Monday, February 19th, 2018

With a Clever Pay Per Click Strategy, SMEs in Tourism Can Take on the Big Guys – and Win

There has never been a better time for small businesses in tourism to secure more bookings with pay per click.

White and Ayling: pay per click can give a great ROI if done properly

In a 40-minute audio interview with Bronwyn White of, Nigel Ayling Director of in New South Wales explains the opportunities available to small tourism companies who want to cut out the middle man, increase bookings and stop paying commissions of 12.5% and more to online travel agencies.

If done well, pay per click (PPC) is an efficient, targeted, measurable and cost-effective type of marketing with no up-front costs. You only pay when someone who sees your online ad, takes action and clicks on the link to visit your web site.

However, Ayling says that there are five vital things you must understand before you jump into the search engine marketing with AdWords and PPC.

Set a budget
There are two ways you can manage your budget. You can manage it at keyword level by setting a maximum Cost Per Click (CPC) that you are willing to pay such as $1 per click. You can also set a maximum daily budget such as $10 per day, so you will never pay any more than your budget. You should also consider using a digital marketing consultant to manage your campaign for you. Whilst you can manage campaigns yourself, paying an expert to manage your account will lead to better results and a more effective use of your budget.

Not all agencies are the same
Too many big agencies will take the money from a tourism SME and give them a generic campaign. But results will fall below expectations because they don’t know your industry – or your business model. For example, does demand come from weekender families, weekday sales travellers, outdoor types in the 20-30 demographic or couples over 55, many of them retired? Talk to a few agencies to see what they know about your industry. Ask what sort of results they are getting for similar clients. If they don’t sound like they know the industry, move on.

Get granular on your search terms and keywords
Keywords or search terms such as, “Gold Coast accommodation” or “Gold Coast hotels” are expensive to buy and are too generic. The end user, the consumer, using these terms may be looking for a motel, an apartment, or even holiday park, which is no good if you manage a resort. Such search terms can produce lots of traffic, but no increase in bookings. It is much better to use more specific search terms such as “Surfers Paradise self catering holiday apartment” or “Bundall 3-star hotel”. Highly targeted search terms are more likely to produce bookings and are often cheaper to bid on because they are less competitive.

Don’t game the system
If you have a “lake view” property and you create a campaign around the search term “sea view accommodation” people may click on your ad. But they will leave your web site quickly because your ads don’t match the reality of your website. Furthermore, Google’s algorithm will punish you by increasing the cost of such misleading campaigns for you in the future. Remember, Google loves relevance. Don’t game the system.

It’s all about Return On Investment (ROI)
Whatever you spend your advertising dollars on, you should be looking to get the best ROI that you can achieve. Measuring ROI is easy with AdWords. Ask your digital marketing consultant or campaign manager to set up Conversion Tracking on your account. This involves putting tracking code on your web site to measure when you get a sale through your booking system. When a customer clicks on your AdWords campaign, goes to your web site and makes a booking, a conversion will be recorded in your account. The dollar value of the booking will show and you can compare it to the amount you have spent on your campaign to get the booking giving you a very measurable ROI. You can also then see which search terms are getting results, which ones aren’t, and modify your bids accordingly.

When you compare PPC advertising to other forms of advertising, you will see that it is highly cost effective, because you only pay for people that take action. It is extremely targeted right down to the search terms that work for you, and very measurable, which means you can see what results you are getting, and how much you paid. If only all forms of advertising where so effective.

To hear the full 40-minute interview between Bronwyn White and Nigel Ayling, click here.


About is a market research and marketing firm specializing in the travel, tourism and aviation industries. Its specialty is providing insights that are actionable.
Founded by principals with lifetime careers in travel, tourism and aviation, exists to build the visitor economy and successful tourism businesses. It does this by putting the voice of the customer and best practice business thinking into an easy to implement, hands-on approach via an innovative membership model. can help:
* National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) meet the expectations of their industry by acting as an extension of their research and marketing resources
* Businesses make more informed decisions. (It is like having your own research and/or marketing team)
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