Europarcs: The Role of Google Hotel Ads and Sea Automation in Marketing
In the summer of 2020, Droomparken was taken over by the EuroParcs Group, which manages 38 holiday parks at home and abroad under the EuroParcs labels. They are active in B2B and B2C. Luuk Raaijmakers is a marketer at Europarcs/Droomparken.
Janine Messelink and Vincent Cramer work for their supporting online marketing agency Prosuco, a specialist in the recreation industry. In this interview, they talk about the role of Google Hotel Ads and SEA automation in their marketing strategy.
Google Hotel Ads: flexible and profitable
More direct bookings at lower costs
Luuk from Europarcs explains: “I see Google Hotel Ads as a kind of hotel branch of Google Shopping. I saw large parties such as Booking and Trivago active on this, and as a marketer, I certainly wanted to go along with this, on the one hand, to prevent them from “hijacking” all the bookings, but also to stay one step ahead of our competition.
“When I started looking into it, the conditions turned out to be very favorable because I have to pay much less commission with Google Hotel Ads, I can realize more direct bookings at lower costs and still achieve extra visibility.”
Owner of the data
Luuk continues: “In addition, you remain the owner of the data yourself because travelers ultimately book on your own site via an advertisement on Google Hotel Ads. You can then easily use this data for other marketing campaigns, such as upselling on our website and retargeting via email.”
Always wise for independent recreation entrepreneurs
Janine van Prosuco explains: “Actually, it is always wise for an independent recreation entrepreneur to use Hotel Ads because you do not have to deal with tour operator commissions. With us, all properties are owned by owners, and we do have certain commission agreements about this. Therefore, marketing for Europarcs is always about what we have left at the bottom and which channel is profitable or not.”
Luuk continues: “The first thing you have to deal with at Hotel Ads – and also the most difficult work – is the technical link. Adchieve has made a custom link with Tommy Booking Support and the Google Hotel Center. In this way, the current price and availability can be retrieved and forwarded continuously. For example, the landing page that the visitor sees on our site corresponds to the price and the offer that Google shows.”
Janine continues: “The search terms in Hotel Ads are protected, and Google ultimately determines when you will be shown. The advantage is that you can easily determine what a booking costs. The use of Hotel Ads turned out to be interesting for Europarcs, for example, because you can choose from different bidding strategies. For example, you have the commission strategies, but we consciously work with the CPC strategy.
You can then choose how high you want to bet and that gives us a lot of certainty. We have calculated in advance what a click to our site may cost on average so that we can calculate back. Such a manual CPC is, incidentally, converted to a commission percentage: for example, wanting to get 10,- in and 100,- back means that you set 10% commission.”
Hotel and room feed
Vincent van Prosuco: “Together with Adchieve, we have bundled all the parks into one hotel feed. We then set up our own campaign for each park linked to the booking system. Therefore, they are current in terms of data, offer, and prices.
The accommodation types (luxury villa, tiny house, etc.) are included in a so-called room feed. For example, we can also use room bundles within Hotel Ads. With this feature, you can easily show all your available stay types so that you have a better chance of conversion.”
Additional tips for optimization
Janine explains: “In addition to Room Bundles, I would also advise the following for optimal use of Hotel Ads:
- Optimize your Google Business Profile (Google My Business)
- Use highlight extensions or USPs of your park. We have added our slogan and an extension per park: for example, “Beautiful Limburg on the German border.” Google uses CTRs to determine which extension best matches a search query
- Always display your brand’s logo within Hotel Ads.
You could also use Property Promotion Ads if you want to be found on more generic terms, for example, on ‘holiday park Germany.’ Free Booking Links, receiving free organic traffic from Google Hotel Ads listings, is also an option.”
Luuk explains: “Once the feed is linked and the major work is done, maintaining Google Hotel Ads is, in principle, relatively little work. We monitor the costs, and that’s it.”
Luuk: “The Hotel Ads for Droomparken (ed.: for transition to Europarcs) are profitable. We had a value/cost ratio of 25 over the entire period that the Hotel Ads have been running. So this is comparable to a commission rate of only 4%.”
67% CPC decrease
Luuk explains: “We initially started with Adchieve to automate our Text Ads. I’ve always been a fan of automating to save manual labor. Software is faster and smarter than humans. That leaves me time for other things.
Automation increases relevance and saves work
Vincent explains: “The idea, in conjunction with our SEO strategy, was that we would make search terms rank higher in the funnel via SEO, and we wanted to use SEA at the bottom of the funnel; by brand name and more specific terms.
“We now have four campaigns running: by park name, province, region, and place name. We then created separate ad groups in the software. The software is indispensable because we offer many “parks. To do this, you can automatically create specific ads in Adchieve that match your search terms. That way, you can get through mountains of work in no time.”
Results: significant cost reduction without sacrificing results
Vincent explains: “Within a few months, we saw very good results. We saw the CTR rise and the CPCs fall without sacrificing results.
“To give you a concrete picture, I compared the figures between June 2019 and June 2020. During this period, we had the same type of campaigns running, but in 2020 we created them with Adchieve software.
These are the nice numbers:
- The number of impressions increased by 40%
- CTR increased by 20%
- The average CPC decreased by 67%
- Cost per conversion decreased by 96%
The costs, in the form of a license and monthly maintenance fee at Adchieve, are fully recovered.”
Combination Hotel Ads and SEA
Luuk: “I can imagine that as a provider, you struggle with the ideal combination between the use of Hotel Ads and SEA. At Europarcs, we see these channels as two separate marketing channels. We allocate separate budgets for this and assess the results separately. Of course, there is always cannibalization on a search term. Therefore, my advice is to look for a suitable combination and bidding strategy for your channels.”
Luuk concludes: “My advice is to address your questions about this to a party like Adchieve. They are strategic experts in the fields of travel, technical links, and of course, Google Automation and Hotel Ads. They provide you with the right training but can also guide you in setting up and maintaining campaigns in their own software if desired.”
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