By EyeforTravel.com Correspondent in Amsterdam<br><br>The increasing reference to search engines and their potential of
By EyeforTravel.com Correspondent in AmsterdamThe increasing reference to search engines and their potential of driving booking, as indicated by various developments, definitely points to a lot of promise for the specific medium.
Published: 23 Nov 2005
By EyeforTravel.com Correspondent in Amsterdam
The increasing reference to search engines and their potential of driving booking, as indicated by various developments, definitely points to a lot of promise for the specific medium.
But with increasing focus on the particular medium, search engine marketing also needs to be optimally planned and executed.
Alasdair Cross, Adprecision commercial director, one of the speakers on the first day of the EyeforTravel.com's 'Revenue Management and Pricing in Travel Europe 2005' being held in Amsterdam, acknowledged the importance of search engines for the travel industry. Referring to various studies/surveys, he said that around 70% of online travel bookings involve a search engine, consumer averages 7.8 clicks to different sites from search engine listings before purchase and it's a highly transparent advertising medium.
"But the problem is more companies are advertising on search engines, bid prices are rising and there is saturation of high-volume keywords. The key to good search engine marketing is to test, refine and track," said.
Referring to consumers travel searching habits - long cycle, many searches, Cross said that 77% of travel final searches are made over one week before purchase - long research cycle, 33% of travel website traffic comes from other travel related sites (85% higher than non-travel industries) - everyone is comparing, 10 most successful search terms - five are brand-specific and five are product searches, 50% of travel searches use 3 words or more - people are learning to look for more specific results.
On sponsored listing and elaborating on the Adwords, he said that rankings in Adwords are determined by click through rate (CTR) x bid price. So higher CTR is equivalent of higher ranking at no extra cost, he said. Cross added, "Tip - improve CTR - make your ads relevant to each keyword!"
On future, terming it as "convergence + consumer power", he said that search engines as a distribution channel incorporate live availability and accurate pricing, and that is certainly going to develop over the next few years.
He also spoke about behavioral targeting, which allows publishers and advertisers to buy audience demographics, interests, social segments; Mobile Search (local targeting of content and ads) and iTV - Is TV still a "push" medium. "Will consumers search through their iTV's (may shape up)," he added.
Under `Search Engine RM - four golden rules', he said, "Test, tweak, learn. Its all about keywords, ad creatives, bids, optimise campaign; Tracking, tracking, tracking - both online and offline. Outsource or inhouse?; If it's too difficult, find an expert who can work closely with you; Automate to save time - Bid management tools, ROI analysis, Ad-listing management software."
Recently, during the Travel Distribution Technology 2005 held in London, on how to optimise for search engines, Patrik Oqvist, marketing director, Hotels.com said that, "To start off, the focus should be on encouraging crawling. This is about allowing the likes of Google/Yahoo to spider your site. Then it's about getting ranked or gaining popularity. Its all about fresh and unique content, which should be relevant. Next is to encourage clicking, which is about title and text. This should be followed by conversion to a sale. Lastly it's the tracking process."