How often do potential guests visit your website, browse a few different pages, and then leave without making a booking?

NB: This is an article from Fornova

Average abandonment rate for hotels is approximately 85% ( SalesCycle 2020 Ecommerce Stats Report). If you’ve ever wondered how you can capture these visitors after they’ve left your website – and turn them into paying guests – then retargeting could be the answer you are looking for.

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What is retargeting and how can it work for hotels?

Travelers could potentially visit up to 40-50 separate hotel sites before making a booking [source] . As they have researched numerous competitors’ offerings alongside those of your own hotel, you need to find a way to reach out to them, make your hotel stand out, and encourage them to come back and book with you after their initial website visit.

Quite simply, retargeting is a digital marketing strategy whereby someone who visits your website continues to receive advertising from you across multiple online platforms, in the days and weeks following their visit to your website. This is done by installing a code or pixel on your hotel website, which places a cookie in the visitor’s browser. It’s this cookie that allows you to target them on other platforms, such as social media, email, or display networks.

You can install the pixel on any page of your website, from the homepage to specific product pages, so you can retarget your website visitors with information they have already expressed an interest in. The cookie allows your ads to be customised to each user and their initial search on your website, and this personalization further ensures that you stand out amongst your competitors. Website visitors who are retargeted following their first visit to your site are actually 70% more likely to return and make a booking!

The code or pixel on your website provides you with a wealth of information about the guest, including which dates they’re searching for and, particularly if you’re a chain of hotels, which specific hotel or market they are interested in. Having this information presents you with an opportunity to tailor the message of your retargeting ads. To make any offer even more attractive, every research in the industry shows that you are better off adding a rate. The most common and recommended course of action is to add a ‘from’ rate on the ad, which makes the customer more likely to click on your content and land on your website. Optimizing your retargeting strategy based on information you have about the customer’s intent personalizes their experience with your brand, and should therefore boost your conversion.

What are the different types of retargeting for hotels?

There are several types of retargeting, and you can choose to use a combination or just one of them to boost your conversion. As retargeting is just marketing to people who have already interacted with you, you can be sure that they’re actually interested in your services, so the money you spend on these ads is likely to go further than with traditional online advertising.

1. Website retargeting

This is the most common type of retargeting whereby adverts for your website will appear as online display ads, targeted directly to the user who has already visited your website. You can set upper limits so that your adverts don’t appear too frequently (between 1-3 times a day is recommended), so as not to irritate or put off any potential guests.

These online display ads featuring your content can appear on any website visited by your guest that has signed up to have adverts visible on their website as a revenue source. The adverts can be customised to each guest and the pages they have visited on your website, thanks to the pixel or code you can install on individual pages. Tagging pages which are relevant to the conversion process is the most effective way to secure bookings. Examples of this are tagging your booking engine, or pages with special offers which demonstrate that the user had intent to book, rather than simply browsing your site. Tracking which pages they have visited also shows you which offerings a particular guest is interested in, allowing you to tailor your adverts to them specifically.

2. Email retargeting

This type of retargeting only works if you obtain the website visitor’s email address as early in the booking process as possible. Email retargeting usually works best for guests who started the booking process on your website but abandoned it before they entered their payment details. This is actually quite common behaviour, but hotel brands who focus on email retargeting can potentially recapture one out of three abandoned bookings, simply through reaching out to the customer after they leave the website.

Once you have the guest’s email address, and the pixel or code you installed on the website page tells you the details of the booking they were making, you can send them an email on either the same day they visited your website, or the next day. This first email typically gently reminds the guest to finish their booking, rather than putting any additional pressure on them. The second email – sent within the next day or two – usually employs scarcity tactics to encourage the guest to make a booking quickly, as availability is limited for their desired room. Should neither the first or second email result in a booking, many hotels will send a third email with a discount specific to the booking that the guest initially abandoned, in order to encourage them to go ahead with the reservation.

Retargeting emails such as these can have open rates of up to 40% and click through rates of up to 20%, particularly if you act quickly and make contact with the guest on the same day as their abandoned reservation.

3. Contextual retargeting

Contextual retargeting is a particularly useful marketing technique for sectors such as hospitality or travel and tourism. It is based on customer interests and demographics, and allows companies with a similar customer base to advertise on each other’s websites. If a potential guest leaves your website and visits another afterwards, your ad will display on the second website.

While you obviously don’t want to feature adverts from your competitors on your site, you might want to feature ads for an airline or tour operator – and, in exchange, they’ll display your ads on their website. This is a mutually beneficial agreement, which can help you grab the attention of those visitors who abandoned your website but at a lower cost.

4. Social retargeting

With around 70% of adults today using social media, investing in social retargeting is a very sensible move for your overall marketing strategy. Social ads lead to around double the conversions than that of other online ads. This is for a number of reasons: they are less invasive than other forms of retargeting, e.g. such as email, they can be more friendly in terms of branded presence on social platforms, and you can truly personalise the experience for the user.

The logistics of setting up social retargeting are much the same as other retargeting methods – it involves installing a pixel or code on your website, and letting cookies do the rest. Again, the retargeted ads you show on social media can be tailored to whatever the customer was viewing on your website, but the added benefit is that you can link them to your social media pages too. This is where you can establish a tone of voice for your brand and interact with visitors on a more personal level, as well as linking them to your booking engine, or landing page with a customised offer.

What are the benefits of retargeting for hotels?

There are multiple benefits of retargeting, including the ability to:

  • Offer special discounts based on the customer’s previous searches on your site
  • Personalize email retargeting content with customer’s name
  • Target based on funnel stage (for example offering upgrades to customers who have already made a purchase)

Further to this, retargeting is relatively simple to set up, requiring minimal time and resources on your part. Customized ads are much more likely to catch the attention of your future guests, so anything you can do to help personalize their experience with your brand should help boost your bookings.

Retargeting your hotel guests with FornovaEC

Now more than ever, hotels should be striving for improved marketing ROI – this can be achieved by running smarter online marketing campaigns with better conversion. FornovaEC (E-commerce Optimizer) helps you enhance personalization and increase the effectiveness of your digital marketing and advertising with more dynamic content, such as regional prices, promotions, and third-party data including TripAdvisor reviews.

FornovaEC also helps you run richer campaigns and dynamically manage your inventory and budgets, uncovering where your digital marketing spend is ineffective and where there are opportunities to boost your direct bookings.

Read more articles at Fornova