To stay competitive in the hospitality landscape amid a shift toward online and mobile travel booking, premier hotel operator Accor Hotels wanted to bolster its digital marketing strategy. With the key goals of driving online traffic, increasing click-through rates and boosting brand awareness, the company turned to Google AdWords ad extensions. After experimenting on high search volume campaigns, it rolled out the most successful extensions to other campaigns and markets. By adopting this approach, Accor increased incremental conversions by 14% with sitelinks and form extensions and used review extensions to grow click-through rates by 19%, among other successes.

Goals

  • Make the Accor Hotel brand top-of-mind for potential travels
  • Make the consumer online booking experience as relevant and seamless as possible
  • Increase conversions and traffic to Accor Hotel sites

Approach

  • Implemented Ad Extensions to reach customers with the right messages at the right time and stand out in the competitive online hotel landscape

Results

  • Increased CTR 4% using Call Extensions
  • Increased CTR 9% using Local Extensions
  • Sitelinks and Image Extensions nearly doubled CTRs on enabled Adwords ad groups from 13% to 24%
  • Increased CTR 6% using Social Annotations on brand terms
  • Increased CTR 19% using Review Extensions
  • Sitelinks and Form Extensions resulted in a 14% increase in incremental conversions
Published
July 2014
Topics

Founded in 1967, Accor Hotels has grown to be one of the world’s premier hotel operators. With 3,600 hotels across 92 countries, its clientele—ranging from business to leisure travelers—can choose the brand’s luxury midscale to economy properties.

Over the last five years, travel bookings have increasingly shifted to online and mobile formats, making effective digital advertising key to every hotel brand’s marketing strategy. Given this shift, Accor wanted to make sure its hotels were the first stop in consumers’ online hunt for accommodations. For Accor, this meant driving increased traffic to its sites, increasing click-through rates (CTR) and ultimately increasing the prominence of its brand in the fragmented landscape of keyword searches.

A seamless consumer experience

Accor looked to engage potential customers by making its hotel search efforts as seamless as possible while also making them aware of relevant promotions. To do so, the company started using Google Ad Extensions, including site links and enhanced sitelinks, seller ratings, social annotations, Image Extensions, Call Extensions and Location Extensions.

Specifically, Accor first focused on campaigns that had high search volumes to garner the most impactful conclusions during the test period.1 In doing so, Accor was able to pinpoint successful extensions for the company’s products and respective markets, which vary across the world. Once the extension was a proven success, Accor rolled it out to other campaigns and markets.

After the initial test period, Accor centered its search efforts on four key goals:

Growing online conversions

One of Accor’s key objectives was to increase online conversions made on its site. For keyword search queries like “hotel accor,” the brand used Sitelink and Form Extensions to give consumers a more in-depth and relevant landing page and to shorten the conversion path to its websites. By making ads more relevant to consumers—and having them land on more relevant, in-depth pages using Sitelink and Form Extensions—the company saw a 14% increase in incremental conversions.

Driving offline conversions

Although online reservations are skyrocketing, almost half of hotel reservations are still made offline via phones or in-person reservations.2 To address this trend, Accor looked to generate calls directly from its ads to increase hotel visits, particularly when consumers were on the move. Accor tapped into Call Extensions and Location Extensions and ultimately drove CTR increases of 4% and 9% respectively.

Getting consumers the info they need

Accor also understood that making travel plans is a multistage, time intensive process. At every stage of this process, consumers are looking for different answers to their search queries. Knowing this, the company wished to differentiate its offerings and provide potential customers with the information they want, especially at the beginning of their journey. To accomplish this, Accor Hotels used Sitelink Extensions with additional details to relay the unique features of its hotels and Image Extensions to promote its services in a visually appealing way. Thanks to these efforts, CTRs on enabled AdWords ad groups nearly doubled, going from 13% to 24%.

Reinforcing consumer trust

Today’s savviest travelers spend a significant amount of time looking to their peers for destination reviews when deciding on a hotel. For example, on average, 49% of hotel users review sites during their booking process,3 and 13% of those who book hotels use social networking while they’re researching hotels.4 Consequently, reinforcing trust in the Accor brand and allowing customers to engage with the brand on social networks is key to Accor’s creative strategy.

The company used a variety of tactics to engage with these audiences: Seller Rating Extensions to highlight positive user reviews on its services; social annotations to point out the number of fans engaged with its brand on Google+; and Review Extensions to highlight positive press coverage. CTRs increased 6% with social annotations on brand terms. Using Review Extensions, CTRs increased by 19%.

Standing out among the competition

Using a variety of sophisticated tactics offered by Ad Extensions, Accor Hotels was able to increase its brand awareness and performance across the board in the highly competitive hotel search landscape. By reaching customers with relevant information at the right times, Accor ultimately increased traffic to its websites and the conversions made on them.

Sources:
1 Accor test periods usually last between two weeks and one month.
2 Compete, “Understanding the Customer Journey of Hotel Bookers,” November 2013.
3-4 Google Adwords data, February 2014.