Travel news for the trade community

Here’s how much money OTAs are spending for paid search advertising

Companies spend £8.5 million on 'hotels' keyword alone

Google Search

A new research by Kantar Media has revealed Booking.com as the biggest spender on paid search advertising (effectively Google ads), while TripAdvisor takes the top spot for organic search. With so many players in the OTA industry, the competition is stiff as companies vie for the top spots in Google searches.

According to a study released by Kantar Media, only a small group has dominated the paid search category in the first quarter of 2018. The elite three comprises Booking.com, OnTheBeach.com and Trivago, who each spent millions on search through Google. And since we’re talking about the biggest spenders here, you must be wondering – who among them spent the most and how much was it? Well, Booking.com took that honour, splashing out almost £20 million just for the year so far.

“Incredibly competitive… in the first quarter of the year”

Richard Poustie, CEO of Kantar Media UK, commented: “Both search and display advertising are incredibly competitive in the travel sector, especially in the first quarter of the year, and this is reflected in the huge investments brands make in this space.”

The study combined insights on both pay per click (PPC) and ‘organic search/display’ ad spend. It used data from Kantar Media’s Digital Advertising Intelligence Solution, which also identified TripAdvisor as the king of the hill when it came to organic search in the first three months of the year. What’s more, TripAdvisor received almost twice as many impressions and twice as many clicks compared to its rival lastminute.com.

Poustie added: “It’s important, therefore, to remember that spend in itself is only one part of the campaign – if brands want to get a good return on their advertising investment, it is vital that there is consistency across their online search and display, and that their chosen search terms complement their display advertising.”

The keyword is ‘cheap’

Speaking of choosing search terms – the research revealed that ‘hotels’ was the keyword with the highest spend during the three-month period, with businesses spending an estimated total of £8.5 million. This is about seven times more than on the next most invested-in keyword, which is ‘airbnb’.

Outside of accommodation, and into the general travel sector, the keywords that rule revolve around low-cost travel. Keywords like ‘cheapest holidays’, ‘cheap holidays’ and ‘cheapest flights’ are among the most sought-after travel keywords, accounting for almost £2 million in spending between January and March this year.

Poustie concluded: “In such a competitive space, being able to see what competitors are investing in – across both search and display and to understand why – will help businesses tailor their own advertising strategy in order to stand out from the crowd and to continue to attract consumer spend.”

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