Picture this scenario. I’m an Auckland based business owner and I’ve just arrived on the 9pm flight at Queenstown Airport. I’m on a last minute trip to see a client and need a quiet place to stay for a meeting in Frankton in the morning. Yawning; bleary-eyed in front of the baggage carousel, I reach into my pocket and pull out my iPhone.
I hit the Google search bar at the top of the home screen and swiftly tap in “Queenstown Airport Motels”, for which three or four links fill my five-inch screen for Booking.com, Trivago and Expedia et al, all promising me the lowest rates.
Naturally, I tap the first result and I’m instantly presented with a seemingly endless list of rooms near Queenstown Airport, on a Booking.com landing page. The various options are ranked by several factors; price, distance, guest ratings etc. I scan through the options, before finally clicking the fourth one down; your motel, which for the sake of this story, we’ll call "Bob’s Motel".
I’ve selected Bob’s Motel because it has a good rating, free wifi and it’s the second cheapest of all the motels nearby. I hit the “Book Now” button and just like that, I’ve paid the $180 by credit card and as I receive the confirmation email, my bag arrives on the carousel. Sliding my iPhone back in my pocket I venture outside into the cool, crisp mountain air. I climb into my awaiting taxi and within minutes, I’ve checked into room number 11 at Bob’s Motel.
It all sounds pretty good so far, right? You usually have a couple of rooms available on a weeknight and you’re probably grateful that that motel booking website has filled it, albeit at your cheapest rate and with a cool 20% commission. But hey, at least they’ve filled the room because we both know once you’ve closed for the night, you can’t resell a vacancy.
However, let’s talk hypothetically about me again for a second, because you see, as it turns out, my business requires my presence in Queenstown fairly regularly. After a very pleasant stay with Bob’s Motel a few weeks back, I’ve got a three night trip to Queenstown coming up next week. Again, I jump on Google, only this time, I type in “Bob’s Motel”.
Excellent, repeat business! Come to think of it, you guess about a third of your guests are regulars. They come back because regardless of how they originally found you, they had a warm, restful sleep and they enjoyed the friendly service and banter with you, Bob, of Bob’s Motels.
Now, getting back to that Google search. I, like many of your regular guests hit enter on that search for “Bob’s Motel” from my iPhone and again, results from multiple motel booking sites all populate the first four or five results in the form of Google Adwords. Knowing that I had a good experience with the last motel booking website that I used, I enthusiastically tap their Adword for “Bob’s Motel”. Again, I’m presented with your booking page, but alongside are a plethora of other options. I scroll down the page thinking $10 a night cheaper AND a spa pool at Sarah’s Motel is looking pretty good…
Hmm… scratching your head on that one? I imagine it gets you a bit riled up, and fair enough. Suddenly, the gratitude expressed earlier to that motel booking site for filling the room has vanished. It’s been replaced by the feeling that they’re not only cutting your lunch but taking a bite, handing it to your worst enemy and then eyeballing you while they slap you in the face. After all, it was your comfortable bed and hilarious wit that had me return to your motel, so why should said booking site get another slice of the pie or even worse, direct my search for you to another motel?
Even if I’m not tempted to another option and choose to remain loyal, with an average cheapest room rate of say $180, a three-night stay will cost me $540. This booking site is simply taking the reservation and payment of a guest you have an existing relationship with and at 15% commission, charging you $81 for the privilege.
Which brings us back to the title of this piece: Why every accommodation provider should have a Google Adwords strategy. If you’re a motel or hotel in New Zealand, there’ll be anywhere from 200-1000 Google searches per month looking for you by name. So let’s say 400 people search every month for Bob’s Motel, how many of those are clicking on those booking sites at the top of the results page?
The only way to ensure that more of your own guests are finding their way directly to you is to defend your territory. Other brands have taken out Adwords on your brand name to make a profit, so why wouldn’t you?
Get in touch with Django to find out how.