Is Online Paid Advertising Still Effective for Hotels?

These days, paid ads come in a lot of different shapes and sizes — social ads, sponsored “native” ads, paid search ads.

With every new medium or media outlet, a new way to advertise seems to inevitably follow. But from a marketer’s perspective, are they worth the money? Do they actually work?

On one side, some swear by their effectiveness and ROI. On the other, we have purists who find paid advertisements intrusive and spammy.

For example, HubSpot recently released an Ads add-on to help its users more effectively leverage online ads. But inversely, their 2015 State of Inbound report found that 27% of marketers think online ads are the most overrated marketing tactic. So, what’s a hotel marketer to believe?

Addressing the strategic tug-of-war, TechnologyAdvice teamed up with Unbounce to bring us this infographic and ask the question, “Is Online Paid Media Still Effective in 2015?”

As a part of a larger report developed by the two companies, the infographic illustrates some surprising statistics on how 456 internet users feel about banner/display ads, social ads, and sponsored search engine results.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • 79% of consumers almost never click online ads
  • 55% say seeing a relevant message is the most effective way of getting them to click an ad
  • 89% of users would rather click an ad that leads to content or products than a form
  • 71% of people still find personalized or “behavior-based ads” intrusive and annoying

This doesn’t mean that paid media is dead.

Rather, it means that there is room for improvement. Consumers may be tired of transparent, paid advertising that is still clearly an ad, without providing additional value, but that doesn’t mean they’re tired of talking to brands altogether. Hotels looking to build relationships and loyalty with their guests can learn from these trends.

More relevant messages/offers

It’s no secret that consumers are fatigued when it comes to getting generic messages. When 82% of their inboxes are promotional or transactional in nature, it’s no surprise that they get tired of dealing with generic, irrelevant messaging.

According to the TechnologyAdvice report, 55% of consuemrs say that seeing a relevant message is the most effective way of getting them to click an add. Additionally, according to AgilOne, 70% of consumers expect more personalized services.

So, hotels can start to engage with guests on a personal level by using highly targeted email communications to serve up relevant content to the customers they already have. They can also take advantage of services like Facebook’s ad targeting to reach consumers that are most likely to be interested in booking with the hotel (CLICK HERE to read our blog post on how it works).

Building trust with guests

As I talked about in a recent Hotel Executive article, consumer trust results from a cost-benefit relationship. In other words? If your communications and ads to your target audience are consistently perceived as valuable, then the perceived benefit of interacting with your brand will far outweigh the perceived cost. They key is to consistently deliver value.

To start delivering consistently relevant ads and email communications, you first have to collect information on your guests and get to know them. One way to do this is through progressive profiling, which collects information as the guest interacts with you over time, to avoid raising any red flags. CLICK HERE to learn some ways you can do this.

Ultimately, if hotels want to break through the noise and build campaigns that successfully engage guests and build loyalty, they have to work harder on the value they bring to their guests.


Want to drive more direct revenue and connect with guests? Download our free Email Marketing Strategy Guide. Never before has there been a more jam-packed, industry-specific guide to help hoteliers master the art (and science) of email marketing. Over 40+ topics with actionable insights, strategies, and best practices for email marketing.

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