PPC ads help hotels drive more traffic and bookings. Check out these expert tips that turn search traffic into stays and learn from real-world examples that do it right.

Your hotel could be in a beautiful and bustling area, ready to welcome more guests — but that’s not always enough to compete with travel sites and big-name brands. You need more online visibility to drive traffic to your hotel website.

On one end, you have SEO — which can take six to 12 months to see results. Or you acn use PPC advertising to get your website seen immediately.

Using PPC advertising for hotels is a no-brainer for owners who want fast results. This form of advertising puts you in front of potential guests as they search, allowing you to capture their attention before they decide where to stay.

Every click is a potential guest. Let’s review how PPC campaigns can work for your hotel.

What is PPC for hotels?

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a marketing strategy where an advertiser (in this case, the hotel) pays each time their ad gets a click after showing up in search results. This gives you a fast track to visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs) and social media platforms where your audience looks for places to stay.

When someone searches for a hotel on Google, they’ll see sponsored results first.

Edition PPC ad

(Image: PPC ad example)

These are pay-per-click ads. Each time a user clicks, the hotel or online travel agent pays a fee to the platform that shows the ad. The rate for each click varies depending on the target audience and specific keywords.

For example, the average cost per click in travel and hospitality is $1.53 for search and $0.44 for Google Display Network.

PPC marketing is a form of search engine marketing (SEM), not to be confused with search engine optimization (SEO). PPC requires payment to appear in ad-based search results. SEO is a “free” way to appear on organic search result pages. Both are valuable, but PPC gets you lightning results, since your ads show up right away.

Having a working PPC strategy for hotels means your target audience sees your ad when they’re searching for keywords relevant to your property.

Why use PPC for hotels?

Pay-per-click advertising gives you a leg up on your competitors and online travel agents (OTAs). Plus, you see the immediate impact on website traffic because your ad will show up at the top of search results as soon as the campaign launches.

Pay-per-click also allows you to get measurable results (engagement and conversions) while keeping your costs in check. As a brand, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, meaning you reach more guests who are looking to book a stay.

Expert PPC tips for hotels

Want to maximize the value of your PPC campaigns? Use these pro tips to help you create effective ads and get more conversions for your hotel brand.

Focus on long-tail keywords

Instead of general terms, target specific phrases. For example, rather than “hotel in Miami” you may try “boutique hotel in downtown Miami.” These keywords are less competitive and more likely to attract qualified traffic. PPC keyword research tools, like Ahrefs and Semrush can help you find the right phrases to target.

Optimize for mobile

A lot of searches happen on mobile devices, so ensure your ads are mobile-friendly. Consider how your pay-per-click ad and landing page will appear for users across different devices. Otherwise, you may miss out on clicks.

Here are a few tips:

  • Use responsive design so ads and landing pages look fit any screen size
  • Reduce load times to prevent users from leaving too soon
  • Use call extensions so it’s easy for mobile users to contact your hotel directly
  • Implement mobile-specific ad formats, such as call-only ads or app promotion ads
  • Test and optimize your mobile ads and landing pages for performance and user experience

Use dynamic keyword insertion

Dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) is a feature in Google Ads feature that automatically updates your ads with relevant keywords your audience uses.

“It’s essential to manage the keyword list for DKI regularly to keep it closely related to the business. And nonitor performance metrics to gauge the effectiveness of the strategy in improving overall campaign performance,” says Campbell Tourgis, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Wainbee Limited.

Improve your ad’s quality score

A better quality score means lower costs and better ad placement in Google ads. So focus on relevance, writing good copy to improve your clickthrough rate, and the landing page experience. These are the primary factors Google looks at to determine your score.

Use ad extensions effectively

Ad extensions help your visibility, but be sure that your ad extensions are helpful to your audience. For example, you may want to include a contact page or a page with information about the destinations your hotel is closest to as ad extensions.

Review key performance indicators often

Your key performance indicators (KPIs) show whether your PPC ads are reaching your business goals. For example, click-through rate and conversion rate determine how your ads perform over time.

ConversionIQ, HawkSEM’s proprietary software, reveals who’s clicking your ads (and converting), so you can personalize your marketing campaign and messaging for better results.

Monitor and adjust the budget

Create a budget you’re comfortable spending on PPC ads, but don’t set it and forget it. Regularly check how your ads perform so you can pull back on concepts or platforms that aren’t converting. Then invest more money in what performs well.

Examples of paid search for hotels

Need inspiration for your PPC campaign? Explore these hotel PPC marketing ideas to see what they’re doing well and what they could do better.

  1. Hutton Hotel
  2. The Marmara Park Avenue
  3. The Wave Hotel
  4. The Joule Dallas
  5. Castle Hot Springs

 1. Hutton Hotel

This PPC ad does a great job of speaking to the unique benefits of the property and offering more information on additional pages. It has a clear CTA that tells viewers what to do next could improve this ad

Hutton Hotel PPC ad

 2. The Marmara Park Avenue

This ad for the Marmara Park Avenue Hotel speaks to its target audience. The statement in the ad shows that the property is a good environment for kids and pets. However, it’s missing other important information about offerings and amenities.

Marmara Park Avenue Hotel PPC ad

 3. The Wave Hotel

This ad fills in all available space with key details and offers various pages for viewers to explore. However, it’s missing any sense of urgency in the copy that may motivate people to click.

Wave Hotel PPC ad

 4. The Joule Dallas

The Joule put its special offer for Black Friday front and center in this PPC ad, which is great for attracting more eyes and clicks. It also uses language to inspire urgency.

Joule Dallas PPC ad

 5. Castle Hot Springs

This is a good example of PPC for luxury hotels. The ad copy focuses on the all-inclusive nature of what they offer. However, using an ad extension could draw more browsers in and get them to book a stay.

There are numerous approaches to try with PPC ads. Analyze your direct competitors and run experiments to find what works best for you.

Castle Hot Springs PPC ad


Hotel PPC mistakes to avoid

Putting PPC campaigns together the right way is easier when you know what not to do. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid with hotels ppc.

Ignoring negative keywords

Not using negative keywords may cause you to appear in irrelevant searches. For example, if you’re not close to the downtown area of your destination, you may want to include that as a negative keyword.

Overlooking ad extensions

Ad extensions allow you to provide more valuable information about your propery. This may help viewers make a decision or even inspire them to take the next step to reach ou or book. If you’re not considering ad extensions, you may miss out on clicks and conversions.

Not using your location

Use location-based keywords to appear when people search for places to stay in your destination. This will reach more people who are likely to book. Focus on a wider range, like a big city, or a specific neighborhood if your location is in high demand. Geo-targeting advertising can improve results for your PPC campaign.

Poor quality copy and landing pages

Generic copy and design won’t set you apart from your competitors. Use what you know about your target market to write PPC ad copy that connects. Then create a memorable experience with the copy and design on your landing page.

“The alignment of messaging and tone between the landing page and the corresponding ad or marketing campaign is crucial,” says Valentino Chiavarini Founder and CEO at Green Hive. “Consistency in messaging creates a seamless experience for the user, which builds trust and credibility. This can significantly impact engagement and conversion rates.”

Not doing A/B testing

Skipping A/B testing makes it difficult to uncover what’s working and what to improve. Create variations of copy and design elements to compare them side by side. This way, you can use PPC analytics to maximize conversions on ads that performs best.

Best PPC platform for hotels

Choosing the right PPC platform can maximize your online visibility and booking potential. Here are the best PPC platforms for hotels:

  • Google ads: A big player in PPC ads, offering a range of ad formats to boost visibility and bookings.
  • Bing ads: Alternative or complement to Google, allowing you to reach different sets of searchers
  • Meta ads: Gives you reach on two popular social networks, Facebook and Instagram.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but selecting the right platforms is a key to PPC success. Best option is to go wherever your customers are.

How to set up a PPC campaign for hotels

Once you decide to make PPC part of your digital marketing strategy, how do you put your campaign together? Follow these steps.

  1. Set campaign goals
  2. Conduct research
  3. Choose your platform
  4. Craft ad copy
  5. Build your landing page
  6. Get your campaign running

Step 1: Set campaign goals

To understand what you want to get out of PPC advertising to achieve a return on investment, consider questions like:

  • Who is the target audience I want to reach?
  • What action do I want people to take after clicking on my ad?
  • What metrics will help me track success?

Step 2: Conduct research

Most searches for hotels begin on a search engine. So identify what your target audience is looking for, and what they currently see when they’re doing searches online.


Identify relevant keywords for your hotel and its location. Then, do competitive research to see what your competitors do well, and where you may have an opportunity to do better. For example, if your competitors don’t use ad extensions, include them to stand out.

Step 3: Choose your platform

Each platform offers advantages, so select based on where your target audience is most likely to engage. If you already get a lot of engagement from organic posts on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, amp up your reach by adding PPC to your strategy.

First, consider the demographics and targeting options available to you. Google ads allow you to target based on age, gender, location, and income level. Facebook has those options, plus targeting based on behavior and interest data.

Step 4: Craft ad copy

Your PPC ad copy is your chance to make an impression and help users decide if they’ll click through. Use these elements to write copy that supports conversions.

  • State your offer in the headline. If you’re running a discount throughout the duration of your PPC campaign, include it in the headline.
  • Highlight what sets your hotel apart. Expand on your value in the body copy, so guests know why they should choose you. For instance, amenities you offer that other hotels in the area don’t.
  • Include a clear call to action. Ask people what you want them to do. For example, encourage them to make a direct booking by using a phrase like “call us” or “book now.”

Step 5: Build your landing page

A well-optimized landing page is what converts a click into a booking. Your landing page should create a cohesive experience for viewers by continuing the story from your PPC ad and using a design that’s easy to navigate.

Step 6: Get your campaign running

Once you have your ad and your landing page ready, you can start your campaign. Steps may vary depending on the platform you choose, but this is generally what you can expect from the setup process.

  1. Add your business information
  2. Set your campaign goals
  3. Include audience targets
  4. Input your budget
  5. Enter payment details

PPC services for hotels

What should you look for in a hotel PPC company? At HawkSEM, PPC management is our core competency. Our approach will ensure your hotel PPC campaigns are strategic and aligned with your business goals, delivering maximum return on ad spend.

We work closely with you to develop a customized PPC strategy that aligns with your needs. We take time to learn about the business, target audience, and buyer persona. From there we create custom PPC campaigns, monitor, and track them closely to ensure a positive return on ad spend.

How much does PPC cost for hotels?

The cost of hotel PPC management can vary. Based on our experience, you can expect to spend around $3,000 – $10,000 per month.

Learn more about PPC costs in our guide.

Common PPC terms

Need to wrap your head around all the different elements of PPC campaigns? Here are the phrases to know before creating hotel ads and including them in your vacation rental PPC or travel marketing strategy.

  • Cost per click (CPC): The amount of money you pay every time a user clicks an ad. For example, if you spend $100 on an ad and get 1,000 clicks, your cost is 10 cents per click.
  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM): The amount you pay for every 1,000 impressions an ad gets. If your ad campaign costs $500 for 250,000 impressions, your CPM would be two dollars.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click an ad after they view it. High click-through rates show your ads are relevant to your target audience. The average click-through rate is 10% in the travel industry.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of ad clicks that result in a new lead or a sale. The average conversion rate for online ads in the travel industry is 3.87%.
  • Quality score: A Google Ads metric that assesses the relevance of ads and keywords. This impacts your cost per click and ad ranking.
  • Bid strategy: The amount of money you pay for an ad or placement. Cost-per-click is the most common, but some platforms use other methods, like cost per acquisition or cost per engagement.
  • Geo-targeting: A feature in advertising platforms that allows you to show ads to specific users based on geographic markers like region, state, or city.
  • Ad rank: The position where your ad appears on the search results page.
  • Retargeting or remarketing: A marketing method that shows your ads to users who visited your website before. The goal is to capture and keep their attention.
  • Negative keywords: Terms or phrases that prevent ads from showing up in specific searches.
  • Ad extensions: Additional information like contact details or property information pages that you can include in PPC ads.
  • Landing page: The page users see after clicking on an ad.
  • Impressions: The number of times an ad is displayed.
  • Display network: A network of websites where ads can appear.

PPC ad campaign checklist for hotels

The takeaway

Managing all the marketing tasks that keep guests coming through the door is no easy feat. PPC campaigns, when done right, are an investment in hotel marketing that keeps giving back to your business with every impression.

Use this post as a guide to develop PPC ads that bring more traffic to your website and your property.

Want to put together a PPC advertising campaign that converts? We’d love to help. Get in touch with our experts today.

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Aly Goulet

Aly Goulet

Aly Goulet is a B2B copywriter and content strategist with years of experience working with brands like Ford, Shutterstock, and Uber. Every story she works on is shaped by her background in the arts and career in data-driven marketing. (Plus, most importantly, drinking copious amounts of tea.)