Kevin Eagan - Oct 3, 2012
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Today businesses in the travel and tourism industry face increasing challenges to achieve a favorable rank position and improve PPC performance, as costs have increased dramatically while conversion rates have declined.  In the past, a well-funded campaign was often all that was required to obtain a sufficient number of clicks and conversions. Now, tactics that were once successful are no longer generating the desired number of conversions while cost per click has increased significantly. If sponsored ads are not accurately targeting high performing keywords, advertising costs can escalate quickly, resulting in diminishing ROI.

Most travel and tourism sites are rich in high-quality content and images but without tracking conversion performance, it is difficult for the site owners to get a true measure of the site’s performance and thus to improve ad performance.  Another factor that separates high performing sites from marginally performing travel and tourism sites is the effectiveness of conversion workflow. For example, if a visitor is required to enter a minimum of 10 fields in order to submit the inquiry, the workflow can become a potential deterrent to getting a conversion.

Another challenge for travel and tourism addressed in this post is keyword bid management.  The following are tips for optimizing ad spending when your business must manage hundreds or even thousands of keywords.

Travel and tourism sites often have hundreds of keywords to manage but daily conversion counts can be relatively low. Under this scenario, PPC bidding based on cost per acquisition or ROI may not be the best option as there may not be enough bid updates to optimize ad spending. What then are the options for travel and tourism sites facing this challenge?

The first option is to generate more conversions by improving the website workflow or defining more conversion actions.

A second option is to use different keyword performance indicators. For example, web analytics data that include metrics such as time on site and bounce rate can be used as an indication of keyword performance.  This option is especially effective for travel and tourism sites, as most are content-rich and visitors are likely to roam around the site’s pages prior to making a purchase. As a result, time spent on site is directly related to the quality of visitors which, in turn, is equivalent to that of the keyword that initially brought the visitor to the site. While this type of Google Analytics data is readily available, it can be difficult to effectively incorporate this information into bidding strategies without the help of a software tool.

When you have both analytics data and a sufficient number of conversions, the most powerful option may be to use both conversion data and analytics data in bidding strategies. While this approach could be difficult to manage manually, there is now sophisticated software that can incorporate both into bidding strategies.

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