Hilton Uses Google Hotel Ads to Entice New Customers

Hilton Hotels is seeing significant bumps in conversion rates and return on investment (ROI) by integrating Google Hotel Ads into its advertising budget.

Unlike other Google advertising products, Hotel Ads focus entirely on reaching travelers as they plan their trips. Hotel ads appear across devices wherever travelers might search on Google properties, including maps, search, and Google+. Hotel ads also link directly to checkout, so that when travelers are offered, for example, $182 a night for a room in Miami, they can select that rate and book through the ad. Like AdWords, Hotel Ads use a limited number of words to list amenities and specific offers.

Hilton’s marketing team worked very closely with its revenue teams to use Hotel Ads to fill specific vacancies within the hotel chain, according to Dustin Bomar, vice president of digital acquisition at Hilton Worldwide. Targeting individual hotels paid off for the company. It’s seen a 45 percent increase in conversions and a 12 percent increase in ROI since adopting Hotel Ads.

“We integrated very closely with our revenue management colleagues who could tell us where the need was,” Bomar says. “For example, if the entire market is down in Atlanta or there are occupancy gaps in Chicago for the next 60 days, aligning with revenue management allows us to pull the strings for hotels that really need business versus just kind of blanketing the market and having everything be the same.”

Bomar also says that Hotel Ads brought the chain new business, which was more important to the company than simply increasing overall ROI. “The thing that we care about is incremental business to our hotel,” says Bomar. “It’s very easy to go out and do campaigns that show a good ROI, but it’s much more challenging to deliver new business to our hotel. If I’m looking at performance of a campaign and I see that 90 percent of the reservations that are being booked from Hotel Ads were from our Elite Tier Honors members, I would question whether or not I was paying for businesses I would have gotten anyway. We look at everything with the lens of incrementality and making sure that we are driving new business to the hotel and not just demonstrating a very good ROI.”

Bomar looks forward to future stages of Hotel Ads that could deliver Hilton’s message to an even broader audience. “I think Google obviously has access to a huge audience and if they choose to do so they could very quickly flip the switch and we would have a lot of volume coming through there,” Bomar says. “I’m hopeful that they’ll continue carefully ramping it up and that performance will maintain.”

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