hotel ppc

Competition for online visibility is fierce In the hotel industry. Online travel agencies (OTAs) like and Expedia dominate search results, capturing 40% of the global travel market.

Independent hotels need innovative strategies to attract potential guests when they are searching for accommodation online. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising offers a powerful solution to this problem. 

Paid search lets you appear at the top of search results. Since you only pay when someone clicks your ad, PPC is a cost-effective way to attract qualified leads and drive bookings.  

This article explores the benefits of hotel PPC and provides a step-by-step guide for launching a successful hotel PPC campaign.

What Is Hotel PPC?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising offers hotels a shortcut to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). 

And because 70% of people use search engines to plan their travel, this targeted approach makes it a powerful tool for generating leads and driving bookings.

For example, type in "Hotel in Miami," and you'll see a mix of results, including:

  • Ads from OTAs: Prominent ads from sites like, Expedia, etc.
  • Hotel PPC Ads: Ads from individual hotels competing for those same clicks.

Google's Hotel Listing Block: A dedicated section with several hotels, their rates, and photos.

search results for hotels in miami

The best part? You’ll only pay when a potential guest expresses interest by clicking on your ad.

PPC for hotels has more benefits: 

🚀Instant visibility

🎯Laser-focused targeting

📈Data-driven decisions

💸Boost direct bookings

🛎️Fill last-minute vacancies


Other benefits of PPC ads include:

⏩ Fast, reliable results

🖱️ Guaranteed clicks

✔️ Drive traffic to your website

🔎 Specifically target your ideal customers

💸 Control your spending to suit your budget

🎯 Target customers who have interacted with your website but didn’t take any action

📊 Track your progress

How Does Hotel PPC Advertising Work?

Understanding PPC starts with keywords—the words and phrases people use when searching for a place to stay.  

These keywords hold clues about a user's intent—this is the purpose or goal behind the search.  

Intent signals to search engines what the user wants, influencing which organic results and sponsored PPC ads appear.

PPC and SEO experts often rate the level of intent based on how likely a user is to buy something based on the search term they type in. 

For example, “Hotel in Miami” is a typical keyword someone might type into Google. It suggests a medium intent to buy, as the user might be researching options but is not ready to book.

Here are some other examples:

🔴High intent: "Oceanfront Hotel Miami," "all-inclusive resorts Bahamas," or "hotels near Disneyland with shuttle." These indicate the user is interested in making a booking.

🟠Medium intent: "Best family hotels in Orlando," "boutique hotels London," or "budget hotels near [airport]". These search terms show the user is considering options.

🟢Low intent: "Tips for finding hotel deals," "luxury hotel experiences," or "hotel room checklist." People who type these are researching, and are not ready to book.

The bidding process

With PPC, advertisers (like hotels and resorts, for instance) set a budget for their ads and decide how much they're willing to pay for each click.

They use this budget to bid on keywords relevant to their business. 

A behind-the-scenes auction determines which hotel ads are displayed when someone searches for those keywords.

Here are the factors that a search engine considers:

➡️Bid amount: How much the hotel will pay per click?

➡️Ad relevance: How closely the ad matches the search intent.

➡️Ad quality: Is the ad well-written and enticing?

➡️Landing page: Does the page the ad links to provide a good user experience and match the search?

The ads with the highest scores get shown to users. Importantly, Google and other platforms want to show users the most useful results, so even if you're not the highest bidder, a fantastic ad and landing page can still win you a prime position.

What determines keyword costs?

In hotel PPC campaigns, the cost per click is determined by the specific keywords you select.

Some keywords are more in demand than others. High commercial intent keywords (those showing a clear desire to book) are generally more expensive due to increased competition.

For example, using a keyword tool like Ahrefs shows that "last-minute hotel deals" have a cost-per-click (CPC) of $1.50 due to high demand and the likelihood that the searcher is ready to book. It also has a global search volume of 70K.

overview of last minute hotel deals

On the other hand, "best hotel in miami beach” has a CPC of just $0.80, as it's less indicative of immediate booking intent. This is because the user is looking at different hotel options in a specific area.

best hotel in miami beach

Now that you understand how PPC works, the next section will show you how to set up successful PPC campaigns for your hotel. 

How to Get Started with Hotel PPC Campaigns

Set goals

Before diving into keyword searches and ad creation, take the time to define exactly what you want to achieve with PPC. 

Clear goals will guide your campaigns and help you measure success. Make sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Here are some common goals for hotel PPC and how to make them “SMART”:

Increase direct bookings:

Good: "Increase direct bookings by X% in the next quarter"

⬆️Better: "Increase direct bookings by 15% for our luxury suites in Q3"


Drive traffic for promotions:

Good: "Drive traffic to promote a new hotel package"

⬆️Better: "Generate 500 clicks to our 'Fall Getaway Package' landing page during October”


Target off-season travelers:

Good: "Target off-season travelers with special offers"

⬆️Better: "Boost occupancy by 20% during January and February with our 'Winter Escape' promotion"

Here are some additional goal ideas for your PPC advertising campaign:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Promote specific amenities
  • Capture local searchers

Choose your platform

There are many different types of PPC advertising formats and platforms available. 

Here's a breakdown of the primary options and how they can benefit hotels:

Search ads

These text-based ads appear on search engine results pages. They're ideal for targeting people actively searching for accommodation using specific keywords.

There are two main types: 

➡️Google Ads: As the dominant search engine, Google Ads is a must-have. Start here to capture users actively searching for accommodation.

➡️Bing Ads: Other search engines like Bing can offer additional reach and may be less competitive in some areas. Consider it as a supplement to Google Ads.

Display ads

Display ads are banners, images, or videos that appear on websites and apps. This type of ad is great for increasing brand awareness and remarketing (more on this later).

Social media ads

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are ideal for visually appealing ads that showcase your hotel's unique appeal. 

Use social media ads to target potential guests based on interests, demographics, and past travel behavior. With 35% of people discovering new travel destinations on Instagram, Meta Ads presents a powerful opportunity to inspire “wanderlust”.

⚠️Note: From here on, we'll focus on Google Ads, the most popular PPC platform for hotels.

Select your keywords

Now it's time to think like a potential guest! What words or phrases would they use when searching for a hotel like yours? Brainstorm a list of keyword ideas, then use keyword research tools to refine them. 

Consider using tools like:

🏆Google Keyword Planner



Here is what to take into consideration when doing keyword research:

✅Search volume: Look for keywords with a decent number of monthly searches. 

✅Relevance: Choose keywords that closely match a potential guest's search. Examples include your hotel's location, amenities, or type of experience. Remember, high relevance means there is a higher likelihood that someone clicking your ad is ready to book. 

✅Intent: Prioritize keywords that suggest the searcher is close to making a decision. For example:

  • "Book [hotel name]"
  • "[city] hotels with rooftop pool"
  • "Last-minute deals [location]"

These keywords are more valuable than broad terms like "best Paris hotels.” 

✅Cost-per-click (CPC): Most keyword tools provide a CPC estimate. This shows how much you can expect to pay each time someone clicks your ad. 

💡Pro-tip: Balance CPC with search volume

A high CPC keyword might be worth it if it has a significant search volume and aligns perfectly with your hotel.

✅Competition: Understand how difficult it will be to rank highly for certain keywords. Highly competitive keywords often mean higher CPC and require more effort to rank on the first page of results. Google Ads refers to this as keyword competitiveness. 

For example, data from Ahrefs highlights this: the keyword phrase 'airport hotel Atlanta' has a manageable keyword difficulty (23), solid search volume (300/month), shows booking intent, and has a reasonable CPC ($1.70).

overview of search results for airport hotel atlanta

These metrics suggest this keyword is worth pursuing for hotels located near Atlanta’s airport.

💡Pro-tip: What is keyword difficulty?

Ahrefs' keyword difficulty (KD) is a metric that tries to estimate how difficult it would be to rank in the top 10 organic search results on Google for a specific keyword. 

💬 Narrow down your list

Start with a broad list and get specific. 

Say your hotel caters to families, your initial list might include:

🔍"Family Hotels Orlando"

🔍"Disney World hotels with shuttle"

🔍"Kid-friendly beach resorts"

🔍"All-inclusive family vacations"

If you specialize in affordable family stays, you may decide to prioritize the keyword "budget family hotels in Orlando."

💡Pro-tip: Don't just focus on low-difficulty keywords. High-intent keywords, even if they’re more competitive, can be worth the investment if they convert well.

💬Use negative keywords

Negative keywords are the terms you don’t want your ad to appear for. You can add them to your Google Ads campaigns to prevent them from showing in irrelevant searches.

If you're a luxury hotel, you might add these negative keywords:

👎 "Cheap hotels"

👎 "Hostels"

👎 "Motels"

👎 "Campgrounds near [city]"

Adding negative keywords to your Google hotel ads saves money and ensures your ads reach the right audience.

Create optimized landing pages

PPC ads are just the first step. To fully capitalize on them, they need to link to landing pages designed to convince a potential guest to book. Here's how to ensure your landing page seals the deal:

➡️Match ad intent: If your ad promotes "Oceanfront Suites with Balconies," the landing page should immediately focus on this feature. Don't make users hunt for what they were promised!

➡️Strong visuals: Encourage people to book by showing them stunning, high-quality images and videos of your rooms, pool, dining areas, and any unique amenities.

➡️Clear booking options: Make the "Book Now" button impossible to miss. Place it above the fold (the visible area before scrolling), and consider using a contrasting color to make it stand out. Simplify the booking process as much as possible.

➡️Mobile-friendly: A huge portion of hotel searches happen on smartphones. Your landing page must load quickly, be easy to navigate, and have touch-friendly buttons on mobile devices.

💡Bonus tip: Highlight your advantages

Do you offer free breakfast, a pet-friendly policy, or have the best location in town? Prominently mention your unique selling points on the landing page.

Here is an example of a great landing page. We searched for “luxury hotel los angeles” and this ad for the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Beverly Hills came up:

search results for luxury hotel los angeles

And the landing page ticks all the right boxes:

landing page for waldorf astoria

✔️Matches ad intent: The Waldorf's landing page immediately aligns with our search. It conveys exclusivity and highlights the amenities a luxury traveler would expect. 

✔️Strong visuals: The images showcase the hotel's elegance, from the rooms to the stunning pool area. This helps potential guests get excited about their stay.

✔️Clear booking options: The prominent "Check Availability" and "Make a Reservation" buttons make it easy for users to take action. For PPC campaigns, removing friction from the conversion process is vital. Note the strategic placement of the button above the fold, so users don't have to scroll.

A well-designed landing page is the cornerstone of a successful PPC campaign. Invest the time to create pages tailored to each ad for maximum conversions. 

Craft compelling ad copy

Your ad copy is your chance to make a powerful first impression on potential guests. With limited space, every word matters! Google ads have two parts, headlines and descriptions. Below we’ll show you how to create copy for each. 


Start with a short, attention-grabbing headline (around 30 characters) highlighting your hotel's unique selling point.  

Focus on what makes you different. Here are some examples: 

  • "Oceanfront Views in Miami"
  • "Luxury Suites Minutes from Times Square" 
  • "Pet-Friendly Getaway with Pool"

If you have an exclusive offer, make it the star of your headline; you could say something like: "Book Direct for 10% Off!"


Next, craft a slightly longer description (around 90 characters) that expands on the benefits and paints a picture of the experience—for example, you could say something like "Indulge in Oceanfront Luxury, Steps from Miami's South Beach."

End with a clear call to action (CTA) that encourages immediate action: 

  • "Book Your Dream Getaway Today" 
  • "Discover Our Exclusive Offers"  

For added impact, try using urgency, something like "Limited-Time Offer! Book Now"  

Throughout the copy, naturally weave in your primary keywords to help your ad appear for the most relevant searches.

ℹ Here are some hotel ad examples: 


Example 1: Luxury Boutique Hotel

Headline: Exclusive Parisian Escape – Boutique Charm

Description: Elegant rooms, Michelin-starred dining, steps from the Louvre. Book your luxurious getaway.


Example 2: Family-Friendly Resort

Headline: Family Fun in Orlando – Close to Parks!

Description: Kid-friendly pool, free shuttle, special theme park packages. Book your adventure!

💡Pro Tip: Use ad extensions! Show your location, add direct call buttons, or include links to specific offers to make your ads more informative.

Here is an example of an advertiser leveraging ad extensions:

search results for the michaelangelo hotel

Create your Google Ads account

Ready to start reaching potential guests? Setting up your Google Ads account is the first step. Google Ads is free to join and easy to set up.

Here is what you will need:

Business info: Your hotel's name, website, and contact details.

Campaign basics: A starting budget and an idea of the keywords you want to target. ✅Payment method: A credit card to pay for clicks on your ads.

💡Here is Google’s official guide on how to set up a Google Ads account.

Set up your target audience

Get your hotel in front of the right people! With Google Ads, you can tailor your PPC ads to appear specifically for potential guests most likely to book.

Here's a breakdown of the primary targeting options available in Google Ads:

  • Location: Countries, regions, cities, or even a radius around your hotel. 
  • Demographics: Like age, gender, and household income.
  • Interests and behaviors: Based on users' search history, websites they visit, and broader interests.
  • Devices: Choose to show ads on desktops, smartphones, tablets, or a combination.

Advanced targeting options

You can take your targeting up a notch with these advanced options: 

➡️Placements: Select specific websites or apps where you want your ads to appear (relevant travel blogs, booking sites, etc.).

➡️Topics: Have your ads appear on pages about specific topics (like "family travel" or "luxury hotels").

➡️Remarketing (now called data segments): Show ads to people who have previously visited your hotel website. This is highly effective for re-engaging potential guests.

➡️Custom audiences: Create highly tailored audiences based on a combination of the factors above.

💡Pro-tip: Google Ads targeting options evolve over time, so always check Google's resources for the most up-to-date list.

Set up campaign structure

Your Google Ads account can be organized to make it easier to reach your goals, analyze results, and optimize over time. This is called your campaign structure. 

A good campaign is normally organized around campaigns and ad groups.

Here's how to create a logical framework:


Think of campaigns as the big-picture categories for your ads. 

For hotels, consider dividing them by:

✔️Location: "Miami Beachfront Hotels," "Orlando Theme Park Hotels"

✔️Theme: "Luxury Paris Hotels," "Budget-Friendly New York City"

✔️Target audience: "Family Vacation Packages," "Romantic Getaways"

Ad groups

Within each campaign, create ad groups. Each ad group should center around a tightly-knit cluster of keywords.

Here’s an example to illustrate our point: 

Campaign: Luxury Paris Hotels

➡️Ad Group 1: Keywords emphasizing exclusive experiences 

  • "Paris hotels with private balcony" 
  • "5-star hotels Paris city center"
  • "Paris hotels with butler service"

➡️Ad Group 2: Keywords targeting couples and romantic getaways 

  • "Romantic hotels Paris with views"
  •  "honeymoon suites Paris"
  •  "luxury hotels Paris near Louvre"

A good campaign structure helps organize your ads around common themes, making it easier to target specific keywords and audiences. This increased targeting precision means your ads are more likely to show up in relevant searches, improving their effectiveness and relevance to potential customers.

Also, well-structured campaigns allow you to track performance on a more granular level to see what's working and what isn’t. 

Determine bidding strategies

Google Ads offers flexibility in how you manage your bids (the maximum you're willing to pay per click). Here's a breakdown of the primary options:

Manual bidding

You have full control over how much you bid for each keyword. Manual bidding gives you direct control over how your budget is spent on a keyword-by-keyword basis, giving you fine-tuned precision over your advertising costs. While this approach offers precision, it requires more time and monitoring.

This approach is best for experienced advertisers, or those with smaller campaigns who want to closely manage their spend on specific keywords.

Automated bidding

This approach can be especially helpful for beginners or those managing complex campaigns who want to save time.

We recommend starting with automated bidding focused on "Maximize Conversions" or "Target CPA." You can always switch to manual bidding for more control later on.

There are several automated strategies:

📈Maximize clicks: Get as many clicks as possible within your budget.

📈Target CPA: Aims for a specific average cost per booking.

📈Maximize conversionsGet the most bookings within your budget.

The next step is to use your data to make informed decisions. 

Here’s an example of what this looks like for hotels: 

🌴 Scenario: You launch a campaign for your beachside resort, using keywords like "Florida family vacation" and "all-inclusive beach resorts."

👀 Monitoring: After a week, you notice:

  • High clicks but few bookings on the "Florida family vacation" keyword.
  • Several bookings from the "all-inclusive beach resorts" keyword.

⬆️ Actions:

  • Lower your bid for "Florida family vacation," as it might be too broad.
  • Increase your bid for "all-inclusive beach resorts."
  • Add negative keywords like "cheap" or "discount" to prevent bargain-hunters from clicking your ads.
  • A/B test landing page elements (headlines, offers) to boost conversion rates.

Launch and monitor

Dayparting is an advertising strategy where you schedule your ads to run only during specific days of the week and times of the day.  The goal is to maximize your ad spend by showing your ads when they are most likely to be seen by your target audience and lead to conversions.

Track the following metrics:

📊Click-through rate (CTR): A metric that tells you how many people click on your ad.

📊Conversion rate: Tracks how many clicks lead to actual bookings.

📊Cost per click (CPC): Measures whether you are spending your budget efficiently. 

📊Impressions and impression share: Show how often your ads appear in relevant searches.

📊Return on ad spend (ROAS): Shows whether you are generating enough revenue from your campaigns.

💡Expert insight: What is ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)? 

ROAS is a key metric that measures the amount of revenue your hotel earns for every dollar spent on advertising. It's calculated by dividing your total revenue generated by your total ad spend.

ℹ️ Example: If you spend $1,000 on a PPC campaign and it generates $5,000 in bookings, your ROAS is 5:1 (for every $1 spent, you earn $5 back).

ROAS helps you determine whether your PPC campaigns are profitable. A high ROAS indicates a successful campaign; a low ROAS suggests room for improvement.

Running a successful hotel demands your full attention. Mastering online advertising can be time-consuming. That's where can help.

We recognize the unique needs of hotel PPC management, and our team of experts can help you avoid common pitfalls that waste your budget and make you miss out on potential guests.

💡Expert insight: PPC is an ongoing process of refinement. By constantly monitoring and adjusting, you'll maximize the return on your ad spend and drive more bookings for your hotel!

Advanced Tactics: Take Your Hotel PPC to the Next Level

Implement ad scheduling

Ad scheduling lets you control precisely when your ads appear throughout the day and week. Instead of your ads running continuously, you can choose specific time slots for them to be displayed to potential guests.

Ad scheduling is important for hotels for a few reasons:

Optimizes budget: Avoid wasting ad spend when your target audience is unlikely to book.

Improves targeting: Tailor your ads to match the mindset of travelers at different times.

Boosts relevance: This feature allows you to show the right offer at the right time. For example, weekday deals for business travelers and weekend packages for people looking to get away.

How to implement dayparting

Dayparting is an advertising strategy where you schedule your ads to run only during specific days of the week and times of the day.  The goal is to maximize your ad spend by showing your ads when they are most likely to be seen by your target audience and lead to conversions.

To implement dayparting, the first step is to take a look at your website analytics and previous campaigns (if available) to identify:

  • When are people most likely to be searching for hotels like yours?
  • Are there days or time slots with higher conversion rates (bookings)?

Next, segment your campaigns. If necessary, divide your campaigns based on target audiences (business vs. leisure) or focus (off-season vs. peak season).

Within your Google Ads account, adjust the ad schedule for each campaign. This lets you increase bids during high-booking periods and decrease bids (or even pause ads) during times with fewer conversions.

Take seasonality into account

Travel demand often fluctuates due to seasons, holidays, local events, and even weather patterns. Understanding these peaks and valleys is essential for effective PPC spending.

Here's how to create seasonal campaigns: 

1️⃣Identify your seasons 

Analyze your booking data and local tourism trends. Define your specific high, low, and shoulder seasons.

2️⃣Adjust bids and budgets

  • High seasons: Increase bids and allocate more budget to capture maximum bookings during peak demand.
  • Low seasons: Reduce bids to conserve budget, but don't pause campaigns entirely. This maintains visibility and allows you to capture off-season bookings.
  • Shoulder seasons: These in-between periods are opportunities to attract guests with special offers and targeted messaging.

💡Pro-tip: Use seasonal ad messaging

Create dedicated ads and landing pages for your offers in each season, enhancing the user experience and boosting conversions.

Focus on Your Guests, Let Handle the Rest

Running a successful hotel demands your full attention. Mastering online advertising can be time-consuming. That's where can help.

We recognize the unique needs of hotel PPC management, and our team of experts can help you avoid common pitfalls that waste your budget and make you miss out on potential guests.

With, you gain:

✅ Targeted campaigns with expertly researched keywords

✅ Compelling ads that highlight your hotel's best features

✅ Seasonality-focused strategies for maximum bookings

Partnering with helps free up your time to focus on providing exceptional hospitality. We'll expertly manage your online visibility, driving guests to your website.

Ready to see how can boost your occupancy and revenue? Contact us today to learn how our customized PPC strategies bring more guests to your door.

Stewart Dunlop