google g logo and road going off in distance

If you search on Google for other case studies about Google Ads specifically for hotels (formerly Google Adwords), you won’t find much.

NB: This is an article from Direct Your Bookings

Actually, you’ll just barely find something.

And surely not because there are no cases, so why?

No hotel wants to share any sensitive data of course, especially when, like in this case, there’s a clear problem that needs to be fixed (who wants to flaunt his own problems?).

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to date

Because of that, showing a case study other than just talking about it, becomes difficult… yet not impossible.

In fact, this time I took the chance of an audit I was asked to perform over a typical example of misguiding data, to create my first Google Ads for Hotels, by visually replacing the real name of the hotel in all the screenshots I will be sharing underneath with a fantasy hotel name.

Simply put, instead of the real hotel name, I’ll be using “atalanta hotel“.

This is possible with a little trick that anyone with a basic knowledge of HTML can replicate on any browser, being it Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Rest assured though that everything else such as keywords, search terms and, most importantly, data, are real and authentic. My word.

That said, let’s see together how this hotel (atalanta hotel 😉) went from losing money to generating money.

Ready? Let’s go.

The Context.

Early in June 2021 I received the following email. It’s copy/paste:

“Hi Ale,
[…] We’ve just noticed that PPC performance for [hotel name] has been very poor in recent months, […] to the point where they spent about $670 in April and only made about $485.
We’re losing money on Ads.”

Some further details:

  • The hotel is in Chicago, Illinois, United States;
  • 4-star hotel;
  • Excellent location in the city centre.

Preliminary checks.

Even though the marketing Ad Spend is very low ($670/month), the revenue attributed to Google Ads campaigns is even lower: $485.

So yes, the hotel is losing money… assuming though that these numbers reflect the reality.

In fact, very often when facing a similar situation the problem lies in the technical setup, not in the numbers.

Technical setup may include 2 different aspects, which represent the answers to the following questions:

  • Are all bookings being recorded as Conversions in Google Ads?
  • What’s the attribution model?

Attribution model is a huge topic that implies hundreds difference facets as to why two identical campaigns may result in totally different generated revenue.

In this particular case though, the attribution model assigned to the booking conversions in Google Ads is not a problem.

Neither have I found issues related to a potential loss in the transactions (and revenue) tracked and assigned to Google Ads campaigns.

Simply put, technically speaking, the campaigns look good.

So is the hotel really losing revenue?

The Analysis.

Let’s start the analysis by looking at some report in Google Analytics, by comparing 2 different months:

  • April 2021 vs November 2020.

April was the critical month mentioned in the initial email I received, whilst November was one of the last months where performance appeared to be

Report in Universal Analytics: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels

  • Increasing traffic. This can visually be seen from the timeline where the blue and orange lines looked quite similar in the first half of both months, whilst the blue line going up the second half of April.
  • Huge increase in Revenue by 76% in April.

So, ultimately, the hotel was not losing revenue.

There would be many things to say about the above numbers, too. However, for the sake of this case study, let’s just focus on the very core problem: were the Google Ads campaign underperforming for this hotel?

The same report though, just a little bit underneath, revealed something more:

Read rest of the article at Direct Your Bookings