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The Inexpensive Advertising Tactic That Gets Bookings

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Attracting branded searches for your vacation rental company or properties is a fantastic sign for your company. Growing your vacation rental business over time means that you will see more searches in Google for the names of both your company as well as your properties. Guests searching for your brand means that you will see a high click-through-rate from this traffic and drive bookings with ease.

Sounds good, right?

With all of these positive elements coming from branded search, it actually is fairly simple to make sure that you’ve setup the proper Google AdWords or Bing Ads to make the most of these searches. Wasting this traffic could cost you dearly — here are tips to make sure you make the most of branded search.

Don’t Lose Clicks To Listing Sites

branded condo search example
Here, a VRM is missing out on condo-specific paid traffic by not bidding.

Branded search is often the best way to make sure you don’t lost valuable guest search traffic to listing sites. For example, when searching for the name of a rental property, it’s likely that any listings on VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb or Flipkey will rank well in Google. If a guest wants to find a specific property, the ideal outcome is to have your own website ranking #1 in organic search as well as paid search. In the example above, Southern Resorts (I have no affiliation) is doing a great job with their organic search rankings — their website comes up first as well as a video of this unit. However, their paid traffic could use a boost as Sterling Resorts (I have no affiliation) is bidding on this condo complex in Google AdWords, siphoning away some of this traffic.

Losing branded search clicks to listing sites or local property managers is a bad outcome for these high-value queries. While the search volume for each rental property in your inventory is likely fairly low, the intent of these keyword searches is very high. A quick way to see how your property pages are performing in Google is to use the page filter in Google Search Console. Once you see rental homes with higher-than-normal organic traffic, pick those to bid on in Google AdWords.

Boost Ad Account Performance With High Click-Through-Rates

branded search campaign example
Example branded search campaign – higher than normal click-through-rates.

Advertising on Google AdWords is a great way to drive more traffic to your vacation rental business. Many vacation rental managers have tested bidding on very popular competitive terms with lots of competition. While this can work well when setup properly, it will not be the highest-performing campaign in terms of bookings and conversions. That honor belongs to branded search campaigns.

Google AdWords wants you to have high-performing campaigns in your account — Google closely monitors the health of advertisers to make sure that they are running high quality ads. When Google is making money and driving conversions, there is a win-win relationship. As a result, in my experience, Google rewards accounts with excellent campaigns with overall higher quality scores across other keywords.

Simply put, having a “slam dunk” campaign setup within your Google AdWords account is ideal for the performance in other search campaigns. In the example above, this campaign is bidding on the exact name of a vacation rental company in coastal South Carolina. Over the course of a few months, 307 conversions (leads + bookings) were driven from a modest $2,535.17 investment. These 6,479 clicks were driven with a narrow focused branded search campaign.

Aim To Get 100% Of Branded Clicks

branded ppc and organic sitelinks
Running branded Google AdWords alongside organic results.

In a perfect world, a guest would search for your vacation rental company or property, they would click on your website and book your highest margin property on the first visit! However, we live in a distracted world and even with your own website being searched for, clicks bleed into other websites. Guests searching on Google or Bing can easily get distracted by your reviews, links to TripAdvisor pages, your Facebook page or similar. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see less than 50% of branded searchers actually click on your website according to Google Search Console data.

example search console branded ctr
Exact branded searches should net a higher click-through-rate than this!

When you run branded PPC ads alongside your organic website links, you’re more likely to net clicks to your website. Multiple links are better than just one — leverage this to not waste this valuable branded traffic.

Limit Competitor Traffic Siphoning

airbnb stealing branded traffic
This vacation rental company is losing traffic to Airbnb.

While not every competitor will use this technique, some will bid on your brand name in PPC and siphon your valuable brand traffic away from you. This can hurt your website traffic and could lose bookings to another local competitor or listing site during a critical moment of the booking process.

If you do have a  competitor that is using this tactic, you bidding on the same terms will also drive their cost-per-click costs very high, making the campaign much less profitable. For this reason alone, I’d highly reccomend making a branded paid search campaign part of your campaign set.

Next Steps: Setting Up Your First Google AdWords Campaign

Hopefully you’re off to Google AdWords right now to setup this important and inexpensive campaign! To help you, read my guide to vacation rental PPC marketing to learn more about this important channel.

Take The Next Step
  1. Download the free guide: 17 Ways To Level Up Your Vacation Rental Marketing and get our best tips on how to grow and scale your business.
  2. If you want to learn more about how to generate more bookings, visit our blog and read our articles.
  3. To get started working with us, visit our contact page, complete the form and schedule a call.
  4. If you’ve found this article helpful, please share it with your friends, team or other vacation rental managers you know!
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