or on page 3?), and ultimately how much you pay for each individual click.

Google won't find your ad relevant if people do not click on it or if the content on the page that they ultimately land on is not correlated to the keywords you are bidding on.

We at Red Herd Media use tools like Unbounce to build and test landing pages for our clients so that we can always be showing the most relevant content to your visitors. Such platforms are havens for A/B testing because of how easily you can push out small variations for every landing page. We're often asked, What's a good conversion rate? and our answer is always the same: anything higher than yesterday's rate.

3. Track Conversions through to Real Sales Leads

This is possibly the most important aspect of a successful AdWords lead-generation campaign. You must be able to test the keywords you are bidding on and correlate them to real sales or leads. How else can you tell what's TRULY working best?

For tracking on your site, this is all about setting up goals in Google Analytics on your site that represent the things that make you money. This could be filling out a form, clicking a Contact Us button, or a number of other indicators. You must be able to correlate the intent and the click to a true conversion for your business.

Pro tip: you can also use an ad extension in Google AdWords to have users click to call you directly from your ad on mobile. Google tracks these conversions and reports them back to you. The visibility of seeing exactly which ads are bringing in phone calls epitomizes the testing, targeting, and user experience that we constantly emphasize.

Whew, where do I start?

Anywhere. Start with improved, more efficient keyword targeting. You'll gradually notice what's working via the AdWords dashboard. Then, build out a landing page or two that caters to the keywords and value pitches that the hardest-working ads are promoting. Start sending those ad clicks to those pages, and keep tweaking. Make sure forms and buttons are being tracked so that they're tied to the ads that brought the user in.

Improvements are improvements. Don't be overwhelmed by the extent of our suggestions here. Anything you can do to lower your cost-per-acquisition while upping your revenue trend line is a good thing. Keep on movin' on.

Moving company marketing have you stressed out?

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Google algorithm advertising digital media

What is an advertising algorithm?

As you scale your marketing efforts as a small business, the need to expand some of your technical knowledge and remain in control of optimizing conversions grows larger. We are creating a new series of blog content to facilitate the education process on some advanced advertising lingo and know-how.

What the f*** is an advertising algorithm?

An advertising algorithm is a process that a computer uses in calculating or problem-solving to determine an outcome.

In the scope of advertising, advertising technology ("ad tech") companies often pitch how their 'algorithm' will discover the people most interested in your product or service.

What does an algorithm theoretically do for my advertising budget?

It depends on the software platform but the general idea is that algorithms can produce solutions that a human can not efficiently replicate. The computer software is capable of automating an extremely manual process and actually learning what works best.

Depending on the platform, their algorithm will use inputs from many different "hints". They will take these hints and automatically score them to determine the best time to serve your ad.

These inputs can include things such as:

  • Time of day,
  • The site that a user is on,
  • User behavior (have they interacted with your site?),
  • Frequency (how often are ads shown to a user? how often do they interact with your site or your ads),
  • The device (mobile, desktop, tablet),
  • and countless others.

When you assign a goal like a CPA (cost per acquisition) or a CPC (cost per click) to the advertising model, it can use all of those inputs to determine how much to bid on that user and how often a user needs to see an ad before they complete your goal metric.

Will Ad Tech algorithms solve all of my advertising problems?

The reality of the situation is that many "algorithms" are either not proprietary (they are 'leasing' technology from another larger provider) or they're not as robust as they claim.

There's this underlying hesitation around sprouting ad tech companies; a suspicion rooted in many of them selling "vaporware." Vaporware is technology that - on the surface - has a lot of features and a slick user experience, but falls short in effectively performing your goals and reaching those elusive KPI promises.

You should really push all technology providers to explain the benefit that their service provides your business. Even if they sell convenience vs. exponential performance, they might be making a pitch that is worth your investment. That is to say, choose products for the right reasons. If you're looking to save time each day, then UI/UX can be a huge factor, and maybe you're satisfied with your current baseline ad performance. If nothing matters more than upping conversion, then those same features could end up seeming like a facade of simplicity.

You should also be voracious in your tracking of the metrics that are important to you. The best defense against being sold technology that does not benefit you is testing a small budget with them and holding them to a specific goal metric.

What platforms can I trust?

We are absolutely not trying to paint a negative picture of the ad tech industry. We're actually extremely optimistic about the long-term outlook of such tools and capabilities.

That said, we recommend approaching all of them with caution. The players that are easiest to trust are also the biggest. Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc all provide robust technology to serve your advertising. When it comes to things like email marketing, cross-platform ad management, and larger bidding platforms, the features and promises get more grey and less predictable.

What does this mean to me?

In a technology environment dotted with snake oil salesmen, we recommend a cautious approach. Don't believe everything a salesperson tells you. Ask a lot of questions and make sure that you are educated on the benefits of the platform and how they specifically relate to you. We've seen it time and time again where a "can this tool do X?" question receives a "yes" before the sale, and then the tune quickly changes once they have your money. Make them demonstrate everything. And always ensure that you track the proper success metrics to verify that the new technology is driving the results you expect.

We at Red Herd believe it's essential to educate our clients on what we are doing to grow their business. That means always being available to answer questions about what's going on "behind the wall." We're also constantly learning about what's out there, and are happy to facilitate a connection between your company and a third-party solution.

Need to up your digital marketing game?

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