The Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung opened in December 2021, right at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing a surplus of vacant rooms and available restaurant tables, the hotel pivoted from attracting international tourists to promoting staycation packages to locals. The problem was every other hotel in Hong Kong had the same idea, thus Cogney was brought in to build and manage search engine marketing campaigns that stood out from the crowd.
Our approach was threefold:
- Identify the best keywords: Since all hotels and hotel booking sites were competing for staycation bookings in Hong Kong, there was intense competition for the term "staycation". To overcome this challenge, we researched and prioritized long-tail, lower-competition keywords such as "birthday staycation," "Hong Kong staycation offer," and "staycation hotel with connecting door" in order to keep guest acquisition costs low.
- Write compelling ad copy: We created ads that emphasized the hotel's unique selling points, such as its infinity pool and breathtaking sea views. Additionally, we incorporated time-sensitive offers plus the hotel's current lowest room rates into the headlines, thereby creating a sense of urgency.
- Target the right audience: In order to stand out from other hotels, Sheraton developed special staycation packages that offered unique experiences such as visiting an airline training academy or test-driving the latest Tesla model. However, since no one searches for keywords such as "test drive staycation," we implemented a strategy that layered staycation keywords with "in-market" and "affinity" audience targeting, such as Tesla Motors + Auto Enthusiasts, to attract guests who resonote most with these unique packages.
The Keys to Success
The success of the campaigns can be attributed to several key factors:
- Continuous testing and refinement of ad copy: By consistently experimenting with different ad copy variations, we were able to identify which messages resonated best with our target audience, ultimately leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.
- Strategically adjusting bids and budget allocation among ad groups: By closely monitoring performance data, we were able to make informed decisions about where to allocate resources in order to optimize campaign performance. This allowed us to prioritize high-performing ad groups and shift budget away from underperforming ones, ensuring the most effective use of our advertising budget.
- Maintaining an updated negative keyword list: To prevent our ads from appearing in irrelevant search results, we diligently maintained a list of negative keywords that would lower performance. This helped to ensure that our ads were only shown to users who were genuinely interested in our offerings, ultimately improving ad performance and reducing wasted ad spend.
- Monitoring competitor actions: Keeping a close eye on competitor strategies allowed us to identify trends and opportunities in the market, enabling us to quickly adapt and adjust our own tactics accordingly. This proactive approach to competitor analysis helped us to stay one step ahead and remain competitive in a crowded market.
In addition to these key factors, the unique and tailored experiences that Sheraton offered in their staycation packages also deserves a shout out. By targeting niche interests and combining them with appealing staycation offers, the hotel was able to differentiate itself and ultimately drive more bookings.
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